January 10th 2018

How can workforce analytics capability be improved?

In our second video with Alec Levenson, Economist and Senior Research Scientist at USC Marshall School of Business, we ask Alec how HR professionals can improve their HR analytics capability and ask for relevant advice for those looking to begin their workforce analytics journey.

Learn why having a separate HR analytics unit may not be the answer and why everyone in HR needs an appreciation for analysis.

Transcript

[00:00:00] What advice can you give HR professionals looking to being their workforce analytics journey, or looking to improve current capability?

Alec Levenson [00:00:11] So the first thing I would say is that HR Analytics or the idea of being more analytical and how you approach your job in HR is something that is everyone's responsibility. So this is not about having a dedicated group of people who are analytics experts and having them do all the work, because, in fact, there's two things. One is that most people don't work in organizations that have that kind of wonderful capability sitting there in a centre of excellence. But even if you do, it is not the responsibility people sitting in that COE to define the questions, to understand what kinds of issues you need to focus on. That's actually the responsibility of everybody in HR. It starts with the business partners.

Alec Levenson [00:00:55] But even if you're working in one of the different functional areas, like a silo within learning development or within performance management or compensation and benefits, it is everyone's responsibility to be figuring out what are the key questions to be asking. Because that's where the analytics journey starts, is you need to be able to define what are the questions that matter most for the business so that you're focusing the functions, attention on what we what we need to be doing differently in the information that we need to be able to help the business to perform differently. So the way to think about this is this isn't about people deciding they want to become HR analysts or want to become HR analytics experts or workforce analytics experts. It is a much broader question of saying that there is a certain set of competencies that we know we need to succeed in a jar. It's pretty much a given that people know you need to be good at doing things like organization development skills.

Alec Levenson [00:01:51] What I would argue is that in fact, everybody in HR also needs to be good with analytic skills. But these are the fundamentals of an analysis, meaning that you can take a look at the situation in front of you. You can take a look at the organization you're working with at the business unit of the team. And you analyse, you look to understand where things are working well or not, see, you know, where to focus the attention. This is not about statistics. It's not about being able to crunch a bunch of data, because if that's needed, then you can always at that point, if you don't have the ability to do the number crunching yourself, you can always find somebody to help you do that. That's the easy part is, is the number crunching. Whether you're doing yourself, you find somebody else to do it. The hard part is making sure you're focused on the right questions and taking responsibility as an HR professional. That analytics is the job of everyone because we use that to help HR get to the things that matter the most to help the business.

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