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The 7 best books on People Analytics

People analytics is revolutionising Human Resources. Now more than ever, it is important to prepare for the future of the sector and discover how to get the most out of data to achieve the best results for your business and employees. 


Do you want to get up to speed on People Analytics? Check out our list of the seven most valuable international books on the subject. 



1. People Analytics For Dummies


The book People Analytics For Dummies is written by Mike West, who was a People Analytics pioneer in teams at Merck, PetSmart, Google, and Children's Health Dallas before starting his own company: PeopleAnalyst, LLC.


Mike West has poured all his knowledge and experience into this book, which promises to help us “maximise performance with better data”. You will learn how to gather information, analyse data, extract conclusions and apply your findings to create a happier and more engaged workforce. 


Mike explains, from a practical perspective, how to: 


  • Start a People Analytics project.
  • Work with qualitative data.
  • Gather data via communications.
  • Find the best tools and approaches to analyse data.


All the concepts are described clearly and simply, leaving no room for any doubts.



2. Introduction to People Analytics


Introduction to People Analytics offers a very different approach to the previous book, by using real life case studies to demonstrate how people analytics can deliver big results. The companies selected include the NHS, Brompton Bikes, The British Heart Foundation, King, Experian, AstraZeneca, FIS and Swarovski. They have all implemented people analytics and, in turn, improved employee engagement, increased performance and reduced costs.


You can also find advice from experts such as how to integrate analytics into human resources processes and adopt a data-driven approach. 


Whether you’re explaining how to incorporate the use of data to your organisation, or you want to know more about how to apply the concept, it is a good read to get you started.



3. The Practical Guide to HR Analytics


No list of the best titles on People Analytics would be complete without The Practical Guide to HR Analytics. This book also takes a practical approach to using data and addressing real challenges faced by HR teams. It provides clear guidance and recommendations for people analytics, how to avoid common errors and present data visually, among other topics. 


The book uses a hypothetical Human Resources Director, who needs to carry out her first analytical task. So, in each chapter the author describes the problems she faces and the solutions she implements. 


The author is Shonna Waters, who leads a team at the company BetterUp that researches behaviour changes and supports businesses in their commercial goals. She has more than 15 years’ experience in people analytics and currently also teaches at the University of Georgetown.


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4. Excellence in People Analytics


The full title of this book on People Analytics is: Excellence in People Analytics: How to Use Workforce Data to Create Business Value. Within its pages you can find a great many tools and tips about Insight222 Nine Dimensions in People Analytics® (created by the author David Green). This helps companies understand which areas are most important when creating business value and generating impact with people analytics.


This book tries to demonstrate that using data can increase a company’s profits, retain talent, increase productivity and develop a better individual experience. For this, he presents success stories from leading companies like Microsoft, HSBC, Syngenta, Capital One, Novartis, Bosch, Uber, Santander Brasil and American Eagle Outfitters (R).


It is written by Jonathan Ferrar, consultant, speaker, author and business advisor in HR strategy, and David Green, speaker, advisor, and executive consultant on people analytics.



5. HR Analytics: Understanding Theories and Applications


Another top read about people analytics is HR Analytics: Understanding Theories and Applications. How is it different to the rest? Firstly, it tries to go beyond metrics and the HR dashboard to analyse the main advances Big Data has meant for decision making in HR.


In addition, it presents a particular approach regarding the measurement, gathering and visualisation of data. All this is explained, moreover, through real examples that bring an interesting perspective on different sectors.


Lastly, it includes exercises and learning materials for those who want further information.


The author is Dipak Kumar Bhattacharyya, Professor of Organisational Behaviour a the Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar, India. He has published around 25 books on HR management and contributed to more than 100 articles in various prominent national and international magazines. 



6. The Basic Principles of People Analytics


Another important work on People Analytics is The Basic Principles of People Analytics: Learn how to use HR data to drive better outcomes for your business and employees. This is intended for people who want to “get a feel for the scope of HR analytics” and learn the techniques required to help the company and its employees. It is a very concise and easy read.


According to the author, once you have finished reading you will:


  • Have a solid understanding of what HR data analytics is.
  • Know the difference between People Analytics and HR reports.
  • Have a clear idea of the scope and added value  of HR analytics. 
  • Understand the necessary skills to build an analytics team. 
  • Think of ideas you want to implement immediately in your company. 
  • Know what to do to avoid the most common errors.


The author is Erik van Vulpen, an expert in People Analytics and shaping new HR practices through technological advances. 



7. Predictive HR Analytics


Last but not least is Predictive HR Analytics: Mastering the HR Metric. This book provides a clear framework to understand and work with people analytics in HR and use advanced techniques. Readers can analyse specific examples, in which the author shows how to carry out and interpret data analysis in areas such as engagement, performance and employee turnover. It also explains how to develop an evidence-based HR strategy.


There are two editions of this book available. The most recent, from 2019, was updated to include material about machine learning, algorithms, data protection, etc.


The authors are Martin R. Edwards, Professor in HR and Organisational Psychology at King's College London, and Kirsten Edwards, HR Lead in Advanced Analytics and Data Science. 

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