Items filtered by date: December 2013
Wednesday, 02 August 2017 18:06

IHRIM Board Announcement and Membership Survey

Atlanta, GA, July 31st, 2017 – The International Association for Human Resource Information Management (IHRIM), the world's leading membership association for the HRIT profession today announces the appointment of Stacey Harris, VP Research and Analytics at Sierra-Cedar, to its Board of Directors.

"Stacey’s appointment is part of our commitment to re-engaging the IHRIM community. Stacey is an accomplished business leader with a tremendous track record of developing and delivering research-based insights on HR technology trends,” said Jim Pettit, Chairman of IHRIM. “I am excited to welcome Stacey to the board and am confident that the leadership team, committees, and membership will benefit greatly from her innovative perspectives on creating a community of HRIT professionals around the world.”

Ms. Harris is VP of Research and Analytics for Sierra-Cedars growing industry research function, including the esteemed Annual HR Systems Survey and White Paper, now in its 20th year. A former executive with HR research firms Bersin & Associates by Deloitte and Brandon Hall, she is a frequent speaker at HR events both in the U.S. and abroad, and quoted in major media outlets such as Forbes, FastCompany, and HR Executive Magazine. Prior to joining the research community, Harris obtained her Master’s in Education, worked as a consultant and practitioner, and led multiple HR, Talent Management, and Learning initiatives for Fortune 100 organizations around the world. Stacey also co-hosts the popular HR Tech Weekly Radio Show every Thursday morning at HR Examiner, covering HR Technology news and trends.

As Director of IHRIM’s Education Initiatives, Ms. Harris’ first priority is crafting a new approach to education for IHRIM members—one that engages our community and promotes significant member benefits. Please take this opportunity to share your thoughts with Stacey through our IHRIM member and prospect survey before it closes on August 4th: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/IHRIM_2017Survey.

“As an HR technology community, we are standing at the edge of opportunity—one that takes advantage of infinitely scalable infrastructures, machine-driven personalization, and data-driven markets. It is both an exciting and complex time to be an HRIT decision maker,” said Ms. Harris. “I believe professional associations like IHRIM will help us develop the skills needed to bridge the gap between current and future HR technology environments, and are integral to developing the next generation of HR Technology leaders. I’m looking forward to helping our community grow.”

IHRIM also continues to invest heavily in membership events and education:

· The new Florida Community is hosting its next event on September 14th and 15th in Miami

· Upcoming IHRIM webinars include “Employee Wellbeing and Business Performance” and “Preparing for Presentations with HR Executives”

· Two offerings of the HRIP Certification Exam Review Course are August (Click Here) and November (Click Here)

With the appointment of Ms. Harris, IHRIM’s Board consists of 11 members, including Jim Pettit (Halyard Health, Board Chair), Mick Collins (SAP SuccessFactors, Vice Chair), Gary Morlock (Qualcomm, Chief Financial Officer), Joyce Brown (Acosta, Secretary), Shafiq Lokhandwala (Executive Director), MaryAnn McIlraith (TCT Training, Director), Stuart Rudner (Rudner MacDonald, Director) Catherine Honey (SafeGuard World International, Director), Doug Sampson (Soteritech, Director), and Sharon Thompson (TCT Training, Director). Please connect with us in IHRIM’s LinkedIn Group!

About the International Association for Human Resource Information Management (IHRIM): IHRIM is the world's leading clearinghouse for the HRIM (Human Resource Information Management) industry. Since 1980, IHRIM has been the only membership association for HR technology professionals, advancing the industry by providing unparalleled education and professional development opportunities through its annual conference, educational courses and webinars. IHRIM is a community of industry experts - a dynamic group of practitioners, vendors, consultants, students, and faculty that continues to grow, not just in numbers, but in its scope of knowledge and information. For more information about IHRIM, including how to become a member, visit www.ihrim.org or contact Laurie Carantit at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sincerely,

Jim Pettit
www.ihrim.org

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When you want to streamline communication with staff, SMS texting can improve employee communication. Human resource departments have a big job; keeping track of training, payroll and benefit administration can all be improved with the ability to send out text messages to potential or existing employees. With automated messages, it's possible to send out reminders about upcoming trainings. You can send out messages to let employees know it's time to put in their hours for the week. Used correctly, automated SMS can revolutionize how a human resources department works.

