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The Secret to Give Your Digital HR Strategy A Human Touch

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In the conditions of never-ending deadlines, limited resources, and high productivity expectations, employees are struggling to avoid burn out. To help Human Resource departments in large organizations solve the puzzle, HR teams are turning to business analysis professionals for support in turning data into valuable insights. This blog will share the no-fail secret to bring a human touch to it. After reading, you will get a new angle on what your organization’s digital HR strategy may be missing and how business data analysis can improve your efforts.

The Secret to Give Your Digital HR Strategy A Human Touch


Bringing Back Humanity to HR Technology

The main objective of a digital HR strategy is not replacing humans with digital analogues. Rather, it is about identifying the winning strategies and allowing employees to spend more time on activities that drive engagement. But how do you know which HR strategy will drive the most engagement? The answer is rooted in business data analytics. 

Business Data Analytics and Human Resources  

According to the Wall Street Journal, about 40% of the companies worldwide have automated their HR. However, according to experts from Essay Tigers most HR departments sit on a pile of invaluable but unanalyzed data – the challenge seems to be knowing what information to gather, measure, and analyze to support evidence-based decision making.

Setting Workforce Metrics Using Predictive and Prescriptive Models

By working closely with business analysts, HR specialists can make more informed decisions when it comes to recruiting future employees, as well as help existing employees develop their career path. 

By using big data to analyze performance reviews, email traffic, and employee surveys, you can generate valuable insights into what drives engagement. This will help you predict employee turnover, optimize recruiting, and onboarding processes. As a result, you can use analytics and big data to single out the way to bring a human touch to an organization’s HR strategy. 

Business analysis professionals can help the HR team by identifying historical patterns from company data to understand relationships and trends to predict future events. Using data analysis and visualization tools you can help the HR business lead see what data is missing, how various characteristics behave and how data values are distributed to determine the most relevant data to be tracked. The HR team can use this information to inform strategies to improve the employee experience, from being recruited to onboarded to staying long-term.


IIBA’s Guide to Business Data Analytics explores the four types of analytics methods including Descriptive, Diagnostic, Predictive, and Prescriptive. In this blog we’ll explore using predictive analytics to analyze past trends in data to provide future insights to answer the question “What is likely to happen?” and prescriptive analytics using the findings from different forms of analytics to quantify the anticipated effects and outcomes of decisions under consideration, to answer the question “What should happen if we do…?”1


The need for business analysis becomes more apparent when you look at the number of organizations that don’t know what to do with their data. According to a global survey of 1,300 business and IT executives, an average of 55% of enterprise data goes unused.2

Data Analytics Scenario

Consider this scenario: The HR lead comes to you and asks how they can use data to help them reduce attrition rates. Staff are not staying long term and the time and resources spent recruiting to fill the turnover rates, not to mention the lack of stability, is impacting several areas of the business.

Data Analytics Approach

The business data analyst starts by asking the question, “How can we improve our staff retention rates?” As outlined in the Guide to Business Data Analytics, the business data analytics process may differ depending on the type of analysis taking place. Testing may include collecting data or accessing existing data from the server. After conducting initial research and validating and verifying the data collected, it may be discovered that turnover is affected by several factors resulting in the need to create several hypotheses, one of which might be “Does work overload affect turnover in our organization?” The organization may opt to develop a survey to measure work overload and turnover and administer it to current and past employees. The results of the survey may be analyzed to understand any cause-and-effect relationships. It might be determined that work overload is high in parts of the organization that have or are experiencing a large amount of turnover. These results may lead the organization to put measures in place to re-balance work or decrease the workload of individual employees or roles. 1

Measuring workforce insights to improve performance and efficiency may also result in challenging some typical assumptions to improve employee retention. Business Data Analysts can help HR gain workforce insights by using the data predictions to stop wrong outcomes from happening using algorithms to analyze data. Looking at the employee's needs, and their experience can provide valuable insights. Consider text data including emails, complaint forms, internal surveys, recognition forms and more to see if there are knowledge gaps or areas where employees are excelling to determine what needs to change in the onboarding process or internal training and communications to ensure employees have the tools and resources for sustainable career development.


