Insights from IMPACT 2018: Building Data Fluency in HR


Posted by Bersin insights on April 5, 2018.

Data literacy combines people and information in a powerful way. HR teams need to go beyond people analytics and develop basic data literacy skills that enable them to ask better questions so they can make better and more informed decisions.

The push to “upskill” in data fluency was at the heart of the 2018 IMPACT session “Going Beyond the People Analytics Team: Building Data Fluency in HR.” Panelists offered a blueprint for building data literacy that captures the range of performance levels in the marketplace, from sporadic data gathering to robust, real-time tools that deliver analytics reporting across the organization.

“Basic data literacy means that your HR professionals have skills such as understanding numbers, reading a dashboard, and knowing that correlation doesn’t imply cause and effect,” said panelist Madhura Chakrabarti, PhD, People Analytics Research Leader, Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP. “It doesn’t mean that they need to know how to run a regression analysis or other advanced statistics programs.”

A recent Bersin survey1 pointed out that just 28 percent of organizations have “good” or “very good” levels of proficiency in basic data literacy skills.2 A poll conducted during the 2018 IMPACT session showed that only 9 percent of participants rated their HR data literacy skills as “good” or “very good.” The large gap between people and data needs to be bridged, Chakrabarti said, noting that “basic data literacy skills among the HR population is a strong predictor of high-impact people analytics.”

Chakrabarti pointed to five key principles to help upskill HR in data literacy.3

Five Principles for Upskilling HR Data Literacy


Source: Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP, 2018.

Attendees at the workshop session participated in an exercise to design an upskilling plan based on the five principles, using a modest budget, and with a 12-month time frame for completion. Summing up the discussion, Chakrabarti pointed out that the ultimate goal of data literacy is to move HR into the future. She urged a “shift in mindset from the traditional HR model to evidence-based HR.”

Keep up with the conversation! Check back with the Bersin blog for more Insights from IMPACT 2018.


1 High-Impact People Analytics Survey, 2017.

2 (1) Seven Top Findings for Driving High-Impact People Analytics, Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP / Madhura Chakrabarti, PhD, 2017; (2) People Analytics Maturity Model, Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP / Madhura Chakrabarti, PhD, 2017; (3) The Most Critical Point in People Analytics Maturity, Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP / Madhura Chakrabarti, PhD, 2017; (4) Advancing through the People Analytics Maturity Model, Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP / Madhura Chakrabarti, PhD, 2017.

3 Five Basic Principles for Upskilling HR in People Analytics, Bersin, Deloitte Consulting LLP / Madhura Chakrabarti, PhD, 2018.

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