If you are looking to upskill yourself as an HR professional, you should consider acquiring the skills of a data analyst. Sounds weird? Actually, it isn’t. The arrival of Big Data and Analytics during the 2008 financial crisis proved to be a game-changer for various business functions as it helped them to measure and monitor all the work they do and thus understand how efficient and effective they are. While business functions like Marketing and Operations have been quick to embrace the benefits of Analytics, HR has been a relatively late entrant.
Back in 2015, Dave Ulrich, the Rensis Likert Professor at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan and a top Organization HR Leadership coach stated that the current form of HR Analytics will fail to add real value to companies.
What does this ‘value’ look like? Consider what these companies did with the power of Analytics:
- In 2018, Google saved approximately $400 million by reducing the onboarding time of new hires from nine months to six months
- In 2017, shoe retailer Clarks raised their revenue by £60 million when they found out that every 1% of their employee engagement contributed to 0.4% to their business performance
- In 2019, IBM saved nearly $300 million in retention cost in its predictive attrition program
- And in 2020, thanks to the pandemic, it was the extensive use of analytics by all companies that helped them supply updates to their C- suite rapidly on remote working, infection, absenteeism and mental well-being.
This pivotal role played by analytics during the pandemic has caused the Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs) / Chief People Officers (CPOs) to be equated at par with the CFOs during the global financial crisis. It’s no wonder then that the pressure on the CHROs/CPOs is increasing to leverage the benefits of analytics and take on a ‘data-driven’ decision-making approach. As a result, Analytics is shifting from being a ‘good-to-have’ component to a ‘must-have’ one, thus requiring HR practitioners to become skilled in Data Analytics as well.
The urgency is best understood from the Insight222 People Analytics Trends 2021 research report covering over 100 global companies which revealed that the headcount in the People Analytics teams of these companies rose from 1:4000 to 1:2900 between 2020 and 2021. Also, it shouldn’t be a surprise that LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2020 Report has ‘People Analytics’ as an important trend when it comes to recruitment and human resources for the next five years.
With so much importance given to Analytics in the HR function, the next big question is - Are you, as an HR professional or an aspirant, ready to take it up?
Two of the main challenges staring wide at the HR community are Data and Skills. What are the roadblocks here?
1)Data: Organizations have loads of data on their employees. Unfortunately, it lies scattered and sometimes across departments. So before executing any analytical model, it is important to collect the right data, in the right format. In the language of data analytics, data has to be ‘prepared’ and ‘cleaned’, so that it can be ‘queried’.
2)Skills: Up until now, graduates of an HR program have learnt everything except analytics at their grad schools. The closest they have come to is, creating dashboards of the various initiatives, drafting employee surveys and evaluating them- an activity run more on ‘gut feeling’, disguised intuition and experience. None of this is going to get the kind of evidence-based decisions and results that businesses are aiming for.
To achieve this, the HR team must present the data gathered in a manner that tells stories beneficial to the business. This requires creating impactful dashboards of data visualizations. It is a specialized skill that needs careful, patient learning under experts.
It is clear enough that in the absence of Data Analytics skills, growth for current HR professionals will stagnate or worse, their roles may become obsolete. On the contrary, with this skill, they are going to become change-makers in every industry they opt to work in.
Now that you are convinced about the importance of Data Analytics skills in the HR function, how do you upgrade your career through Analytical skills?
Check out AltUni’s Masterklass On Data Analytics With Power BI. With this Masterklass,
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