HR Analytics Course

Topics: HRExaminer, John Sumser, by John Sumser

image of HR Analytics infographic on

The core idea of the course is that evidence based decision making requires two things: a clear picture of the decision and some evidence.

Recently, I’ve been taking online courses in HR Analytics (or People Analytics as it’s being called). I stumbled across David Creelman‘s course on Udemy, The Secret Fundamental’s of HR Analytics. Creelman has been a major influence on the way HR sees itself for at least a couple of decades. Of the courses I’ve taken so far, this one is the most practical and engaging.

The course is an attempt to reduce the hype surrounding the topic of People Analytics while providing a set of fundamentals that allow the HR Pro to make headway. It’s quite a service. Creelman covers the waterfront form learning to deliver evidence conversationally to harnessing organizational politics.

The course offers reassurance that analytics isn’t inherently difficult or scary. Rather, it’s a way of doing business that incorporates numbers as a part of everything. Creelman makes the case, effectively and repeatedly, that bringing evidence to the party increases everyone’s effectiveness.

The first step in the analytics journey involves two pieces:

  • Use the phrase, “let me give you some numbers on that” often. Signal that you are becoming evidence based.
  • Learn to estimate. Precision is often the enemy of accomplishment

photo of David Creelman on article about his HR Analytics course

David Creelman’s udemy Course, The Fundamentals of HR Analytics »

With these two ideas, David begins a powerful and simple articulation of HR Analytics. He favors moving towards an evidence based decision making culture rather than envisioning and staffing a discrete HR Analytics function. He constantly reassures, ‘You’re probably already doing analytics. You’re just going to do more and better.’

There’s a great section on a technique called the Fermi Decomposition. It’s a way of generating a rough estimate of a problem and its solution. I think of it as a ‘back of the envelope estimate’. It’s a part of a larger point about accuracy and precision. Good problem solving uses the minimum amount of precision required to do the work. Fermi Decompositions provide a quick way to generate a usable estimate whose precision can be improved.

Then, he moves the conversation into ‘knowing what you’re after.’ He counsels spending plenty of time getting very clear about the decision(s) you want to make. He makes the case that building a data warehouse, statistics-centric analytics farm is counterproductive. You can get into analytics with a little investment in numbers and political skill.

It’s a rare thing to encounter such a consistent focus on defining the problem before solving it. Creelman counsels ‘know which decision you are making.’ The core idea of the course is that evidence based decision making requires two things: a clear picture of the decision and some evidence. He provides useful advice on both topics.

For $50 and an hour of your time, you can get a solid grasp on the foundational pieces of HR Analytics. My guess is that it will increase your appetite for more analytics training while improving your confidence in your work.


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