Set Up Your System to Answer Basic Questions

When you set up SMS texting software, you can set up your system to respond to basic questions automatically. For example, an employee could text the keyword "VACATION HOURS" and the system could send back how many vacation hours the employee has accrued. This saves time for employees in the human resources department, who would otherwise be answering these questions through email or on the phone. Automation makes running the HR department easier.

Send Out Automated Reminders About Trainings

Your human resources department is responsible for keeping track of all employee trainings and ensuring that everyone is up to date with the certifications they need. When you set up an automated reminder that a training is coming soon, you are less likely to have employees miss it. This is an easy way to keep track of employee trainings and if the time or date needs to change, a quick message can be sent out through texting to let everyone know.

Gather Paperwork From Potential Employees

When your HR department is working hard to hire new employees and fill open positions, gathering the necessary paperwork can be difficult. With the ability to send text messages, it's easy to make requests about missing paperwork. In addition, the interview process is easier because you can send out automated texts to remind potential employees of their upcoming interview. Once an employee has been hired, it is possible to set up employee wellness benefits, provide a schedule and communicate back and forth all through text messaging.

Send Out Surveys to Employees to Improve Morale

SMS texting can be used to ask employees about the work environment, or for any other questions the HR department may have. Employees are more likely to respond to a text message than an email, and this is a fast way to learn how your employees are feeling about work overall. When you want feedback from your employees, sending out a survey through text messaging will give you the answers you seek.

Remind Employees It's Time to Choose Benefits

Every year employees are generally given the opportunity to change their health benefit plan if they choose to. During open enrollment period, it can be difficult for the HR department to stay on top of employee requests. Reminders can be set up to go out to employees to let them know it's time to choose benefits. In this way, it is clear when employees have been provided the information to change insurance if they want.

When automated SMS is used in an HR department, communication with employees becomes streamlined. It's easier to remind employees of upcoming trainings, send out texts when schedules change, or to remind employees when it's time to sign up for benefits.

Author Biography:

Ken Rhie

Ken Rhie is the CEO of Trumpia, which earned a reputation as the most complete SMS solution including user-friendly user interface and API for mobile engagement, Smart Targeting, advanced automation, enterprise, and cross-channel features for both mass texting and landline texting use cases. Mr. Rhie holds an MBA degree from Harvard Business School. He has over 30 years of experience in the software, internet, and mobile communications industries.

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While text messaging at work was once viewed as a sign of goofing off, it is now used as an effective tool for communication between staff. When companies take the time to implement better technology to communicate, it is easier to run a business and ensure everyone is getting the information they need from day-to-day. Here are six ways SMS improves the communication between your employees and your human resources department.

Better Onboarding of New Employees
How your employee experiences joining your company has a lasting impression. When you implement SMS text messaging for human resources to communicate with an employee just getting started, they have an easier time getting all necessary paperwork done. In addition, they are able to ask questions from the HR department anytime. A new employee that has questions answered easily through texting is going to feel more settled as they begin their job.

Remind Employees of Required Trainings
It is difficult for a human resources department to keep track and ensure all employees attend mandatory trainings. With a simple text, you remind employees of upcoming events that are necessary for the smooth operation of your business. This also makes sure your employees are up to date on things like product and safety information, saving you costly compliance issues.

Administer Employee Benefits
The process of open enrollment for benefits has become a logistical nightmare for human resources departments. With deadlines approaching, it's easy to administer employee benefits when you communicate through text messaging. There's no room for confusion if an employee is given information through a text and claims to never have received the information.

SMS to Schedule Employees
When the nature of your business involves creating a schedule each week, SMS texting is a lifesaver. With the ability to text a schedule out to your employees, your employee quickly points out if there is a conflict with the schedule. In addition, for last minute callouts, text messaging gets a replacement much faster than email or manually calling your employees.

Get Payroll Done Right the First Time
Most human resources field numerous questions regarding payroll each week. To avoid the time spent answering phone calls and emails, text messaging is done more quickly. Whether HR has a question about an employee's hours, or needs to verify vacation time, text messaging makes getting payroll done easier.

Send Out a Survey to Employees
Human resources utilizes an SMS texting platform to survey the needs and wants of the employees of a company. Even something as simple as learning what people want for lunch at an upcoming training, surveys provide a great way for HR to ask questions. A survey can also be done to determine how people feel about working for the company, and to learn more about the general atmosphere of the work place.

SMS texting plays an integral role in communication between employees and your HR department. With the right platform in place, it is easier for your HR staff to provide benefit information, onboard new staff, and get payroll done in a timely manner. Everyone is using text messaging, and it's the preferred way for people to communicate. SMS texting is the key to solid communication between HR and your employees.

