What is the Role of the HR Analyst?

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The HR analyst plays a crucial role in collecting, structuring, analyzing, and reporting on HR processes and data. In this article, we will discuss the key competencies for an HR analyst’s job, how to become one, career paths, and salary levels.

Topics in this article

1) HR analyst tasks and competencies
2) How to become an HR analyst
3) Difference between an HR analyst and HR business partner
4) HR analyst salary
5) HR analyst career path
6) 5 HR analyst example job descriptions
7) HR analyst job description template

HR analyst tasks and competencies

In this section, we’ll list the main tasks and competencies for the HR data analyst. Note that the analyst has a broad role and – depending on the organization – will be asked to focus on different tasks.

Quite a few organizations are looking for an HR analyst with predominantly soft skills. This makes the analyst’s function profile very similar to an HR business partner. Yet other organizations are really looking for a data analyst role. Be aware of this if you apply for such a job!

This also means that you very rarely see an analyst who is doing data analysis for 100% of their job. They are usually involved in other operational tasks as well.

A funny thing we’ve noticed is that the more ‘data’ is mentioned in the job title, the more data-oriented the job usually is. Although there is no official job role, an HR analyst is usually less data-oriented than an HR data analyst, who is again less data-oriented than an HR data scientist. The latter is usually occupied with analyzing data full-time.

Related (free) resource ahead! Continue reading below ↓

HR Analytics Case Study Collection 2021

The power of HR Analytics has become crucial for most companies. Here is a collection of some of the best HR Analytics case studies we’ve come across over the past years.

1. Business acumen

Business acumen is becoming increasingly important for HR roles. The same holds true for the HR analyst.

Before you analyze data, you need to know what project you will work on and how the data analysis will impact the business. Business acumen is an essential skill for any analyst who is involved in either simple data analysis or in an end-to-end analytics project.

2. Communication & consultation

The second skill is communication and consultation. Whether you’re spending most of your time analyzing data or only very little, you need to talk to the business, manage stakeholders and their expectations, and communicate results of an analytics project to the relevant audiences.

3. Relationship management

As an analyst, it is key to manage relationships and stakeholders. Expectation management is a requirement for analytics success. In addition, you need to keep the business involved in your analytics project and keep them up to date in progress and potential setbacks.

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4. HR Expertise

Whether you’re more on the business partner side of the analyst role, or crunching numbers every single day, HR expertise is an essential skill. This expertise touches almost everything you do in your job.

HR expertise can be divided into three key areas:

  • Knowledge of the science behind what we do in HR
  • Knowledge of HR best practices
  • Understanding of the key HR processes

5. Data analysis

The HR data analyst is involved in the basics of data-driven HR in the organization. For most organizations, this entails (ad hoc) reporting and dashboarding.

In order to accurately report on HR data, the analyst is involved in the aggregation of data, maintaining HR data quality, and the analysis of data.

Depending on the data maturity of the organization, these reports can be ad hoc. Ad hoc reporting means that the information has to be manually retrieved from the systems for reporting and analysis. This kind of data often needs to be cleansed as well – which may take a lot of time.

More mature organizations have automated this process. This makes reporting less time consuming and the analyst can focus on analyses that add more value than basic reporting, like predictive analyses.

Competencies required for this include strong attention to detail and a strong drive to use data to answer business questions.

6. HR systems & implementation

HR data comes from HR systems, often referred to as the Human Resources Information System (HRIS). These transactional systems contain most of the data that the HR analyst works with.

Implementing, maintaining, and updating these systems is part of the analyst’s responsibility.

7. Global and cultural awareness

HR data is almost never local. As an analyst, you work with global data. Global and cultural awareness is essential to understanding where data is coming from and how cultural differences impact HR and data capturing practices.

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HR analyst job competencies

How to become an HR analyst

The standard requirement for an HR analyst position is domain experience in HR. HRM studies or a background in industrial and organizational psychology are usually considered highly relevant.

Alternatively, a background in economics, statistics, or analytics is also considered. People with these kinds of backgrounds bring a unique set of quantitative skills that most people with an HRM background are missing. This background often requires complementary training in HRM practices.

