Discourses about the transformational impact of people-based analytics permeate industry and academic conversations based on the assertion that technological innovations afford organisations with an unprecedented ability to capture, generate and deploy analytically informed insights when making decisions about their workforce. While a growing literature has sought to promote “best practices” based on leading-edge organisations, the subjective experiences of a more extensive array of analytics practitioners have received less attention. In this paper, we contribute to a new and significant area of study by examining what HR analytics professionals “do” and highlighting the complexity and ambiguity encompassing the value of analytics and analytics-based roles. Our findings, derived from interviews with analytics practitioners, draw attention to the different ways that analytics are used to inform HR and business-related decisions. In doing so, our paper offers foundational insights which highlight the potential for there to be a significant gap between normative discourses and the experiences of subjects operating in analytics-based roles.