For more information on how integrating an SMS software improves your employee communication, click here!

Author Biography:
Ken Rhie

Ken Rhie is the CEO of Trumpia, which earned a reputation as the most complete SMS solution including user-friendly user interface and API for mobile engagement, Smart Targeting, advanced automation, enterprise, and cross-channel features for both mass texting and landline texting use cases. Mr. Rhie holds an MBA degree from Harvard Business School. He has over 30 years of experience in the software, internet, and mobile communications industries.

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Monday, 10 April 2017 15:09

The Digital Transformation Elephant

You have probably have heard the often-told story about the blind men and the elephant. A quick reminder: several blind men surround an elephant trying to determine what the creature is. One blind man feels the elephant’s trunk and claims the creature is a snake while another blind man feels one of the legs and claims that the creature is a tree. Each blind man interprets the elephant differently depending on their narrow perspective. None of the blind men can put the different perspectives together to determine the true form of the elephant.

The same situation may happen with organizations undergoing a digital transformation. Neil Ward-Dutton writes about the four perspectives of digital transformation in a chapter written for Digital Transformation with Business Process Management (published by Future Strategies, Inc.). In a book chapter on using “digital threads” to drive lean startup models, Ward-Dutton describes how the senior leaders in an organization view digital transformation:

  • HR and Communication Leaders are focused on how social, mobile, and cloud technologies will increase employee engagement and engaging with the organization’s external audiences.
  • Marketing Leaders also use social, mobile, and cloud technologies to improve the organization’s brand and establish better customer relationships.
  • Operational Leaders are concerned with using digital technologies to refine business processes and enhance the products/service offerings.
  • Senior Leaders charged with overseeing the organization’s strategy are most interested in using the new digital technologies to create strategic advantages. The strategy leaders also look for new business models based on the digital technologies.

None of these perspectives are wrong or superior to the other three perspectives. The issue is there is usually no coordination between the perspectives. One example that Ward-Dutton gives is that a marketing department uses cutting-edge technologies to deliver personalized offers to customers. Unfortunately, the marketing department did not work with operations to build digital processes that can handle the increased demand. Customers become angry with the lack of products and services promised by the marketing department. The communication department is also surprised as angry customers turn to social media to complain about the failed promises.

In the above case, the digital transformation was used successfully – but in only one part of the organization. Without a coordinated effort throughout the organization, the advantages of digital transformation are quickly erased by the miscoordination caused by the lack of a shared perspective. As more organizations adopt innovative HR IT solutions, what are HR leaders doing to share their perspective with the rest of the organization? How are HR leaders working with the three other perspectives to make sure that the new digital HR solutions:

1. Fit in with the organization’s strategy?
2. Are supported by the organization’s operational processes?
3. Will support the organization’s brand and better serve costumers?

I have never heard how the elephant and wise men parable ends but, I have often imagined that once the blind men share their perspectives with each other, the true nature of the elephant will be revealed. With organizational digital transformation, it may be up to HR leaders to help stitch the different perspectives together for the most effective digital transformation of the organization.

Blog author: Bill Brantley
Bill Brantley teaches at the University of Maryland (College Park) and the University of Louisville. He also works as a Federal employee for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. All opinions are his own and do not reflect the opinions of his employers. You can reach him at http://billbrantley.com.

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In Time, Talent, Energy: Overcome Organizational Drag and Unleash Your Team’s Productive Power, Michael Mankins and Eric Garton make the case that the competitive advantage for modern organizations lies in their workforce. When financial capital was scarce back in the industrial age, companies focused on optimizing their financial resources. Now, in the knowledge age, financial capital is abundant. However, innovative ideas are in short supply.
Where do the innovative ideas come from? The organization’s workforce. Specifically, an inspired and talented workforce that has the time to do the innovative work. Mankins and Garton demonstrate that organizations which optimize the resources of time, talent, and the workers’ energy are much more successful than other organizations. Think of the successes of Google, Apple, LinkedIn, and Netflix. Each of these companies works to reduce the organizational drag that wastes time, talent, and energy.

Organizational drag should be a familiar concept to anyone who has worked in an organization. “Employees find themselves wasting time on needless internal interactions, unproductive or inconsequential meetings, and unnecessary e-communications,” Mankins and Garton write. “The organizations gets in the way of getting things done. Not many of us can generate great ideas when we are trapped in thickets of meetings and bureaucratic procedures.” Probably the biggest contributor to organizational drag is the time wasted in handling electronic communications, meetings, and collaborating with other employees.

