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Creating an analytical culture at your organization starts with the HR department. The first step is to understand the different levels of comfort with analytics in HR, and then to decide your approach to hiring and building expertise at each of the different levels. HR professionals can be categorized into one of three groups based on their analytical capability: analytically savvy individuals, who are formally trained in analytics techniques; analytically willing people, who are open to learning but lack formal training; and, analytically resistant professionals, who are skeptical and dismissive of the value of a data-based approach. When hiring for analytical capability, roles that require producing analytical information demand analytically savvy workers, while roles that involve interpreting and working with analytical information require analytically willing workers.

When developing analytical capability among existing employees, the key is to provide engaging learning opportunities to workers at all levels of expertise. For example, keep analytically savvy workers’ skills up-to-date by providing opportunities for advanced training, and assigning them to mentor a colleague who is less capable. For analytically willing employees, a good starting point is foundational education on HR analytics. And, for the analytically resistant, focus on how analytics can enhance their personal effectiveness. The ultimate goal is not necessarily to transform them into data experts, but to have them see the value in analytics and embrace it as a path to success. Finally, analytically related learning opportunities for all HR professionals can be managed with an online learning system, such as IBM’s Your Learning platform, where you can personalize learning and deliver it at scale. Analytical skills should also be designated “hot skills” for HR professionals, and as people acquire more of these skills, their compensation should be increased to reflect their enhanced capabilities.

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