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One of the surprises for people new to HR is the lack of people to people contact us HR types actually have in our day to day work. For many of us its the exception to the rule to be sitting down with someone outside the HR team and have a meeting or conversation, the bulk of our work is done sitting down at our desks. Yet the number of colleagues I’ve had that haven’t done the time analysis to understand that most of their time is at their computer is startling, people whose job it is to write policy but have never taken the time to learn to touch type, or colleagues who don’t understand the difference between CC and BCC or reply and reply all (you’ll know this one when you hear it, usually followed by frantic gestures).

So my number one tip on advancing your HR career, learn the tools that will have the most impact on your day to day workout put. Often we’ll go for the flashy (and expensive) training packages on some aspect of our HR role, but will neglect the ease at which we could learn or up-skill on our support areas. Touch typing is a skill that takes time to learn, but one that will pay off for you in your day to day work – I know it has for me. Learning how to use the programs you use everyday will help you immensely, for myself having a good knowledge of MS Excel had paid handsomely – I’ve won jobs and promotions based on this knowledge. I remember one of my managers asking me to sum-up how many people had certain qualifications on a list of a few hundred we were working on for a workforce development proposal, five minutes later I was back in her office with the results – and it only took that long because I triple checked it, she thought I was back in to ask a question about what she wanted. From that point on I was her go to person for data, and gained further exposure to projects because of it. On that note here’s a tutorial of mine that has provided quite popular on VLookUps in Excel, if you’re not familiar with this formula I’d suggest you check out the video – it will change the way you work with data and its so easy.

So, as fun as those expensive training packages look, take a look around at your desk and think about which of your daily tools you could learn to use better – I’m sure somewhere on the web training exists for free.

By Brendan Lys

Operating at the intersection of Human Resources and Data Science, I leverage extensive specialist experience within Human Resources, with the methodologies and approaches of Data Science. This focus on the discovery of actionable insights from data, has been applied to areas such as: remuneration & benefits, workforce planning, recruitment, health & safety, diversity, and training. But what does the application of data science to HR challenges and opportunities actually look like. Within an HR framework the data we work with typically comes directly from our HRMIS, an advantage of using data science methodologies is that we can bring in additional data either held within the organization or from external sources - data which is out of reach from a pure HR analytics approach. Consider for example position descriptions, these contain a wealth of data that we typically ignore as its not in a analysis ready format. A side project I'm working on currently (April 2019) is using text mining on job descriptions to provide insights into which job family the position may fit into. The insights of my work have been enjoyed by organizations across a diversity of sectors including: Government (Australia and New Zealand), ASX and NZX listed companies, utilities, not for profit and higher education.