In the 1970s, senior executives could expect to receive up to 5,000 communications a year. In the 2010s, the number of communications grew to 50,000 separate instances a year. Time spent in meetings has also greatly exploded. According to a study by Bain and Company, in the average work week employees would spend the first three-and-half days on e-communications and meetings. The employee wouldn’t start his or her assigned work until Thursday afternoon.
What does this mean for the HRIT community? The bad news is that the digital workplace has just increased the organizational drag. Even the new collaboration technologies which promise to save time and make the workers more productive has become yet another barrier to getting work done. I remember when I first started using Slack. I was sold on the idea that Slack would replace the time sink that is email. Now, Slack is my new time sink as I must continually monitor several different channels in several different Slack teams while notifications keep pinging throughout my work day.

The good news is that there is a tremendous opportunity for the HRIT solution that reduces the e-communication burden while promoting productive meetings and collaborations across the organizational units. Solution or solutions that free up the wasted time caused by organizational drag while giving employees more productive time to create the innovative ideas that will give their organizations the strategic advantage to compete in the knowledge age marketplace. The ultimate goal, according to Mankins and Garton, is to transform the employees from merely satisfied to inspired. An inspired employee is two-and-a-half times more productive than a satisfied employee. The first step is to stop wasting the employees’ time.

Blog author: Bill Brantley
Bill Brantley teaches at the University of Maryland (College Park) and the University of Louisville. He also works as a Federal employee for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. All opinions are his own and do not reflect the opinions of his employers. You can reach him at http://billbrantley.com.

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With the release of the new Samsung smartphone, another artificial intelligence agent, “Bixby,” joins the market already occupied by IBM’s Watson, Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa. According to the search engine, There is a Bot for That; there are over 300 registered chatbots. A recent Wall Street Journal article estimates that there are 30,000 chatbots to date. HR is one industry that is currently using chatbots for many HR processes from giving information about benefits to helping recruitment efforts.

Chatbots can be effective in saving time while providing a better customer experience. However, before building the chatbot, HR shops should consider these three questions:
1) What are the benefits to the users from using the chatbot? Just the novelty of having a chatbot is no longer enough. Why should the employees want to use the chatbot? Is the chatbot an easier way to perform a task than the current way that users complete the task? You need to demonstrate that having a conversation will be much better than filling an online form or using a mobile app.

2) What is the business case for building the chatbot? Closely related to the first question, what are the benefits to the organization from using the chatbot? Map the value stream of your HR process. Where in the value stream can a chatbot (or chatbots) save the organization time, money, and resources? Make sure to factor in maintenance costs and future development costs because some chatbots have become victims of their success as users demand more sophistication.

3) Will people want to use a chatbot? For some tasks, people may prefer to interact with a person rather than a chatbot – even if the chatbot option is quicker and more efficient. People may also enjoy taking their time with a task so, efficiency is not their first concern. For example, think about employees who are planning for retirement. Retiring employees often prefer having a conversation with a knowledgeable benefits officer as the employee explores his or her options. A retirement chatbot may be useful for help in filling out forms but, not as user-friendly in the initial discussion.

Chatbots can be a great benefit to the HR department. However, before committing the time and resources to building an HR chatbot, make sure that employees will want to talk to it.

Blog author: Bill Brantley
Bill Brantley teaches at the University of Maryland (College Park) and the University of Louisville. He also works as a Federal employee for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. All opinions are his own and do not reflect the opinions of his employers. You can reach him at http://billbrantley.com.

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Human resources departments are increasingly using chatbots to help answer HR questions such as compensation issues and how to plan for retirement. Chatbots are perfectly suited for these questions because of the recent advances in artificial intelligence technology. Today’s chatbots are becoming proficient at interpreting natural language questions, scanning vast amounts of data, and then constructing a response that best answers the employee’s question. Many of you readers had seen a chatbot in action when you watched Watson compete on Jeopardy.

HR departments need to use “information architecture” to organize the information contained in HR policies, guidance, and training materials to help make chatbots more effective. Information architecture, simply defined, is a set of practices and techniques for organizing a body of knowledge. As many of you know, HR has many topic areas such compensation, benefits, labor relations, and so on. You HR certificate holders know the hours of study and professional experience needed to master the HR body of knowledge. Without some logical arrangement, it would be almost impossible to respond effectively to employees about their employment responsibilities and rights.

