Is HR ready for analytics?

I’ve spent that last decade building people-centric analytics solutions for a broad spectrum of industries; from intelligence & law enforcement (where they are looking to characterize criminals) to healthcare & pharma (where they are looking to characterize patients).

Recently I’ve been interested in the challenge of the Smarter Workforce; specifically investigating analytics approaches that would allow companies to characterize skills, expertise, influence, sentiment, needs, desires, relationships, connectivity, or any patterns that would help them to better engage, develop, and maximize the value of their diverse and often globally distributed workforce, and allow employees to have more fulfilled careers that leverage their skills to the fullest.

Now its hard to consider analytics for social business without considering the role of HR in this new Smarter Workforce. Firstly, they have a critical source of employee data (albeit small and relatively static in comparison to other sources; such as social, project management systems, CRM solutions, communications channels, etc.), and secondly people are their raison-d’etre.

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post entitled “Could HR become the analytics powerhouse of the enterprise?” where I suggested that HR could not only become active participants in the enterprise bigdata analytics revolution, but take the lead in workforce analytics. However, now comes the big question(s)…

Is HR ready for analytics? Are they ready to integrate analytics into their own business processes? or to go a step further and integrate with other business data to deliver employee insights for the line of business?

Now since I’m a data scientist and not a HR person I’m totally unqualified to answer these questions, so if there are any HR folks out there reading this post, I would love to hear your opinion :)

Addition: It was suggested that I add a link to another of my posts which talks about the future of analytics and may prove interesting in light of this question, so here it is :) The Future of Business Analytics; from Transactional to Interactional


4 Comments to “Is HR ready for analytics?”

  1. Hi Marie – in addition to “Could HR become the analytics powerhouse of the enterprise may I suggest including link to your killer post The Future of Business Analytics; from Transactional to Interactional so those HR folks can better understand and get excited about why analytics for HR is “DA bomb” ;)


  2. Done! And thanks for the kind words Steve :-)


  3. Hi Marie, I do think HR departments have the potential to “lead the revolution”, however I don’t think that a) HR professionals are ready for that and b) the company is not ready to demand that from HR, HR professionals lack of math/statistical training or interest (heard so many times “I don’t like numbers, I work with HR”), and few companies and senior professionals put pressure on them to do so! I think we need a new pack of skilled, interested and daring “hr revolutionaries for that to become through :)

    Thanks for bringing the subject, great posts indeed!


    • Thanks for sharing your opinion Alexandre :) This lack of analytics skills is not too surprising and is a common theme I see across many parts of the business. It’s a case that the “spirit is willing but the body is weak”. I like your idea of the “hr revoluntary” as I suspect that there will be lots of resistance to change.


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