How People Science Is Defining the Future of HR

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We’re only into the first quarter of 2022, but it’s already apparent that the Great Resignation hasn’t entirely run its course. The number of people calling it quits continues to set records. Experts will study the reasons behind the phenomenon for years, but one thing is clear: It’s not just about money. People are leaving jobs without offers for a new position. They’re citing various reasons for resigning, including searching for purpose and a desire for more recognition .  

Whatever the individual reasons, the mass exodus across multiple industries has created a tight labor market. That has put employers struggling to recruit employees with the right skills even before the pandemic in a bind. So, how can recruiters regroup and compete effectively for the best talent? HR innovation can help. There have been many exciting developments in engagement technology, and it’s now much easier to harness data to sharpen your recruiting focus. 

People science is all about moving from “gut feel” to fact-based decision making and action-setting based on data. This field is advancing, providing the data and analytics HR needs to understand employee behavior better and align the workforce with organizational goals. The era of “post and pray” is over.

The companies that win the future will be those that create an extraordinary work environment, one that connects people with purpose and success. HR can drive this change by enabling talent acquisition teams to function more like a marketing and sales organization. They can empower recruiters to contribute to communication strategies and identify quality candidates while incentivizing recruiters who successfully move candidates through the recruiting pipeline. 

A Workplace That Wins the War for Talent

Successful recruiters will need to operate more like marketing and sales because effectively competing for the best employees will require more than money. It will require offering employees a sense of purpose and belonging. It will require external messaging that communicates an opportunity for personal and professional growth and a chance to join a company that genuinely cares about employees’ wellbeing. If you find people for open positions in this environment, you will be actively taking part in building a new company culture

Just as marketing and sales teams define brand identity, communicate value, and nurture leads through the funnel, HR professionals and recruiters must represent the employer brand to prospective employees and let candidates know they will be valued.

Messaging will necessarily become more external. Today’s job candidates want to feel heard, which can be challenging in a remote or hybrid environment, especially within a large organization. But with persuasion, external messaging, and persistence, you can let candidates know they can make a difference in your organization and that they won’t be just another cog in the wheel. 

When HR builds unique company culture, and talent acquisition teams are motivated to successfully communicate a superior employee experience and move candidates through the pipeline, success builds on success. More top talent flowing in makes it easier for your company to compete on innovation and excellence rather than outbidding larger competitors for employees with desirable skills. That’s a workplace that wins the war for talent. 

People Science Is Powering the Future

People science is helping forward-thinking companies make the transition to the workplace of the future now. The transformation in HR and recruiting is occurring on a trajectory similar to how technology allowed marketing and sales teams to rely less on intuition and more on data. As HR tech stacks mature and more data is captured and analyzed, HR and talent acquisition professionals have an incredible opportunity to generate and act on people insights.  

For instance, when you have more data, you’re better positioned to support organizational strategies that address multiple people’s challenges, including diversity, wage costs, attrition levels, engagement, and more. By using people science, you can fine-tune your response to employee attrition, looking at results through a sales lens, i.e., is it a win or a loss for the company? Some types of attrition are okay, whereas others need to be addressed quickly. Data will point the way, helping you align HR/recruiting activities with company objectives. 

Chances are, other operating units in your organization also experienced a transformation driven by technology and data. In addition to marketing and sales, departments like finance and customer success operate differently now than they did just a few years ago, incorporating digital technology and automation to drive efficiency and generate better outcomes.

Although people science offers impressive new capabilities, some HR and recruiting professionals are apprehensive about how it will affect their jobs. After all, you probably went into HR because you’re a “people person.” Keep in mind that your people skills are still your most important asset. The difference is that now you have an opportunity to get the insights you need to redefine functions like talent acquisition — and help your company build the future


Michel Visser, Global Vice President of People Success, Unit4.


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By Michel Visser