Work experience in HR is always a pro and so is HRIS system experience. Additionally, relevant experience with the tools and systems used by the organization also counts heavily in your favor. Tools include Tableau, PowerBI, Qlik, SAP, SuccessFactors, et cetera.

A must-have skill is proficiency in MS Excel. This is still used in most organizations and an understanding of how to combine worksheets and analyze large amounts of data using Pivot Tables are usually considered elementary.

Difference between an HR data analyst and HR business partner

We already hinted a few times about the similarities between the HR analyst and the HR business partner’s job.

Where the analyst’s job focuses primarily on the collection, analysis, and reporting of data, the business partner (BP) is more involved in communication with line managers and helping to solve their HR-related problems. In practice, the BP relies for 90% on soft skills, while the analyst relies just as much on harder (data) skills as on soft skills, if not more.

This means that the HR BP is an internal consultant who helps the manager achieve business objectives. Sometimes this work is very operational, sometimes it’s more tactical – but it is very applied to the business. In case the BP and manager run into problems that can be solved using data, the HR analyst comes in.

The analyst helps to define the problem and leverages data to solve it using the skills described previously.

Because the BP is increasingly trained in analytics and has to be able to interpret data to actively advise managers, the roles become diffused and that’s why you sometimes will find a company asking for an HR analyst while they are actually looking or a business partner.

HR analyst salary (mid-level, average salary)

Salaries for the HR analyst role can vary wildly depending on the size of the company, the location, and the experience of the analyst. In the United States, you can expect to earn between $51,000 to $68,000 for a mid-level HR Data Analyst in the midwestern United States, while someone doing the same job in New York City could expect to earn between $67,000 to $88,000 per year.

According to Payscale.com, 50% of employees in the HR analyst role have 1-4 years of experience. 24% has 5-9 years of experience. This is also an indication of the increase in importance and prevalence of the analyst’s job – as the job was almost non-existent 15 years ago.

HR analyst career path

It is hard to map a well-defined career path in today’s world. Usually, you start as a junior analyst and can grow your way to a senior analyst position.

The data-driven mindset of an analyst is increasingly popular and looked for in management positions.

Career paths to becoming HR manager and HR director are available, as well as horizontal paths towards (senior) Human Resources Generalist, or the more specialized Human Resources Information System Analyst and HRIS manager.

5 HR analyst example job descriptions

Because defining what an HR analyst exactly does is hard, I’ve included a number of job descriptions from large organizations in the post, including ERG, Reed, BNP Paribas, and Pepsico. These give a good overview of what companies expect from their HR analysts.

ERG: HR Analyst

To read the specific responsiblities and requirements, click here

Your responsibilities will include:

  • Develop standard and ad hoc reports, templates, dashboards, scorecards, and metrics.
  • Research, analyze, and present data as assigned.
  • Write detailed reports.
  • Troubleshoot data and reports.
  • Assist in rollout and implementation of HR programs.
  • Assist in various HR projects and continuous improvement initiatives.
  • Ensure compliance with Data Privacy and Protection Guidelines.

We are looking for:

  • BSc/MSc in HR or other relevant study.
  • 2+ years of experience as an HR Specialist / Admin Assistant / Analyst in multinational environment within international/Benelux companies.
  • MS Excel Wizard.
  • Ability to work with multiple sources of data.
  • Excellent attention to detail.
  • Ability to work both independently and as part of a team.
  • Fluency in English.
  • Ability to succeed in environment with conflicting priorities.

