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Business Analytics And The Human Touch

Discussing With The Experts

Business Analytics And The Human Touch

Stéphane Brutus, a Concordia University specialist in human
resources, and Jean Paul Isson, Senior VP of Business Analytics at Monster
Worldwide Inc., discuss business analytics and the human touch.

Q: How important

is teamwork in
business?
 
Brutus: It’s a big
part of what organizations
are looking
for. Organizational
recruiters are looking
less and less for
technical skills and
more and more for
these soft skills.
 
Technical skills come and go. The ability to co-operate,
to be creative, to listen, to present well, all these
skills have a long shelf life. Research tells us the majority
of employers are looking for strong soft skills.
They’ll train their employees for the technical skills.
 
Q: Are soft skills born or made?
 
Brutus: A lot of it is made. This is what my peerreview
research is all about. As university educators,
we have a great opportunity to help students
grow these soft skills. I wouldn’t do this research if I
didn’t think soft skills were trainable. The university
environment is perfect for this.
 
Q: How do you make sure the peer-review process
builds people up, rather than tearing them down?
 
Brutus: All of the feedback is screened by the professor.
The big thing about feedback is to establish
the credibility of the source. On “rate my professors”
or similar sites, anybody can write anything. I don’t
find those are very efficient feedback mechanisms.
There’s a downside for the younger generation –
technology has created competing feedback loops
of varying quality, such as Facebook – how many
friends you have, how many people ‘like’ your posts.
 
Q: How will your research on peer review and teamwork
benefit business organizations?
 
Brutus: We tell companies that we grow our students
on this competency for four years. Subsequent
research hopefully will prove that a transfer of these
skills to the business world occurs.
 
Stéphane Brutus has a PhD in Industrial-Organizational
Psychology and specializes in feedback
processes in organizations.

Q: How important is
working in a team in
business?
 
Isson: I see teamwork
as a key to success.
I manage a global
team of people here in
Canada, the U.S. and
Europe. The work is
inter-connected. We
want to make sure that
the key business challenges
and objectives are shared across the entire
organization. You want team players – they should
all speak the same language about what the business
is trying to achieve. We need to make sure that we as
a team leverage the collaboration of all the people,
and eliminate duplication of effort.
 
Q: How do business analytics help employers?
Isson: A company posts a job on Monster for
market analysts. Our job is to look at how that job
performs compared to similar jobs posted by similar
companies. The performance of a job is based on
three factors: number of people that view the job;
number of applicants; number of people who apply
to jobs divided by the total number of people who
viewed the job – the conversion rate. That’s critical
for employers. Their ultimate goal is to hire the most
talented people.
 
Q: What is the role of technology in human
resources?
 
Isson: The volume of data is huge. Monster has 150
million resumes. Let’s say a company is looking for
a marketing analyst in Toronto. We can go through
our resume database, grab the resumes that match
that criteria and rank them based on criteria that the
company sets: “I need someone who went to York
University and worked at KPMG for at least 3 years
and lives in the Toronto GTA.” It’s all about analysing
unstructured data. Forward-looking companies
invest in that – Monster, Microsoft, HP, Apple.
 
Jean Paul Isson, Monster Worldwide Inc.’s global
vice-president, business intelligence and predictive
analytics, is the author of a new book, Win With Advanced
Business Analytics: Creating Business Value
From Your Data, published by John Wiley and Sons.
DM130387_


From the Globe and Mail Report on Business Dec 2012 issue.