Better responses are why the HR information architecture you construct for the chatbot is so important. The better you have your HR concepts organized, the better the chatbot can respond to questions. For example, when I worked at U.S. Office of Personnel Management, I started in the Pay and Leave Policy area. Before I began working Pay and Leave, I had a simple understanding of pay; if you worked, your employer paid you net wages after taking out money for taxes

After beginning my work in Pay and Leave, I learned that compensation was much more complex. There is regular pay, overtime pay, special rates pay, and pay for being in a combat zone, and associated concepts such as salary compression. Pay took on a very nuanced and complex nature. Before I left Pay and Leave, I created an onboarding document to help my successor understand the pay concept. I used information architecture principles to build the Pay onboarding document.

Think about your HR organization. Where is your HR information? Scattered about in various documents? In both print and electronic formats? If a new employee walked in with a question, how easy would it be to answer his or her question? What if you were a new HR employee and had to search all of the documents for the answer?

The HR chatbot is your new HR employee that is continually starting its first day of work. What kind of HR information architecture will you need to make your chatbot’s responses better and more relevant to your employees’ questions? Without a good HR information architecture, you will end up with a “blatherbot” – a chatbot that spouts nonsensical or, even worse, wrong information about the HR policies and guidance.

Chatbots are tremendously useful for improving the customer service provided by HR departments. However, make sure that your HR house of information is in order before turning on the HR chatbot.

Blog author: Bill Brantley
Bill Brantley teaches at the University of Maryland (College Park) and the University of Louisville. He also works as a Federal employee for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. All opinions are his own and do not reflect the opinions of his employers. You can reach him at http://billbrantley.com.

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Wednesday, 18 January 2017 15:30

Augmenting the Workforce with Chatbots

I’m an accidental HR professional. I started my government career as a paralegal and then moved into business management and project management. However, I have been an IT developer ever since I received a Commodore 64 for my fourteenth birthday. I have worked in two dotcoms and present at developer conferences on my latest prototypes in open source applications. I tell you this because I have come into HR through a non-traditional career path.

However, I believe the HR IT world is the most exciting and impactful place for technology developers. This is why I have stayed in HR (specializing in training and development) and even gained a certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources and the Human Resources Information Professionals. I am a great believer in the potential for technology to revolutionize HR, to increase employee engagement, and to unleash even more potential from the workforce. I am especially optimistic about the increasing use of chatbots in HR.

For those who are new to chatbots, these are computer programs that use artificial intelligence to answer questions in everyday language. You may have heard of Siri or Cortana. You probably used a chatbot when you phoned a company and was asked a series of questions or you interacted with a chatbot when you texted a restaurant for a reservation. Thanks to cloud computing, incredible advances in machine learning, and the ability for computers to better understand spoken speech, new chatbots are being launched every day.

It is even easier to build chatbots. Recently, I played with two online services that allow you to build chatbots with almost no programming knowledge. The first service is motion.ai [http://www.motion.ai/] where you can visually build chatbots through linking together modules that you can configure by dragging and dropping onto a canvas. Motion.ai has a free account and tutorials if you want to experiment with building bots. Pandorabots has a similar service in that it offers a free sandbox and extensive tutorials for building free chatbots. Once you start experimenting with chatbots, I believe you will find many uses for chatbots in HR.

For example, think of how you can enhance the onboarding experience through a chatbot. Once you have selected an applicant, but before he or she is onboard, you can send the welcome package along with a link to the chatbot. The chatbot can send reminders and tips to the applicant while answering any questions about material in the welcome package. Once the applicant has officially come on board and been through orientation, the chatbot will be available for follow-up questions. The chatbot can also send helpful workplace tips and HR reminders. The chatbot will collect statistics on the questions asked by the new employee and will do pulse surveys to measure employee engagement. All of these measures can be displayed in a dashboard to the manager so that he or she can provide additional support when needed.
Start building a chatbot today to determine how a chatbot can improve your HR processes.

Blog author: Bill Brantley
Bill Brantley teaches at the University of Maryland (College Park) and the University of Louisville. He also works as a Federal employee for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. All opinions are his own and do not reflect the opinions of his employers. You can reach him at http://billbrantley.com.

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Thursday, 05 January 2017 15:53

Communication Tips for HRIT Projects

It is a well-known observation in project management that 90% of the project manager’s work is communication. As projects have grown in complexity and value, organizations can no longer tolerate having only 30% of projects be fully successful (as reported in the Standish Group’s 2015 CHAOS report [https://www.infoq.com/articles/standish-chaos-2015]).