Consilio LLC: HR analyst

To read the specific responsiblities and requirements, click here

Job Summary To provide proactive and comprehensive HR and benefit administration and support, alongside Payroll support for the UK. Essential Responsibilities

  • Administer starter / leaver processes including all documentation, induction processes and exit interviews.
  • Prepare all letters or contracts for any changes to employee terms and conditions e.g. flexible working.
  • Assist with the UK payroll; update the provider with changes, respond to employee queries
  • Handle maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental leave and parental leave administration processes and ensure that associated payroll processes are completed.
  • Maintain and update electronic and hard copy personnel record systems containing all employment-related information including absence, holidays, starters and leavers, benefits and equality and diversity.
  • Assist with UK visa sponsorship applications and proactively ensure compliance with the Company’s UKVI obligations
  • Provide general administration support to the HR department as required including filing, telephone answering, preparation of reports and spreadsheets, scanning, photocopying and emails.
  • Deal sensitively with any employee relations issues and act as the first port of call for any employee queries.
  • Ensure employee benefits are maintained and respond to benefit queries from employees and providers
  • Proactively monitor the employee life-cycle and key dates in the HR calendar

Minimum Requirements

  • Educated to UK A Level standard or equivalent, degree level preferred
  • CIPD qualified / part qualified desirable.
  • Significant experience of working in an International HR department in a similar role

Other Requirements

  • UK and/or European payroll experience an advantage
  • Excellent verbal and written English skills
  • Excellent Microsoft Office skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Able to influence both at operational and senior levels, and able to explain HR initiatives in a business-friendly way
  • Customer focused, thorough and determined
  • Great attention to detail
  • Team player and collaborative
  • Passionate about improving business performance
  • Pragmatic and prepared to “roll sleeves up” where necessary

Reed: HR Analyst/HR Systems Administrator

To read the specific responsiblities and requirements, click here

Key Accountabilities

  • Assisting with the implementation of a new HR system
  • Responsible for collecting and presenting data on a regular basis
  • Maintaining and updating HR System, reporting on its capabilities
  • Collecting, presenting and communicating data to key stakeholders
  • Manage on-going performance and development of HR systems
  • Adhoc Administration tasks

Essential Skills

  • Tech Savvy individual
  • Previous Management Information (MI) reporting

BNP Paribas: HR Connect Analyst

To read the specific responsiblities and requirements, click here

Job description Perform transactional HR activities and process work within HR Connect. Answers general questions regarding portal navigation and HR policies and procedures, referring to an online knowledge base for information and guidance. Perform administrative tasks in support of HR processes. Uses a case management tool for tracking requests and may transfer or escalate them to other service center parties if the issue cannot be resolved within HR Connect. Maintain the utmost confidentiality in dealing with employee records and business information. Ensures that deliverables meet or exceed individual objectives, adhere to HR Connect goals, and align with HR strategies. This role works independently and may assist HR Connect manager with special tasks such as the development and delivery of HR process training. Responsibilities

  • Handle complex, confidential, and/or sensitive inquiries/requests and assume ownership of cases, following established processes. Ensure accuracy/completeness of responses
  • Assure appropriate approvals and compliance with “Center of Excellence” standards
  • Provide excellent service to ensure activities allows for the intended user experience in an efficient and effective manner
  • May assist review and monitor daily interfaces to assure they have run successfully and according to requirements. Work with HRIS, EDM and other HR Operations team members to identify, review, research, and correct problems and implement fixes
  • Review, analyze, and reconcile related data according to established timelines, standards, and procedures
  • Escalate particularly specialized, difficult, or sensitive matters to the appropriate “Center of Excellence” resource
  • Support the review, update, and maintenance of HR Connect documentation for assigned areas (e.g., Standard Operating Procedures, Work Instructions) to ensure complete, accurate, and up-to-date depiction of processes
  • Use the case management tool for tracking and answering various requests

Assure Compliance And Adherence To Business Objectives

  • Maintain all compliance requirements. Analyze and correct errors and ensure proper quality controls are in place to avoid future errors.
  • Provide standard or ad hoc reports to support assigned functional areas. Perform basic analysis and provide feedback regarding issues, opportunities, or challenges.
  • May assist the HR Connect manager to review service quality, operational metrics, and service levels and recommend changes.
  • Review, follow, and provide input to HR Operations team objectives.
  • Provide ideas, solutions, and tools to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of HR service processing.
  • Assist the HR Connect manager with the execution of compliance programs, internal audits, external audits, and government audits.
  • Perform, document and report all controls relevant to HR Connect.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.

