You may have heard about how machine learning will impact our lives. The question is, what’s the difference between data science and machine learning?
We often think about data analytics as a means for learning more about our customers, personalizing our products, or streamlining our processes. But what if data can be used not just to lower our costs and increase our profits, but to improve the way people work?
Organizations are calling this use of data people analytics, and it’s starting to gain popularity as a way for Human Resources (HR) teams and management to make data-driven decisions about their workforce.
We spoke to Christophe Lefebvre, Field Human Resources Manager for Doctors Without Borders and alum of BrainStation’s Data Analytics certificate course, about the rise of people analytics and how this is helping him influence positive change in the HR field.
“From my perspective, people analytics is about leaders making better people decisions with human capital,” said Lefebvre. “By taking the lead in this field and being an engine inside my organization, I will innovate and inspire others.”
How Doctors Without Borders Uses Data
According to Lefebvre, Doctors Without Borders has begun to use data across all facets of the business, from fundraising, to communications, to human resources.
“Through an innovation fund, the organization has built an analytical tool that aims at predicting our future workforce needs, enabling us to project and prepare new approaches for our recruitment and career development activities,” said Lefebvre.
However, there is more that can be done to help data to really make an impact.
“Our long-term ambition is for HR data and analytics to inform and drive our day-to-day decision making. To help us define evidence-based and efficient HR strategies by applying predictive analytics that will affect recruitment, workforce planning, performance measurement, compensation, retention,” said Lefebvre. “The skills and practical tools I learned during the BrainStation course will help me define and implement those solutions further.”
Putting People Analytics into Practice
People Analytics sounds enticing; the notion of using data to improve hiring practices and increase retention appeals to executives everywhere. But how do we put it into practice?
Well, we have to make some changes.
“[There needs to be a] change of mindset. While the HR role has moved from a supporting to a business partner role in the past two decades, HR still needs to move beyond a restricted view of data and use it at a more operational level so that it can solve business problems,” said Lefebvre.
The second change that organizations need to make is to their employee skill sets. Data analysis skills are crucial to the success of implementing people analytics and ultimately improving the quality, culture, and longevity of your workforce.
“Data competencies are not necessarily the skills that you will find available within an HR team, which is often more focused on people skills, emotional intelligence, listening, and negotiations,” said Lefebvre.
This is part of the reason why Lefebvre decided to take BrainStation’s accelerated Data Analytics course. He wanted to bring his knowledge back to Doctors Without Borders and promote the use of data in his department.
“I am very curious to see how the application of data into the HR business world might disrupt our current process and practices,” said Lefebvre.
For Christophe, the course has made a difference.
“BrainStation’s Data Analytics course is definitely a great foundational learning opportunity for everyone who wants to make the first step into the promising world of People Analytics.”