…So this morning I read a great article from Talent Analytics CEO Greta Roberts wherein she notes that a large number of companies are hiring Data Scientists for their HR teams – only to use them to generate pretty reports as opposed to using their analytics backgrounds to solve real HR problems around topics such as turnover, hiring, and workforce planning (such as how changes in workforce costs and productivity affect the bottom line). The result is that HR is seeing high turnover and low value add out of a department that could potentially generate enormous value for it. This is a solid read… if you have a few minutes check it out here.

That said, I’m sharing this piece because lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how much it would raise the water level in HR if a larger share of the function had a stronger grasp of analytics. Businesses are certainly clamoring for more data-driven insights from their HR departments… but entrusting these responsibilities to those in HR that don’t understand how to effectively use data and analytics can adversely impact the business. From a recent CAHRS piece (here):

HR Analytics

^And yet the above reality is one of the principal reasons that – even when strong analytical thinkers are hired into data driven HR roles – they are often ineffective. Generally speaking, creating a reporting relationship wherein a Manager doesn’t have a strong working knowledge of what one or more of their direct reports does is a recipe for inefficacy. If the decision is made to house an Analytics group in HR, that team needs to be led by someone that sees the prospective value proposition and knows how to use his or her team.

This isn’t me trying to take the high ground, either: Because while I am passionate about leveraging data and anlaytics to make better people decisions, I’ll be the first person to admit that at this point in my career I have no business leading a team of HR Data Scientist. But I *do* think that as a function we have to do a better job of getting this right. As businesses continue to move more and more towards data-driven decision making, if HR doesn’t step up to help leaders leverage its people data to make better human capital decisions then another function will. Maybe this is ultimately okay if it turns out that such work is better housed elsewhere in an organization… but I am of the thinking that this is a space HR should carve out for itself. Yes? No? Maybe so?

As always, please share your comments in the section below.