Minimum Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent education/experience/training.
  • 2 or more years’ HR functional experience required (e.g., staffing, compensation, benefits, learning, employee data); preferably for a large multi-state company as an analyst or coordinator.
  • Skills related to the specific position; some broader domain knowledge and/or training in HR processes and functions desirable.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Demonstrate a competent understanding of HR processes, procedures, controls, regulations, and compliance requirements for at least one functional area. Basic familiarity with at least one other area desirable.
  • Experience with Microsoft tools and applications required.
  • Experience working for a multi-national firm desirable.
  • Experience in a shared service center environment preferred.

Related (free) resource ahead! Continue reading below ↓

HR Analytics Case Study Collection 2021

The power of HR Analytics has become crucial for most companies. Here is a collection of some of the best HR Analytics case studies we’ve come across over the past years.

Crestron Electronics: HR analyst

To read the specific responsiblities and requirements, click here

Under direction and supervision, the Compensation Analyst will be responsible for assisting in the interpretation of compensation policy, job evaluation and design, market pricing, and compensation benchmarking. Works with Human Resources team and first line managers to provide analysis and guidance on a variety of compensation related issues. Responsibilities

  • Survey Participation: Participates in salary, budget planning, and other ad hoc surveys conducted by vendors such as Willis Towers Watson, Mercer, Culpepper, etc.
  • Conduct job evaluation and review of new and/or existing roles. Partner with HR and line management to gather information and communicate results.
  • Collect and organize data for analysis. Assists with the analysis of data both internal and external.
  • Assists in the creation of communication materials and presentations to support analysis, implementation of programs, or for process updates. Prepares and maintains documentation. Regularly updates and distributes documents to HR community as appropriate.
  • Assist with the administration of our annual merit increase program. This includes annual performance management appraisals in Cornerstone, assisting with preparation of communication and training materials, providing support to employees and managers during the planning cycles, data analysis, and validating payroll integrations.
  • Manages special projects as assigned within the Human Resources department.

Qualifications

  • Strong Excel experience with a willingness to work hands-on in the detail as well as in the analysis.
  • Strong attention to detail.
  • Ability to work collaboratively as well as independently, with proven ability to form strong partnerships with key stakeholders (international contacts, internal peers and clients).
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills as well as an ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously to successful completion.

Education And Experience

  • BS/BA degree is required.
  • Minimum 1 year of experience in Human Resources with an emphasis in compensation
  • Experience with benchmarking, analysis, communication of compensation programs, and salary management is preferred.
  • Experience using compensation survey tools is a plus.
  • ADP EV5 or other HRIS system knowledge is a plus.

Pepsico: HR Analytics / Data Scientist Junior Analyst

To read the specific responsiblities and requirements, click here

We are currently searching for a highly motivated HR Analytics Analyst within the European HR Analytics team, reporting directly to the HR Analytics Director. The job:

  • To manage and analyze workforce data to generate meaningful business insights. To play an important role in analyzing and providing data for strategic workforce planning and talent analytics.
  • Gather and analyze data, using advanced statistical models and continuously learning about new ways to mine data and distill meaning out of the increasing amount of data available to us. Data to help us understand our internal workforce, our potential external future workforce and know how we can best manage our PepsiCo employees to drive real business results and value.
  • Build tools to bring our workforce insights to our HR leaders and a wide audience to drive actions from workforce data and insights.
  • Join our team to continue the HR analytics journey we are on and help us shape our future projects and analyses!

Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree in business, finance, computer science, statistics, mathematics or related field of study or equivalent work experience.
  • 3 years of relevant experience is preferred, experience with data/statistical analysis is a must.
  • Proficiency in at least one programming language for statistical analysis (preferably R or Python, but SPSS, SAS, STATA, Mathematica, Matlab, etc. will be considered) is required.
  • Strong data and analytical skills. You enjoy working with numbers and bringing structure to complex data sheets!
  • Strong relationship building skills with internal/external partners and senior staff.
  • Must be a detail-oriented and exhibiting creative problem-solving skills.
  • Excellent in Excel and PowerPoint and other presentation software. Experience with Tableau will be a plus.

