This blog reviews eight HR analytics courses. Starting with HR analytics is a big step for a lot of people and organizations. Many HR professionals struggle with the first important questions: Where should I start? What do I need to know? Which HR analytics courses are worth my time and effort?
Unsurprisingly, a lot of people start by looking for HR analytics courses. Even though I have a background in statistics and HR, I was curious about the online courses out there. I decided to try out seven of them. In this article, I share my experience and insights with you.
HR analytics attract a diverse crowd ranging from HR professionals and managers to data analysts. This means that not every course is equally interesting for everyone. Keep in mind: if you feel proficient in the subject of one course, another course might spark your interest.
HR analytics course #1: HR Analytics Lead – Analytics in HR
Let’s be honest, this course is by far our favorite, and it may have to do with the fat that we created it! Designed as an “all-in-one” course for HR analytics managers, it is by far the most comprehensive course out there. The course prepares you to head an HR analytics function in your company so you will succeed. It includes (among other things) over 20 video lessons, exclusive access to a community of HR analytics leaders and three life Q&A and coaching sessions.
Enrollment opens a few times per year. Click here for more information and to receive a notification.
#2: People analytics – University of Pennsylvania
Our first of our 5 HR analytics courses is the online course of the University of Pennsylvania (U.S.) on people analytics. The course is taught by three professors and introduces you to the major areas of people analytics, including performance evaluation, staffing, collaboration and talent management. All subjects are illustrated by many real life examples of HR analytics.
Additionally, the course provides an introduction to data management, commonly available data sources within organizations, different statistical techniques to analyze data and common pitfalls.
The course takes around eight hours of study in total and you can do it for free. For a small price, you will have access to quizzes and a certificate of completion by the University. These quizzes are quite tough and they require close attention to the video lectures.
Start the course here.
Related: How to deal with analysis paralysis
#3: An Introduction to R for Data Science
The second of our 5 HR analytics courses is about R. Doing HR analytics in Excel sheets is possible, however, Excel has some major limitations. R is an open source tool for statistics, visualization and data modeling. The programming language for R is specially designed to work with data and to do statistical computing. It provides statistical techniques and visualization capabilities for large data sets, as commonly used in HR analytics.
R goes further than the traditional tools that are used for HR data benchmarking and analysis, like Microsoft Excel, Access, and SPSS. R combines all of them into a programming language that can quickly import, edit and visualize data. Unfortunately, this means that R requires you to do some coding, making it harder to learn this system and much harder to master. However, after you’ve mastered R, you will have all the skills you need to reach the highest level in analytics maturity.
For R, I would like to suggest two different courses. Both courses require no programming background at all.
The first course is Try R, a short and completely free online introductory tutorial with seven chapters. Each chapter introduces basics such as syntax, vectors, matrices, how to run basic statistics, and how you can apply R on real-world data. The course has a small so-called command prompt. This is a program that runs in your browser where you enter your codes and the system then checks if you put in the correct commands. You can follow this course here.
Edx offers a slightly more complete introduction to R. The course Introduction to R for Data Science will take roughly eight hours to complete and provides you with basic knowledge. I found Try R a nice and quick introduction. During this four chapter course, instructor Filip teaches you about R’s basics. You will spend most of your time coding in an interactive environment that mimics R. Again, the course checks if you enter the right command and gives you points when you succeed. The first lesson is free, but you have to pay for the subsequent lessons.
You can follow this course here.
Related: Learn about the HR dashboard
#4: Data Mining with Weka – University of Waikato
Weka is a tool to use data mining interface. It has a visual and clickable interface which means you can use your mouse instead of having to put in codes (like you would in R). This means that you do not need programming experience.
Weka offers both a wide array of data mining algorithms and ways to visualize data. Examples of the machine learning algorithms include decision trees, bayes, simple rules, clustering and meta-classifiers. This course will explain all of these algorithms to you and their statistical backgrounds. This will help you understand the workings of data mining in general and how it can be applied to people data.