How Data Analytics Approach Supports Decision Making

In this scenario, the BDA professional identified the areas below where data may provide additional insights into areas contributing to the organization’s low retention problem and gave the HR team the information necessary to inform process changes to address it.

  • Retention – reduce attrition rates (as outlined above)
  • Pay for performance – benchmark pay to keep talent
  • Talent development and capability – improve internal training and career path
  • Improve employee experience – improve communication
  • Improve organisational processes – are they implemented; how they were planned; are changes needed to improve outcomes?


The BABOK® Guide details data mining techniques you can use for this approach including classification and regression trees (CART) and other decision tree analysis techniques, linear and logistic regression, and predictive scorecards. Using multiple techniques will allow you to see which is most effective. When building your data model consider whether you are implementing a relational database or object-oriented software. Most importantly, include enough data to recognize how changes in one area of the business may impact another area. Having continuous data analytics to create forecasts will help your HR team provide ongoing insights.

Here’s a list of some BABOK Guide techniques you can use:

Brainstorming Collaborative Games Document Analysis
Focus Groups Interface Analysis Interviews
Observation Process Modelling Prototyping
Scope Modelling Sequence Diagram Stakeholder List, Map or Personas
State Modelling Survey or Questionnaire Use Cases and Scenarios


Data Analytics Outcomes

Data analytics improve outcome through improved performance, efficiency, and greater success. Consider how Google uses data analytics to measure productivity metrics as well as employee surveys to gather feedback on how they can improve business methods and morale. Google’s Project Oxygen, shares how they used the practices of their best managers in coaching sessions to help low performers improve.3 Another example is Walmart, who focuses on capability metrics to determine if their processes are implemented as planned and if they bring value. Using data analytics, they have connected employee turnover to customer experience and sales.4Yet another example is how Microsoft employs data-driven HR as a best practice focusing on employee retention through enhanced communication.5

Final Thoughts 

Big data drives big changes in HR departments. The bottom line is that every HR department retains data that contains invaluable people insights. Understanding how to tie knowledge to action, to go beyond simply pushing data to different teams is where business analysis is key. You know it takes considerable time and effort beyond just looking at the data, it requires understanding of the HR strategy from interviewing, eliciting, understanding stakeholder requirements and the business needs. The proper use of these data inputs can help HR teams decrease employee turnover and ultimately improve the performance of their HR strategy.

Deloitte’s 2020 global technology leadership study found more than 1,300 CIOs and senior technology leaders said that analytics and cognitive will have the second-largest measurable impact on the organization in the next three years.6

Business analysis can help HR specialists struggling with measuring the right data and how to translate it into insights to improve productivity, save employee’s time, break down silos between lines of business, help employees to develop key skills and capabilities, and share knowledge.

Maximize Your Skills

If you’re ready to use data to help organizations achieve meaningful business outcomes, getting your Certification in Business Data Analytics (IIBA®- CBDA) can help pave the way. If you’re looking for more information download Understanding the Guide to Business Data Analytics.

Limited Time Offer

Take advantage of IIBA’s 20%* exam rebate on our full suite of certifications including ECBA™, CCBA®, CBAP®, IIBA®-AAC, IIBA®-CBDA and IIBA®-CCA when the exam is written between November 1 to December 31, 2020.




  1. IIBA, Guide to Business Data Analytics, 2020.
  2. Splunk, The state of dark data: Industry leaders reveal the gap between AI’s potential and today’s data reality, 2019.
  3. HBR, How Google Sold Its Engineers on Management? 12, 2013.
  4. HR Daily Community, HR Analytics A Look Inside Walmart’s HR ‘Test & Learn’ Model, 12, 2015
  5. HBR, How People Analytics Can Help You Change Process Culture and Strategy, 5, 2018.
  6. Deloitte, 2020 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends, 2020.
About The Author:

Stacey Wonder is a content marketer who enjoys sharing best practices for self-development and careers with others. In her free time, Stacey is fond of contemporary dance and classic French movies.