HR Analytics vs. People Analytics: What’s the Difference?

by Srikant Chellappa Jun 7,2024

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO


Today, every business activity, from sales and marketing to recruitment and onboarding of new hires, generates a significant volume of data. Businesses that monitor this data strategically and leverage data insights can reap the benefits through reduced costs, higher revenues, and higher profits. 

Two types of data solutions in particular—human resource (HR) analytics and people analytics—are emerging as valuable assets for businesses looking to transform their work culture and bottom line. However, businesses tend to confuse the two or use them interchangeably. 

Though there are some overlaps, these solutions comprise two distinct data sets that play unique roles in helping businesses make data-driven decisions.

In this blog, we will compare HR vs People Analytics, outline the differences, and highlight the benefits of leveraging People Analytics solutions to optimize business success. Let’s dive in!

HR Analytics vs People Analytics


Let’s start by understanding HR and people analytics individually, along with some concrete examples of each:

1. HR Analytics with Examples 

HR analytics solutions yield data insights that are connected to the HR function and its various processes.

The processes comprise recruitment, onboarding new hires, monitoring employee performance and attrition levels, learning and development (L&D), conducting performance reviews, cultivating company culture, and designing benefits, rewards, and other types of employee-related programs. 

Examples of data insights generated by HR Analytics include:

  • The employee turnover rate
  • Employee engagement rate
  • Retention rate
  • Employee referral rate
  • Employee absence rate
Also Read: Debunking 5 Common Myths About Company Layoffs

2. People Analytics with Examples 

People analytics refers to data analytics that yield insights into the workforce across all functions, from sales and customer service to customer experience and operations.

The results are not limited in scope to the HR function. However, there is an additional distinction. Data generated by People Analytics has a predictive element to it, which helps businesses leverage historical and current data to predict future outcomes. 

Examples of People Analytics include:

  • Predicting the future employee turnover rate
  • Predicting future employee behavior in various contexts
  • Uncovering unconscious biases across the organization to foster inclusive policies

7 Key Differences Between HR and People Analytics

HR  teams need to understand the key differences between HR and people analytics.

Here’s a deep dive into the differences:


HR Analytics 

People Analytics 


Limited to HR process Extends across functions

Data perspective

Historical data Future forecasts

Data sources 

Data generated from internal HR process Data generated from all functions/ external sources


Tactical approach Strategic approach

Nurturing leaders

Limited access to data Data-driven decision-making

Role of HR 

Limited to traditional HR functions Play a more proactive role


Limited impact due to limited data access Higher impact in reducing costs, driving revenues and profitability

1.  Scope of Data Insights 

HR Analytics tend to primarily focus on the data generated by processes related to the HR function. On the other hand, People Analytics cuts across multiple functions that engage the workforce. This includes HR-related data. However, it can also cover aspects such as market share, and level of customer satisfaction. 

2.  Core Difference in Data Perspective

HR Analytics works on the concept of historical data. Thus, it offers insights connected to data that has been generated in the past. This is akin to the legacy Google analytics engines, which offered insights on data generated due to past user behavior.

On the other hand, People Analytics works on the concept of predictive analysis. The use of transformative technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) enables solutions to focus on forecasting future trends.

Trends can vary from market opportunities and risks and consumer trends to individual employee and customer behavior. The ability to forecast future behavior and trends is a game-changer for businesses. 

Also Read: Outsourcing Tasks Versus Hiring Your First Employee

3.  Sources of Data

HR analytics leverages data generated through various HR processes across the entire HR workflow. For instance, data can be generated during the recruitment and onboarding process, appraisals, training programs, and other functions overseen by HR teams.

On the other hand, People Analytics data draws from processes related to multiple functions such as sales, marketing, HR, and supply chain management. It can also draw from sources such as social media insights and customer feedback surveys, which offer deep insights into how customers perceive a brand and their responses to marketing campaigns. 

4.  Focus 


Data insights derived from HR analytics enable businesses to take a more tactical approach to streamlining and improving HR processes. However, tactical changes offer a limited scope for businesses to bring about transformative changes in the way they move forward. 

On the other hand, data insights generated from People Analytics enable businesses to take a more futuristic and strategic approach towards employee recruitment, retention, engagement, and other areas. For instance, companies can strengthen their engagement levels across all functions.  