A brief job analysis

Based on the job descriptions above, we conducted a brief analysis to find commonalities and differences between the job descriptions. This helps us to understand the HR analyst role even better. A few very interesting details caught our eyes:

  • Most job descriptions require ‘excellent’ MS Excel experience. Indeed, in the job description from ERG, you can find that they are looking for an Excel wizard!
  • Most descriptions require some knowledge of internal tooling/HRIS.
  • However, there was no job that required advanced analyst experience like SPSS, STATA, Phyton or R. These are some of the most common HR analytics tools.
  • Most job focus on administrative tasks and basic reporting, very much in line with what van de Heuvel and Bondarouk noticed in 2016: HR analytics is focusing on very basic tasks.
  • In addition, most functions are for juniors. With a bachelor and 1 year of relevant working experience, you can already apply to 5 out of 7 of these jobs. It feels like these companies are looking for professionals with knowledge about Excel who want to work in HR, instead of HR professionals who want to analyze data.
  • If you read the job description at Consilio, it sounds more like an administrative HR function, not an analyst function. I get a similar feeling at some of the other jobs. It feels like everyone who works in HR and who understands Excel is an HR analyst these days!

I don’t want to be controversial but a lot of these jobs sound like a skillset a Business Partner should have. Also, a lot of the work for the HR analyst can be solved with the right system infrastructure and slice-and-dice HR dashboarding.

The exception here is the job at Pepsico. This job is labeled “Data scientist junior analyst”. This job requires experience in R, Python or SPSS, SAS, STATA or comparable tools.

HR analyst job description template

To make things even more convenient, we have created a job description template that you can copy and paste for your own use. Note: Do read through the requirements and add/remove company-specific demands.

Tasks

  • Excellent communication skills and business acumen.
  • Optimizing and implementing (new) data processes and systems.
  • Maintain HR data tools, reporting, and dashboards.
  • Produce and deliver standard (monthly, quarterly, and annual) and customized HR reports.
  • Respond to HR data requests on an ad hoc basis by gathering, analyzing, and reporting relevant data from various sources.
  • Maintain HR data integrity by ensuring the accuracy and consistency of input data. Audit HR data and troubleshoot irregularities. Support data governance processes.
  • Develop & maintain a data glossary,
  • Responsible for master data entry.
  • Partner with HR and Payroll on system upgrades and analyses
  • Responsible for addressing a high volume of system-related activities in a timely fashion while maintaining a high level of quality and internal customer satisfaction

Requirements

  • Bachelor or master in HR, I/O psychology, economics, econometrics, social science or business administration
  • X+ years of relevant HR experience
  • X+ years of relevant HRIS system experience
  • X+ years of relevant data analytics experience
  • You can analyze existing and newly collected data
  • Expert in MS Excel
  • Experience with data visualizations using either R/Tableau/PowerBI
  • Experience with statistical modeling and descriptive statistics
  • If it can be automated, you will
  • Working knowledge of SQL

FAQ

What does an HR analyst do?

The HR analyst plays a crucial role in collecting, structuring, analyzing, and reporting on HR processes and data. Key competencies include data analysis, business acumen, relationship management, HR expertise, communication, HR systems, and cultural awareness.

How much do HR analysts make?

Salaries for the HR analyst role can vary wildly depending on the size of the company, the location, and the experience of the analyst. In the United States, you can expect to earn between $51,000 to $68,000 for a mid-level HR Data Analyst in the Midwestern United States.

How do I become an HR analyst?

There is no set way to become an HR analyst. Psychology, business administration, and HRM are all fields of study that qualify you. Experience in data analysis in MS Excel is a requirement. Experience in R or Phyton is often optional – but a big plus!

Wrap up

That’s it for the HR analyst. The role is very diverse and job descriptions between companies can differ significantly on the level of technical skill that’s involved.

If you want to learn more about some of the basic data skills to become an HR analyst, check the HR Analyst Course at the HR Analytics Academy. In this course, you’ll learn how to report and analyze HR data.

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