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Human Resources Reporting and Analytics Specialist (Business Administration, BBA)

Kenji Nuhn, Canadian Automobile Association (CAA)

When Kenji was in his third year of completing his Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), he was introduced to the field of human resources (HR) and realized his interest in the subject. He had previously thought he would specialize in accounting, but after taking an HR course with a very influential professor, he changed his path.

Kenji had always been very good with numbers, so it made sense that he had planned to go into the accounting field. However, his HR management professor opened his eyes to how HR was becoming more of a strategic function in a business and he really liked how the field specifically focused on the integral role that people play in an organization.

Upon graduation, Kenji began his job search by applying for jobs in the traditional manner of sending out his resumé and cover letter and hoping it would progress from there. He utilized the Career Centre to help him with his resumé and cover letter and had support from his previous HR professor. Kenji spent a lot of time applying for positions and eventually, through continuous hard work, found a job as an external recruiter with TEKsystems. Reflecting on his post-graduation job search process, Kenji noted that this “traditional method” was not the most efficient approach to finding a job and that strategic networking would have greatly enhanced his prospects.

As an external recruiter, Kenji had to become a “learned extrovert,” while being friendly and inquisitive in order to recruit top talent. The company had been a great learning environment that allowed him to foster a great mentoring relationship and gain connections that ultimately led him to his current role working with Canadian Automobile Association (CAA). Kenji began as an HR coordinator and then transitioned to the role of HR reporting and analytics specialist where he is able to exercise his analytical skills and penchant for numbers.

A typical day for Kenji includes checking emails, attending meetings for updates on current projects, working with the accounting department on general ledger reconciliations, focusing on quality assurance, performing ad-hoc reports, and anything else related to the analytics and metrics of people. Kenji really enjoys compiling graphs and numbers to try and find insight in people data. The data that Kenji reports on can be categorized in the following four ways: internal HR delivery and efficiency (time to fill a position, hiring costs, etc.), HR effectiveness (people initiatives, employee culture metrics, retention, performance, etc.), external efficiency investigation, and research on emerging trends. The analyses Kenji conducts are utilized by his HR team, his CHRO, CEO, and board of directors.

Usually, Kenji’s days are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but this can vary depending on the season. During year end, he could be working up to 15 hour days. An example of a project that Kenji has been involved with relates to boosting the employer brand, which included applying to industry-recognized HR awards that showcased his company’s people initiatives and culture.

Kenji believes that if someone wants to be in HR, it is important that they have a story to show for why they want to be in the field that will help set themselves apart from others. Building the story behind your resumé is essential. An aspect of HR that Kenji likes best is how people oriented it is and how it allows him to meet and work with a lot of unique personalities.

HR metrics and analytics has traditionally been an underdeveloped field and is constantly evolving. This can lead to some unique challenges, since he is not working with a predefined formula for success, but is rather developing that formula as he goes. To surpass these challenges, it requires some creativity that can also be constrained by organizational limitations (e.g. politics) and going through the proper procedures. It is interesting to see how the field will grow and develop. Based on an HR metrics conference held by Queen’s University that Kenji attended, it is said that this is a very in-demand field.

To be successful in the position, some important attributes a person should have include the desire to learn and grow, intellectual curiosity (asking questions and following up with people), and moreover, they should be passionate. To get into recruiting or to become an HR coordinator, it can be beneficial to have an extroverted personality, be a friendly and positive person, know how to say “no,” as well as understand how to maintain confidentiality and be able to give political and confidential responses. In Kenji’s metrics role, presentation skills are essential for being able to effectively present data, as well as having basic technical skills, such as understanding how to use Excel.

Kenji recommends a number of useful tools to keep up to date with information regarding HR. The Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) is a great organization that provides a lot of information. As well, you can follow HR related groups on LinkedIn, which can be helpful in doing research and remaining fresh on any HR trends.

If Kenji could give his younger self advice he would focus on the importance of networking and making use of networking events. Although networking can seem intimidating, it is simply about building relationships with people who you can help, and who can in turn help you. Kenji believes “putting yourself in uncomfortable situations helps you grow the most as a person.”

If anyone has any further questions for Kenji, feel free to connect with him on LinkedIn.