Congratulations! You’ve been tasked to manage an analytics team within your organization. In this role, it’s crucial to establish effective management practices to lead a successful team.

As a manager, your role goes beyond overseeing day-to-day operations; it involves fostering a collaborative and productive environment, nurturing talent and aligning your team’s efforts with organizational goals. Also, your team must be ready and equipped to thrive amidst disruption.

Let’s discuss three essential management practices that can help long-term organizational success.

1.    Develop and retain your staff

You hired your current team members because they were capable and showed potential to learn. Now they are the backbone of your analytics organization. They possess in-depth knowledge of your business and data. After years on your team, they know the problems you’re trying to solve. Their local knowledge makes them more productive and efficient. You could even measure their experience as intellectual capital.

So when they leave, it hurts.

A top reason people cite when leaving a job is the opportunity to learn – and we contribute to that. With tight deadlines and too many projects, we often fail to give our staff the time to learn.

But analytical techniques and tools are advancing every day. Your team was smart and capable of learning new things when you hired them, and they are just as capable today. Give them the time and resources to learn and they will be more capable and less likely to leave.

2.    Embrace the competitive nature of talent acquisition

Demand for skilled analytics talent has never been higher. We were participating in a hackathon a few years ago. The winner, a graduate student in a bio-health field – not analytics – was offered a job on the spot and dropped out of school.

You know stories like this. You are in a competition for talent. Act like it.

You can’t just post your job and expect top talent will find it. Managers must go beyond traditional hiring methods. Borrowing from my experience, let some people on your team participate in a hackathon to spot and connect with other talent. The bottom line is you must find and recruit talent.

3.    Develop relationships with universities

Connect with job-seeking analytics talent where they are – in school. Here are some ways you can connect with students and faculty.

  • Join an advisory board. Universities actively seek input from industry professionals. They want to know what you're trying to accomplish and want to shape their programs to complement industry.
  • Sponsor a hackathon. These events thrive on innovation, creativity and a display of problem-solving projects, plus provide a way to engage with aspiring talent.
  • Integrate real business cases into the curriculum. Universities are eager to give students real-world experiences that simulate business challenges (similar to how SAS partnered with UNCW and Lightcast). You provide your business cases to universities to get fresh, innovative work on your business problems – and students who take an interest are self-selecting into your company or industry.
  • Sponsor internships and projects. This helps students gain practical experience and gives your organization fresh ideas for old problems.

For managers leading analytics organizations, success lies in implementing practices that prepare your team for new challenges. By developing and retaining your staff, you’re tapping into their expertise and providing a culture of growth. Lean on nontraditional hiring techniques to attract top talent. And remember to go where the untapped talent is. Establish strategic relationships with universities to build your talent pipeline.

With these three management practices, your analytics organizations will be well-positioned for long-term success.

Learn more about how SAS can help you develop and execute your analytics talent plan.


About Author

Sean O'Brien

Senior Vice President of Global Customer Success

As Senior Vice President of Global Customer Success, O’Brien assembled a SAS®-savvy team dedicated to creating value and building long-term customer relationships. O’Brien and his organization are focused on what’s important to our customers and helping them achieve business outcomes with SAS. Sean also leads the Education division, which is focused on building SAS competency and closing the analytics skills gap for everyone.

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