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Stop hiring data scientists until you’re ready for data science

If you thought you were ready for data science but you’re not, don’t put your new data science hire into a different role or block them as they keep trying to be successful. Be honest and let them go.


This same list goes for hiring Professional Innovation Managers we use descriptive, prescriptive and diagnostic models to evaluate opportunities and challenges to innovating and enabling the firm to be competitive. 

Tips on letting that brilliant HR data scientist you hired be one of your most brilliant hires:

1. Assign reporting to someone else. It’s a very important task, but it doesn’t require a data scientist. Reporting will quickly bore them to tears and they’ll resign.

2. Don’t block them from talking directly to your business areas. I often hear they have to go through the HR Business Partner who protects the business leader and blocks them from access. Working with the HR Business Partner of course makes sense. Being blocked by the HR Business Partner doesn’t.

3. Task HR Business Partners with finding either high turnover roles or low performance roles that your data scientist can work to help with.

4. Have them focus first on solving business challenges (like Financial Advisor turnover) not HR challenges like compliance issues. This will give visibility to the great work they do and introduce HR’s new expertise to solving business challenges that affect the bottom line.

5. When they complete an analytics project, give them a chance to talk and present the results, regardless of the outcomes. Did it help or not help? Don’t keep the results inside of HR.

6. Admit that you’re a little nervous about what they do. They’re nervous about what you do too.

7. Trust your data scientist. Stop being scared. You hired them because they have an area of expertise traditional HR doesn’t. Embrace their area of expertise. You need to trust their advice and approach, or, yes, they’ll leave.

“Anyone can hire a data scientist. Not every HR department or organization is ready for data science. Generating reports are not analytics — even if they’re prettier or faster reports. Dashboards are not analytics — even if they’re really pretty dashboards. More than anyone, HR should understand the devastating impact of changing job description on someone that’s been hired.”  –  Ironically, that data scientist hire is perhaps one of the most brilliant and strategic hires that HR department has ever made — perhaps ever. But only if they let her do what she was hired to do. HR data scientists can help move HR from being tactical to strategic, using an analytics approach to highlight never seen before patterns, make decisions based on data, and the like.