New Research Unveils the People Impact Gap Is Costing Corporate America $1.8 Trillion Annually

Business Leaders That Leverage People Data Can Make Smart Data-Driven Decisions

VANCOUVER, British Columbia–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#HRPeople Intelligence Alliance, an advocacy for data-driven organizations, today published new research that identifies the People Impact Gap — which stands between available people data and frontline decision-making — is costing corporate America $1.8 trillion annually.

“The cost of the People Impact Gap represents the amount of revenue foregone by organizations whose leaders are unable to make smarter data-driven decisions about hiring, retention, productivity and performance of their workforce,” said Ian Cook, managing director at People Intelligence Alliance. “Very few leaders take an evidence-based approach to understanding and activating the people who make their business successful. In the research we released today, it’s very clear that business leaders who leverage their people data have much greater business outcomes.”

People Intelligence Alliance conducted this research during August 2022 and identified this cost based on work by Janet Marler, a professor at University at Albany, and Lexy Martin, a board member at People Intelligence Alliance and a principal researcher at Visier. Marler and Martin studied the use of people data in solving business problems. They gathered results from more than 200 enterprise organizations and found that organizations with a higher level of ability to apply people data to business problems had higher profit margins and a higher return on assets. The best organizations had a return on assets 137% higher than their peers. They compared the average revenue per employee for the market to the revenue per employee of organizations with a more mature use of people data in decision-making. The difference between the best and the rest was $125,000 per employee per year.

People Intelligence Alliance extended this research, aiming to understand the economic scale of the opportunity presented by the People Impact Gap.

In North America, there are 3,700 organizations with over 3,000 employees. Using a series of studies related to the use of people data in business, People Intelligence Alliance determined that approximately 700 organizations are effectively closing the People Impact Gap today. This leaves roughly 3,000 organizations of this size not applying people data to solve important business problems.

Using the revenue per employee differential of $125,000 per employee per year established in Marler and Martin’s research leads to a $625 million opportunity per organization. If 3,000 organizations were able to close their own People Impact Gap, the annual impact would be $1.8 trillion in North America alone.

Organizations such as Providence, a U.S. healthcare system with over 100,000 employees, are demonstrating how business leaders can materialize the money that is locked inside the People Impact Gap. This organization leveraged the data it held about people, the different types of work being done, their work experiences, and retention patterns to generate an annual saving of $6 million from a single project. This outcome helped increase pay for a large group of Providence’s hourly workforce. In the overall analysis of this project, the organization made substantial improvements to its financial position, and its employees took home larger paychecks.

Cook added, “While the People Impact Gap is worth $1.8 trillion in economic terms, in the view of the People Intelligence Alliance, its real value is incalculable. Alongside the financial gains, there are very real human benefits to approaching business with a more evidence-based view of your employees. The right way to start closing the gap is to bring together the right business leaders with HR leadership to focus on a key result. And then make the right investment in people and technology to deliver.”

Cost of People Impact Gap Methodology

In August 2022, People Intelligence Alliance looked at organizations with over 3,000 employees in North America. This produced a list of about 3,700 organizations. Based on survey data from Deloitte, and Insight222, it was determined that approximately 700 (18%) of this group have a good level of people analytics maturity. This left 3,000 organizations with either low or no ability to use people data. The mean size of these organizations is 5,000. This results in 3,000 organizations with 5,000 employees each who are missing out on $125,000 of revenue per employee. This equates to $1.8 trillion in economic opportunity.

About Ian Cook

Ian Cook has spent his 20+ year career building business success through people. He started and scaled three companies and a not-for-profit as well as consulted to a host of Fortune 100 companies. What distinguishes Cook and makes him sought-after as a speaker, adviser and executive leader is his ability to link the human side of business to the core drivers of operations and finance. His expertise is accessed daily by thousands of executives who are working to build business success through their people. Cook’s commentary has been featured in the Harvard Business Review, Economist, Business Insider, CNBC and more. Cook currently serves as the managing director of the People Intelligence Alliance and the vice president of research and strategy at Visier. He holds an M.A. from Edinburgh University (UK) and an MBA from Lancaster University (UK)

About People Intelligence Alliance

People Intelligence Alliance is an advocacy of data-driven organizations addressing the People Impact Gap in corporate America. This gap is caused by the lack of data, which is only exacerbated by complexity, scale and the physical distribution of teams. People Intelligence Alliance members study this data to inform business leaders how to seize the opportunity presented by their people data. Their results speak to costs saved, revenue gained, and a more people-centric approach to business. Learn more at

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Tags: People Intelligence Alliance, People Impact Gap, Ian Cook, people data, future of work, people-centric, workforce challenges, human resources, HR, HR technology, talent intelligence, Visier


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