They can develop personalized and relevant training and skill-development programs for individual employees, which can help businesses increase employee engagement by up to 70%. On the other hand, they can also introduce chatbots to engage customers as per their real-time needs. Thus, businesses can design growth strategically and capitalize on emerging opportunities by understanding future trends and behaviors. 

5.  Nurturing Leaders 

HR analytics offers important insights into employee behavior that can be leveraged to support employees better. However, it comes with limitations. For instance, HR teams are unable to predict future employee behavior, which becomes key to making important decisions related to promotions and leaders.  

On the other hand, the adoption of Predictive People Analytics empowers businesses to detect, analyze, and understand employee behavior, trends, and habits early on. The data comes in especially handy when businesses need to make key decisions related to employees’ growth paths.

With access to predictive data, businesses can hone employees to take on leadership roles and challenges based on their past behaviors and future potential. They can also more strategically navigate change management decisions

Also Read: How Can HR Chatbots Improve Human Resource Processes?

6.  Role of HR 

Access to HR Analytics is useful. However, it still limits HR teams to only engaging in HR-related tasks. It does not give them the power to play a more strategic role in the business’s success. On the other hand, they can play a more proactive role with access to high-quality, predictive people analytics.

Rather than taking a tactical approach to enhancing HR processes, they can have a bird’ s-eye view of the entire workforce and organization. Thus, they can develop strategies that can greatly impact business goals, such as performance enhancement, improvement of customer experience, and driving revenues. 

7.  Impact 

Actions triggered by data insights generated by HR analytics tend to be more reactive in nature. This is because these changes are in response to historical data. This way, they have a limited impact on how businesses transform the way they function.

On the other hand, people analytics helps businesses get proactive as they have a view of future events, behaviors, and conditions.

For instance, they can take steps towards automating repetitive tasks and introduce Generative AI to automate higher-value tasks. They can bring more efficiency to the hiring and onboarding process. Productive employees can take products to market faster, get innovative with solutions, cut costs, and drive revenues. 

Thus, the impact for businesses on aspects such as employee retention, productivity, business performance, revenues, and profitability is far greater. 

Also Read: The Key Differences Between Transactional and Strategic HR: A Comprehensive Guide

Wrapping Up

HR and People Analytics, no doubtboth add value to HR teams and their contribution to the business. However, access to superior people analytics solutions empowers HR teams to play a more proactive role. 

They can predict potential market scenarios and employee behavior. They can help bring more efficiency and innovation to HR and non-HR processes and empower employees to deliver their best in their roles. 

Engagedly’s comprehensive people analytics solutions enable HR teams to provide value and strengthen critical areas such as performance management, employee experience, learning and development, diversity and inclusion, talent management, and company culture. Our tools and expertise help bridge important gaps and empower businesses to drive higher ROI across all functions.

Head over to our site for more info!

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Frequently Asked Questions

1.  What is the difference between HR analytics and data analytics?

Data analytics is a generic term given to the process of analyzing data and culling out meaningful data insights. On the other hand, HR analytics is related to data that is generated through the HR processes of a business. 

2.  What is the main difference between HR and people analytics?

HR analytics refers to data insights based on historical data related to HR processes. The aim is to improve and streamline processes and outcomes connected to the HR function. On the other hand, people analytics refers to predictive-based data insights across all functions. The aim is to enhance and drive sustainable business performance.   

3.  What are the benefits of HR analytics?

HR analytics help HR teams improve and increase efficiency across all HR-related processes, such as recruitment, onboarding new employees, learning and development, and employee engagement.  

4.  What are the benefits of people analytics?

People analytics helps businesses become more strategic by strengthening critical areas such as performance management, employee experience, learning and development, diversity and inclusion, talent management, and company culture. In turn, businesses can cut costs and increase profitability through the effective use of people analytics. 

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Srikant Chellappa
CEO & Co-Founder of Engagedly

Srikant Chellappa is the Co-Founder and CEO at Engagedly and is a passionate entrepreneur and people leader. He is an author, producer/director of 6 feature films, a music album with his band Manchester Underground, and is the host of The People Strategy Leaders Podcast. He is currently working on his next book, Ikigai at the Workplace, which is slated for release in the fall of 2024.

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