In the past three years, I have examined the concept of project management communication in both business management research and communication research. There are many definitions for project management communication but, these definitions can be placed into one of two general models. The first model is the “transmission model” which you may know as the “sender-message-receiver” model. I create a message and then transmit this message through a channel (written, verbal, email, etc.) to you. Depending on the amount of noise in the channel, the message may not be completely transmitted to you. The major assumption in the transmission model is that if you receive the full message, you will fully comprehend the message.

In contrast, the second model of project management communication argues that understanding emerges because of the relationships and interactions between the project team and stakeholders. This is the emergent model of project management communication. The emergent model incorporates the transmission model but adds the dimension of “understanding” to the sending and receiving of information. Under the emergent model, project managers test that his or her message was understood and not only received.

Understanding is especially important in HRIT projects because of the diversity of stakeholders and customers of the project results. HRIT projects have their set of concepts and jargon that can impede understanding between the project team and stakeholders. In my experience, there can often be the illusion of understanding at the beginning of the project but, this illusion is quickly discovered midway through the project. At that point, correcting the miscommunication can be expensive.

So, how do HRIT project managers and project team ensure understanding among stakeholders? In my work, I have used human-centered design (HCD) techniques to create and reinforce understanding. Although some HCD techniques can take days or even weeks, there are several quick methods that can be instantly used to create and test understanding. My first technique, “Rose, Bud, Thorn,” only requires a stack of sticky notes and a few pens. During a meeting with stakeholders and the project team, I will ask the group to write down (one thought per a sticky note) the current benefits of the project – the “Rose.” Then, the projected benefits of the project result – the “Bud.” Finally, the participants will write down the current and future challenges to achieving project success – “Thorns.” I have the participants post their roses to three separate areas on the walls and then the group examines the sticky notes for common themes and concerns.
Creating and testing for understanding in project management communication can only take a few minutes but will aid greatly in ensuring that the project manager is communicating effectively for project management success.

Blog author: Bill Brantley
Bill Brantley teaches at the University of Maryland (College Park) and the University of Louisville. He also works as a Federal employee for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. All opinions are his own and do not reflect the opinions of his employers. You can reach him at http://billbrantley.com.

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HR analytics has been firmly established as a necessity for HR departments both large and small. Every day there are new vendors, consultants, and software companies that will provide all types of analytics to help you engage employees, strategically plan your workforce, improve your recruitment efforts, and optimize nearly all of your HR processes.

However, with this increased demand, finding skilled HR data analysts has become difficult. There is a shortage of data scientists and data analysts overall and even a more severe shortage of data professionals who are conversant with HR. There is some argument whether it is easier to hire data professionals and then teach them about HR rather than teaching HR professionals about data analysis. This article will not provide a definitive answer to the argument. Rather, the purpose is to give you tips on how to inexpensively train HR professionals in data analysis. Whether you choose to hire data professionals and train them in HR or not, having your HR staff conversant with at least the basics of data analysis can only help both HR and data professionals work more effectively together.

So, how do you start training your HR staff in data analysis? I suggest a three-step process using freely available software and training resources culminating in a practical capstone project. I have set this up for small organizations and government offices so; you can rest assured that this is a well-tested model which is easy to implement and track.

First: download and install RStudio (the Open Source version [https://www.rstudio.com/products/rstudio/]). R is an open-source statistical package that is widely used in the data analysis community. There are plenty of free online training sites and free books that will take your users from a neophyte to an accomplished data analyst. RStudio’s website lists many free online courses [https://www.rstudio.com/online-learning/]. Another great site is the videos on the LearnR YouTube channel [https://www.youtube.com/user/TheLearnR].

Second: use these online resources to help your staff train themselves in statistics and data analysis. A great place to start if your HR staff needs a refresher course in statistics is the interactive multimedia “Online Statistics Education” online book [http://onlinestatbook.com/]. Once your staff is ready, they can then work through the numerous free data science courses available on “Big Data University” [https://bigdatauniversity.com/]. What I especially like about Big Data University is that it has a badging system which is a great incentive for your staff and a good way for you to track their progress.

The final step in the process is the most useful for the organization and your employees – create a capstone data analysis project that will be applied to a real organizational need. In fact, I suggest you may want to create the capstone project while the staff is going through steps one and two. If the HR staff knows that they will have to demonstrate their newly-acquired skills soon, this will help focus and energize their training efforts. With just an investment of time, you can quickly create data-savvy HR staff.

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