HR analytics at the top firms continues to develop at a rapid rate, but one thing remains certain – that the direction it’s moving continues to demand new skills for the HR department.
When I was part of the global HR analytics team at a global bank I was the only economist in a team of psychologists. Today I’m convinced that the psychologists would be in the minority.
On the opening day of HR Tech Europe’s recent spring event which I chaired we heard from both IBM and Google about the teams that they had developed. Both matched my experiences of what skills are really needed.
Domain expertise – which includes the sort of skills psychologists bring – is essential but so are skills needed to manage, analyse and model large datasets typically captured for a different purpose. This requires advanced statistical techniques. Today these skills are increasingly technology dependent. Is this a surprise? Not really.
In the literature about data science teams we see the pattern time and time again.
- Domain expertise lets you know what to study.
- Statistics teaches you how to study it.
- Computer science gives you the ability to study it.
We add a further skill which we call Design for Data Driven Decisions – 4D Insight is useless unless you can communicate what’s going on clearly.
All of this points to a critical challenge for most HR departments who want to develop their own capability:
- the skills needed are in very short supply
- HR is competing not only with other HR departments but also with other functions
- HR will struggle to offer vertical career paths for the best analysts.