Study: HR Lagging on Building Analytics Skills

A Bersin by Deloitte report found that 86 percent of companies say they have no analytics capabilities in the HR function. Moreover, 67 percent rate themselves as “weak” at using HR data to predict workforce performance and improvement.

“Given the radical shifts in demographics and technology, doubling down on the human capital practices of the past will not be enough to get the job done,” said Josh Bersin, principal and founder of Bersin by Deloitte, in a press release. “The research shows that organizations should re-imagine their approach to engaging people and move to re-engineer many of their HR practices.”

According to the report, 86 percent of respondents said leadership development was their biggest challenge, followed by retention and engagement (79 percent) and reskilling the HR function (77 percent). What’s more, a majority of the respondents in the survey said that their companies were not ready to properly handle these problems.

The survey also showed that business executives were dissatisfied with the HR division of their company. Roughly 34 percent of executives included in the survey reported that HR is just “getting by” or even “underperforming.” Less than 10 percent of HR leaders said they had confidence that their teams have the skills needed to meet the challenges of today’s global environment and to deliver innovative programs, the survey said.

Furthermore, 43 percent of respondents to Deloitte’s survey described their organizations as “weak” when it comes to providing HR with appropriate training and experiences, and 47 percent rank themselves as “weak” in preparing HR to deliver programs aligned with business needs.

As for building HR analytics capability, Bill Pelster, principal at Deloitte Consulting, said that chief learning officers should rebuild their learning curriculum to include more hands-on experience.

“If chief learning officers don’t have a distinct class on analytics, they must embed analytics into teaching and make it come to life,” Pelster said. “You must give (the people in the company) a chance to experience it and a chance to use it. You can’t just talk about analytics, it really has to be done through experiential learning.”

By building a diverse skill set for their employees, Pelster said that chief learning officers will have a better chance of adapting their HR functions to the future.

“Whatever learning programs you have, whatever type of learning program you have, the challenge for chief learning officers is thinking how can they embed analytics into their underlying toolset and make it come alive,” Pelster said. “That is really the big ‘a-ha’ moment.”

Eric Short is an editorial intern at Talent Management magazine. He can be reached at