Do you have the analytical talent in your workforce?  

Industries like retail, supply chain, and finance always have to have analysts. It’s the nature of the business, and it’s a way of staying competitive. In HR, this doesn't always seem to be a priority although it really should be, especially in this era of big data. A chapter in the book “Analytics at Work" (2010) talks about the scarcity of analytical talent as well as the importance of having analytical talent.  

What kind of analytical skills should you look for?

These professionals don’t necessarily have to perform heavy duty stats but perhaps some elementary stats with knowledge of statistical concepts such as reliability and validity of data, correlation, T-tests, etc.

You're really looking for a combination of skill sets--
  • quantitative and statistical skills for forecasting models
  • use of technology and ability to keep up with the rapidly changing technology in business intelligence and analytics. Proficiency in the use of Excel, statistical packages like SPSS, SAS, R, and other analytical software for all kinds of data including qualitative data, i.e., NVIVO)
  • business acumen--professionals who will treat the business like an entrepreneur, connecting the metrics with business decisions and business priorities
  • ability to interpret and communicate results and findings, including statistical and qualitative information to executives
  • professionals who can serve as consultants, helping you figure out solutions
  • being in HR, you need professionals who understand HR policies and implications, as well as human behavior and can explain attrition and retention, job satisfaction, competencies, etc.
  • In sum, you're looking for analytical, technologically savvy, and consultative professionals

As Tom Davenport says, "companies are competing on analytics." With the overflow of data and the increasing demands for talent to analyze the data, these skilled professionals are rapidly getting recruited by industries that are traditionally heavy in analytics. Build up your analytical talent and capabilities in HR, because after all, it is the people who will drive your business.

With the emerging big data phenomenon, data analytics will often require a combination of skillsets consisting of IT and Social Science--IT savvy professionals to mine the data, collect and warehouse the data, and to visualize the data.  Social Science professionals to understand and explain statistics and the behavior and the psychology, the human elements of the data.

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