Skip to content

Keeping your people analytics on track with effective governance

Governance might be a contender for the least exciting component of a people analytics practice. Yet without it, you’ll have no idea whether all the hard work your team does makes a difference to the business. In this article, we look at the important checks and balances you need to run your people analytics to the highest standards.

Published by OrgVue

Text, Baseball Bat, Team Sport

Governance wears many hats in keeping the organization on the straight and narrow. It dictates how rules and standards are structured and regulated. It ensures there are controls in place to manage and reduce risks. It also ensures regulatory compliance and data privacy, as well as monitoring the distribution of rights and responsibilities across the organization.

For people analytics, most importantly it’s about keeping you on track with strategy and meeting regulatory requirements. According to Gartner, governance is central to building capability on solid foundations and will help you manage your processes over time:

“As organizational complexity [grows], HR leaders increasingly lack insight into key process activities and timelines, roles and responsibilities, frameworks and tools. A multitude of global and local processes can cause ineffective HR service delivery with duplication of efforts, higher costs, and low-quality results.[1]

Establishing governance best practice for people analytics

Applied to people analytics, we’ve identified five elements that teams need to address to ensure good governance:

  • Roles and responsibilitiesHow well are your people analytics roles defined and understood across the organization? You need a framework to bring control and consistency to roles and responsibilities. Remove duplication of roles and fragmentation of responsibility by reclaiming people analytics tasks away from employees outside of the practice.
  • ComplianceMeeting regulatory requirements, such as for gender pay gap, producing government statements or company reports for shareholders. Many companies, no matter how mature, have issues with compliance, whether its accurate and timely submissions, or delays and inaccuracies in reporting.
  • Monitoring and trackingSetting targets and monitoring progress that links back to strategy. If you have a vision, plan, and a business case, you can develop metrics to track and report on. Gartner found that many HR deployments fail to deliver on project outcomes because measurement was lacking. There should be a frequency in monitoring, but this isn’t usually the case.
  • TransformationPeople analytics has a valuable contribution to make to organizational change projects by linking plans together, monitoring KPIs, and making recommendations for corrective action to deliver anticipated outcomes. Understanding your baseline and target operating model, and adopting an agile approach to transition planning, is the standard to aim for.
  • Risk Although HR may feel that Finance owns some of the risks relating to compliance and privacy, it’s logical that risks stemming from people data are more likely to be surfaced by HR. As analytics increasingly identifies new risks and provides quantifiable detail on known risks, managing these is likely to become increasingly important for HR.

Benchmark insights into people analytics maturity

Earlier this year, we surveyed 300 HR practitioners in the UK and US on six components of people analytics excellence and compiled the findings into industry benchmarks along a maturity scale.

The graphic below shows how the industry rates for capability in governance and compliance:

people analytics maturity governance

Our research shows that getting clarity on roles and responsibilities has the strongest bearing on maturity in governance for people analytics. Second to this is support for transition planning. While the other elements are essentially hygiene factors, reducing risk can make or break trust in people analytics within the business.

Good governance builds trust and credibility for people analytics

When it comes to governance in people analytics, probably the biggest benefit it can bring is trust and credibility. Good governance amounts to accountability and is proof that the people analytics team is operating responsibly to exacting standards.

This may be obvious but it’s important it isn’t understated. And when building capability in people analytics, maturity in governance will have a halo effect on everything you do.


[1] Gartner (2018) Essential Components of HR Process Governance, 31 December, https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/essential-components-of-hr-process-governance/

How do you measure up?

To help you better understand what stage of maturity your people analytics is at, we’ve developed an online self assessment that measures companies against industry benchmarks.

You’ll be asked 25 questions on six components of capability – strategy, people, data, technology, process, and governance.  Once you’ve submitted your answers, we’ll email you a link to your personalized report with scores for each component and recommendations for improvement.

Read previous

This is the final article in a series of 6 that delves into the components of building capability in people analytics. The previous article looks at how to take your people analytics processes from good to outstanding.

How do you measure up?

To help you better understand what stage of maturity your people analytics is at, we’ve developed an online self assessment that measures companies against industry benchmarks.

You’ll be asked 25 questions on six components of capability – strategy, people, data, technology, process, and governance. Once you’ve submitted your answers, we’ll email you a link to your personalized report with scores for each component and recommendations for improvement.