By: Evelyn Reed, MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Kendra Davis-Roberts offered an energizing and informative breakout session at Philly SHRM’s 2024 Symposium! She focused on how using data analytics in your HR strategy can enrich your HR strategies which in turn will elevate the employee experience and drive organizational success; ultimately revolutionizing modern human resources (HR) management. Davis-Roberts first defines people analytics as collecting and analyzing employee data through HR technology systems. In human resources (HR) we collect a lot of data through our technological systems, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS), and/or Learning Management Systems (LMS). Through these technological systems, HR can identify, track, and measure programs and initiatives’ effectiveness, and justify the programs and initiatives by using the data to convey and communicate with stakeholders its strategic value to the business.

Level setting this definition, Davis-Roberts dives into how people analytics can help organizational leaders and HR leadership understand their HR programs and initiatives better, measure the effectiveness and communicate the successes to the business in a story digestible for them to understand the value. Kendra highlights the research completed by SHRM in 2021, where 94% of business leaders said that analytics elevates the HR profession, whereas 71% of HR executives said that people analytics was essential to their HR strategy. These statistical figures support and reveal the growing recognition of analytics as a cornerstone of modern HR management, amplifying the session’s emphasis on data-driven decision-making in HR practices.

Davis-Roberts further explains the differences between metrics and KPIs, as these terms are often used interchangeably, but they have two distinct meanings. Metrics are basic quantifiable data points used to track and assess the status of business processes overall. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are strategic metrics that are used to measure and analyze effectiveness to achieve specific business goals and outcomes. For example, if a company targets hiring ten essential roles within a month to prevent operational delays, this number becomes a KPI, not just a metric. It’s a targeted figure that HR actively works toward to impact the organization positively.

Kendra goes on to discuss the 3 phases and their subsequent steps in developing impactful KPIs for your organization. Recognizing that some steps may not be necessary all the time, but better a guide to helping organizations that may feel overwhelmed on where to start this phased approach will be bring structure to the process in developing impactful KPIs.

  • Defining and aligning KPIs
    1. Define organizational goals
    2. Identify HR objectives
    3. Select relevant metrics and measures
  • Ensuring effectiveness and relevance
    1. Ensure KPIs are SMART
    2. Determine data sources
    3. Set benchmarks and targets
  • Implementation and adjustments
    1. Implement data collection and analysis processes
    2. Regularly review and report KPIs
    3. Align KPIs with performance management
    4. Adjust KPIs as needed

People analytics helps HR to have a proactive approach to meeting compliance standards but also helps to develop targeted interventions that are designed to retain top talent, improve organizational culture, and enhance the inclusivity of the workplace environment.

Davis-Roberts highlighted the importance of data governance and privacy; ensuring that the employee data being used is protected and used in a manner that is not only legal but ethical. This governance ensures the integrity of HR practices and the trust built in the relationship HR has with its stakeholders, the organization’s employees, and business partners. But also protects and minimizes the risks of legal issues for the organization.

Today’s workplace is evolving rapidly. Transformative organizational management requires data analytics to be integrated into the management of its greatest assets, its people. HR’s strategic influence and success will rely on its data analytical capabilities; thus, embracing people analytics is imperative in HR leadership and practices to remain forward-thinking, and to make data-driven decisions to lead not just locally, but globally.

Kendra’s session magnified the importance of this reality and how best to harness the power of data analytics in HR strategies to meet objectives and business goals, ensure the workplace is more inclusive, and operate more efficiently and strategically to enhance the overall employee experience.

About the Author

Evelyn Reed is a dynamic and progressive HR leader with over 15 years of experience in various industries and markets throughout North America. She has her MBA degree and is double certified, holding her SPHR and SHRM-SCP certifications, and she is an official member of Forbes HR Council. Additionally, she is a commissioned licensed Notary Public. Throughout her career, she’s worked with global brands such as Amazon and Hertz. Evelyn has also worked with Philadelphia-based non-profits and healthcare sectors. Most recently, Evelyn serves on the board of DisruptHR Philadelphia and is the Head of HR for a multinational Merchandising company expanding her global experience.

Evelyn is the founder and owner of a boutique firm, HR Jawn. HR Jawn offers HR, Business, Notary, and Advocacy content and services for individuals, startups, and small to midsize businesses. You can follow and engage with her on social media (Instagram/Twitter(X)/TikTok) under her tag @HRjawn or via the website links below:

Editor: Dennis Paris

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