Weka is free software, and the sympathetic professor Ian Witten from the University of Waikato (NZ) explains in a series of practical videos how it works. Spoiler! Within half an hour into this course, you will run your first data mining algorithms and you created your first decision tree. The introduction of every video is played by the musical ensemble professor Witten plays in.
This course is especially interesting for people who will not analyzing data in their daily job but do want to get a grasp of the different techniques. Because of its user-friendly interface, Weka enables you to do a lot of different analyses in a short time-span. This helps you familiarize yourself with them quickly.
You can register for this free course online. However, the course is only open at certain times of the year. If you apply for this course, the University will send you a certificate of participation. You can find a full overview of all the course lectures on their website.
Two more advanced courses are offered: More Data Mining with Weka and Advanced Data Mining with Weka. Lectures for both courses can be found online at the Weka YouTube channel.
Related: An overview of human resources metrics
#5: The key principles of Human Resource Management – University of Minnesota
The Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota (U.S.) offers a course to people who are lacking experience in human resources management. If you are an HR professional by trade you can skip this course.
HR analytics is impossible to do properly without at least some general knowledge of human resources management. As a programmer it is especially valuable to know the basics of HR to make sense of your data and results. The Carlson School offers five courses that cover the basics of the people management process. The courses range from recruitment to hiring, onboarding, performance appraisal and compensation management.
Professor Budd teaches the courses. They include reading material, tests and it ends with an assignment. Every course takes around twelve hours. You can find more information here.
Related: 21 Employee Performance Metrics
#6: Basic statistics – University of Amsterdam
The last of our 5 HR analytics courses is about statistics. Data science is a recent trend in the field of statistics. It is hard to fully grasp the possibilities and pitfalls of HR analytics without a basic understanding of statistics.
The Basic Statistics course from the University of Amsterdam is taught by professors Matthijs Rooduijn and Emiel van Loon. The course explores basic statistical concepts such as correlation, regression, normal distributions, probabilities, sampling, confidence intervals and the different types of statistical errors. All these concepts apply to data science and form a required foundation for anyone who starts with any form of analytics.
The course requires roughly ten hours of study in total. Basic Statistics is part of a five modules specialization called Methods and Statistics in Social Sciences, which goes deeper into quantitative research methods. The other courses in this specialization are relevant for HR analytics as well.
#7: Introduction to People Analytics – MIPT
As the title suggests, this course is an introduction to the basics of people analytics. Alex Dolinsky and Ilya Breyman of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) made this course for aspiring HR professionals and managers.
The entire course takes about 10 hours to complete and is split up into 7 parts with each a separate topic, including performance management, culture, motivation and engagement, compensation, recruitment, and workforce planning. Because the course focusses on aspiring HR professionals, people with more experienced in HR will learn more by following the #1 Warton People Analytics Course.
The course includes several case studies which can be uploaded for review. These are a very practical and fun part of the course. You can follow this course here.
#8: The Analytics Edge – MIT
Data analysists are in high demand. If you want to start with analyzing data, MIT’s The Analytics Edge might be the right choice. This course teaches you the basics of data analytics. The program dives into the different techniques of data analysis, much like our #3 Data mining with Weka course. However, this one focusses on R, which you will use throughout the program. Compared to Weka, R has a higher entry threshold but offers more possibilities for data structuring, analysis, and visualizations.
Techniques which are taught are, amongst others: regression analysis, decision trees, linear optimization, clustering, and data visualization. 9 different professors and Ph.D. students worked on this program, including Dimitris Bertsimas and Allison O’Hair.
If you want to analyze large amounts of data yourself, this is the course to follow. You can find it here.
Since writing the first version of this article article, several great courses have been published which we have included. I am sure there are other HR analytics courses out there which I do not know of. If you followed these or other helpful courses, please post them in the comment section below. I would be happy to add these HR analytics courses to this list!
As we mentioned above, do check out the HR analytics lead course, as it is the only one of its kind to prepare you for heading an HR analytics function within a company.