I came to terms with a harsh realization in 2018. Me and math do not mix well. It’s not that I don’t know how to do math, it’s that my brain just isn’t wired for it.
If I could do math, I would rule the world. Or at least that’s what I tell myself as I try to navigate through some of the hype that surrounds workforce analytics and talent analytics. I fell in love with the world of human resources because I could spend my days improving the employee experience. And, quite frankly, because I was good at it. Unfortunately, being an HR professional today requires an understanding of how to collect and interpret data, which seems to require math. What gives?
Terrible at math? Analytics companies probably have you covered
There are many business leaders out there that think HR professionals need to take a statistics class ASAP. I think that’s a noble goal, but I can barely get myself to a Pilates or yoga class. I want to take some cooking classes and more archery lessons, too. If my time is x and a statistics class is y, I can’t do the equation, but statistics will lose.
One good thing is that great HR technology companies have the backs of their customers. This is true. They want you to be successful, and they know that the average HR practitioner doesn’t do math. They offer dashboards that show your data in a logical way, and they offer consulting services to help you understand what to do with that information.
Some HR technology vendors can marry your company information with other data in their proprietary networks. They can operate as a consortium and tell you how you’re doing on issues related to talent management, workforce development, talent mobility and any other buzzwordy issue in the marketplace.
Here’s how much math you really need to know to work in HR
I’m all for personal and professional development. We can’t be functioning idiots and expect our companies to thrive. However, as you grow in your career, it’s important to remember that you get your work done by collaborating and leading people. You don’t have to be an expert on everything. You surround yourself with great and talented people, and you rely on them to provide candid insights and solid expertise.
So if you’re not a math whiz, hire and surround yourself with people who are good at math. It’s too late for you (and me) to ace calculus. But there are talented, math-savvy people waiting to join your team and help you succeed.