Transforming HR Data into Business Insight: A Closer Look at the HR Metrics and Analytics Program | Queen's University IRC

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Transforming HR Data into Business Insight: A Closer Look at the HR Metrics and Analytics Program

Cathy Sheldrick, Queen's IRC Marketing Assistant
Publication date: October, 2016
Jim Harrison teaching at the HR Metrics and Analytics program
Jim Harrison teaching at the HR Metrics and Analytics program

Queen’s IRC recently introduced the HR Metrics and Analytics program to help HR professionals analyze metrics and transform data into powerful stories for their leaders.

Led by Queen’s IRC Director Paul Juniper and Queen’s IRC facilitator Jim Harrison, the program was designed to help HR professionals become more confident and competent in how to analyze data, how to use data properly, and how to share it in ways that can help their organization make decisions.

According to Paul, one of the key things people learn is how to link the data to the story. “Data with no story is not helpful. A story with no data is not going to be believed. You need to meld the two together.”

“Some people can be really good with the data, but they haven't had the practice or experience at presenting to senior leadership,” Paul said. “Alternately some people who are in HR have been afraid of using data and numbers, but they're really good with the story. They don't know how to pull the right numbers out of the data in order to support their story.”

Brenda Grape, an HR Business Partner at AMI, recently attended the HR Metrics and Analytics program. “I was really thrilled with it. It definitely went above what I expected.” Brenda said that she really got a lot out of the case studies, specifically being able to focus on how she wanted to present the story that goes with the numbers, as well as focus on the numbers that back the story.

“I loved the overall pace and format of it. I liked the pieces of lecture, but I love the practical hands-on approach.”  She is already using the knowledge and skills she learned at the HR Metrics and Analytics program back at work. “I'm utilizing the tools on a regular basis.”  

Brenda enjoyed the interactive nature of the program, and being able to work with other people. “It was a good group of people, all bringing different perspectives.” She said that coming from a small organization, it was good to get a variety perspectives, including from HR professionals in larger organizations and other industries.

Heather Francis, Manager of Employee Benefits for High Liner Foods, also participated in the HR Metrics and Analytics program.  “For me, the lecture style learning is important as well as the collaboration, the ability to talk to my colleagues sitting around the table, and to learn from them as well,” she said.

“When I was thinking about HR and analytics, just because I'm so new to it, I was thinking on a very, very small spectrum. Through the course, I've been given a tool box of things that I can use and apply. I'm very interested in where it's going to take us in the next year to five years. I think it's a very good program.”

Post-program evaluations have given HR Metrics and Analytics a very positive response, with participants citing the right mix between lecture and teamwork, and the practical application of the concepts learned as the most valuable aspects.

Kenji Nuhn, a Human Resources Reporting Specialist at CAA South Central Ontario, said it can be a little chaotic trying to make sense of all the data in HR. “What this program has done for me is given me a very solid foundation to work off of. It's a very clear and organized way of thinking.”

He values the tools and frameworks that were presented in the program. “It's given me a very easy way to organize my data, and a very simplified way to make recommendations through the data that I collect, interpret, and report on.”

Facilitator Jim Harrison describes this program as a real working session, a sentiment echoed by Brenda Grape and other attendees. Participants work through a number of case studies during the three-day program, in addition to the option of working on a real-world project.

“We ask you to bring a live project or a live situation from your organization,” Jim said. “You get to apply the tools and the templates and what you've been learning, and we give you direct feedback on that. We think that it's really important that if people are going to take the work that they're doing in the program back into the real world, we bring the real world into the program to let them work on it directly.”

Michael MacBurney is the People Relations Manager with WestJet. He chose the HR Metrics and Analytics program because his organization has recently put HR at the business table. “This program, I felt, could provide me with some tools, a different way of thinking, a different skill set to take back to that table and be a better asset to the company.”

Michael enjoyed the being able to work in groups to really get a good grasp of some of the concepts that were being taught, before taking them back to the real world. “I think in HR specifically, we see a lot of theory doesn't necessarily translate into practice,” Michael said. He valued being able to draw off others’ experience and learn how things work in other organizations, so he could draw correlations into what might work within his organization.

“It's been eye-opening to understand it's not just solid numbers that you're taking back to the business,” Michael said. “It's really a bigger picture, in that you need to essentially captivate your audience, tell the story and understand what story you're hoping your business to understand.” Other points that resonated with him included not getting too lost in the numbers, really understanding what you're trying to solve when analyzing numbers, and using the numbers to support your argument. “I definitely recommend Queen's IRC programs to any individual who's looking to take something new back to their organization.”

Facilitator Paul Juniper believes this program can be beneficial to all organizations. “It will help them bring clarity to what information they're collecting and why, and what they're going to do with it. Some organizations leapt into metrics quite early. What they found is now they produce massive amounts of data and the data is distributed. Unfortunately people don't know why they're getting it and they don't know how to use it. There's a need for some organizations to take a step back and say, ‘What are we going to collect and why? How are we going to use it? How are we going to report on it?’ This course will teach you how to do all of those things.”

 

To see upcoming dates and locations for the HR Metrics and Analytics program, please visit our website: HR Metrics and Analytics