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The Talent Analytics Work Flow Needs Nonanalytical Talent Too
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
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Many articles discuss how human resources needs to be an analytics culture, and that all HR employees need to learn analytics. Although I appreciate that analytics is here to stay, HR, of all professions, should know that there are some people who naturally understand and love analytics and there are some who don’t and won’t.

As I speak around the world and talk to people in HR, I recognize the fear of those who have little interest in analytics. My recommendation is to take a deep breath, take a step back, and realize that not everyone needs to know how to perform predictive analytics. There are many traditional HR employees who have a mindset and interest in analytics. Let them partner with someone who is a true predictive analyst.

For those who know they are not cut out to focus on predictive analytics, there are still many roles in which they can be incredibly useful in the predictive process. Perhaps they could identify problem areas that predictive analytics can solve, or perhaps they could be the person doing more of the traditional HR work. The fear of analytics paralyzes and demoralizes employees and people in general.

What follows are some important tasks for working on a predictive workforce analytics project:

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  • Identifying high-turnover roles in the lines of business, or identifying where there are a lot of employees not performing well in their jobs. 
  • Introducing the HR predictive analytics team to the lines of business with turnover or business performance challenges; be a liaison. 
  • Helping find and access the data to support the predictive project. 
  • “Doing” the predictive analytics work (the workforce analyst or data scientist). 
  • Creating a final business report to show the results of the work (both positive and negative). 
  • Presenting the final business report. 
  • Helping to keep the project moving along, as a high-level project manager would do. 
  • Being the business and HR experts who understand how things work and need to be consulted along the way.

These roles can sometimes be held by the same person, and sometimes many different people can fill them, depending on the complexity of the project, the size of the predictive workforce organization, the number of lines of business that are involved in the project, and the multiple areas where data needs to be accessed. It’s important to realize that there are several nonanalytics roles inside of predictive projects.
The good news is that the skills, competencies, and experiences that make many people successful in traditional, nonanalytic HR roles are often of great value to the success of talent analytics projects. HR business partners have insight into the talent challenges of the business and are often good brokers between the needs of the line and HR’s ability to meet those needs. Many could expertly fill the liaison role of a predictive analytics project. Analytics Center of Excellence staff are experts in their respective domains, often knowing both where data is that could support talent analytics projects and how to interpret it, thus they can offer help in presenting data to internal clients.

When building analytics capabilities, HR departments should take advantage of the skills they already possess, even if the connection to analytics isn’t always obvious rather than trying to force all current HR employees into predictive analytics even if they have no interest. 

Feeling Pressure to Get Started With Predictive Analytics? 

If you’re feeling pressure from your executives to start using predictive analytics strategically and have a high-volume role, such as sales or customer service, you’d like to optimize, get in touch.

About the Author
Greta Roberts is the CEO and co-founder of Talent Analytics, Corp. She is the program chair of Predictive Analytics World for Workforce and a faculty member of the International Institute for Analytics. Follow her on twitter @gretaroberts.
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