Insights on HR, People Analytics, and Career Development

HR Alliance Communications Committee Member, Jennifer Beck, VP of Research and Consulting, Spring International, shares a little about herself as well as her insights about challenges leaders are facing and people analytics.
My name is Jennifer Beck, and I work for Spring International. Spring International is a people analytics company. We do custom designed research for organizations who are looking to have a better understanding of their employees and have robust data to support and direct their decision making. My specific job title is the VP of Research and Consulting. Most of my day is spent doing research sort of from A to Z, so working with clients to come up with the best possible plan for answering their questions through data, so design of a research program, and I also do a lot of the analysis and presentation of data. My favorite part of the job besides the data analyst analysis is getting to build relationships with clients. We really view ourselves as partners with clients and seek to build long-term relationships, and that has been a very special experience seeing organizations come to us with no research capabilities and then filled out an entire listening program.

Why did you join HR Alliance?
I decided to join HR Alliance because I had moved here recently and things have settled down a little bit with Covid and I was looking to connect with other professionals in this space. I chose HR Alliance specifically because the programming looked great with very good speakers and topics, and the membership seemed focused on HR professionals who are in more strategic roles and have the opportunity to think deeply about and shape the employee experience at their organization, and that was very important for me to be a part of that.

How has HR Alliance helped you professionally?
I'm fairly new, but so far I've been able to meet a few new folks in the area and take advantage of some of the interesting programming that's available. I've also joined the communications committee and it's been helpful for me to see what goes on in that space and what it takes to actually market and communicate to members or potential members. So that's been an interesting and new learning experience for me.

What challenges are leaders facing right now?
Great question. I'd say it's been a journey through the pandemic for a lot of HR leaders, and before I get into what I see are challenges that HR leaders may be facing, I just want to acknowledge the tremendous amount of work and flexibility and pivoting that HR leaders have had to do over the last three years these days. I think the need for flexibility continues to be a big theme, and that is not, I think just for HR leaders in their job role, but also finding ways to build in flexibility with employees, whether that's finding greater work-life balance or figuring out the best way forward with working from home opportunities. I think we are seeing a fewer people talk about that in particular in the news, but it's still very much a big question. A lot of organizations what that looks like to be in person or not.

I also think for a long time, leaders have been working through how to stem the loss of employees as well as get more people in the door. That's been an extreme need over the last year and a half, and the big themes that we see in our research as we try to understand how to bring people in and stem the flow or stem the flow, I guess, of people leaving our work-life balance. As I mentioned, career growth and opportunity pay as it relates to inflation, especially among the hourly workforce, but also meaning people are looking for greater meaning in their work. However, we are also seeing and hearing about companies shoring up their budgets and financing and perhaps there is another pivot coming. I don't know. I don't have a crystal ball, but the fact remains that big pivots I think are still happening and the need for flexibility remains

What is something you are excited about or looking forward to this year?
Professionally. I'm excited about some upcoming programs. HR Alliance seems to take great care in who they invite to speak. I'm also very curious to see upcoming research that may be coming out about the four-day work week. I think we've seen that in the headlines a little bit, and not that I think it's a solution to anything, but I'm just very curious to see what the data says and what people's experiences have been like with that. Personally, I have two kids under the age of four, and I've learned that it's best to really have no expectations and to just go with the flow and accept the chaos as it comes.

What recommendations do you have for people as they plan their careers?
I am not an HR professional in an organization. I'm a researcher that helps HR professionals, I guess. So I can speak specifically about my field people analytics, which there are people analytics groups within HR functions, and that's to really build your skill set early in analysis, and that's learning the basics of research and design as well as building your capabilities with advanced analytics, so building models, learning the different programming languages that you need, and I think a lot of folks who are graduating now are just already doing that in their coursework, but finding ways, I guess go out there and learn about data analytics. It's going to be really important for the years to come, and it's a growing field, and I think there's going to be a really big need for it.

Watch the interview here on YouTube Channel.

Connect with Jennifer Beck on LinkedIn here.


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