What's in this podcast?

In this episode Jason talks to Paul Ravenscroft, Head of CRM and Loyalty Analytics, at Pets At Home, about building a stellar data and analytics team.

Listen to this episode on Spotify, iTunes, and Stitcher. You can also catch up on the previous episodes of the Hub & Spoken podcast when you subscribe.

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For more on this topic, see our whitepaper on Assembling your Dream Data Analytics Team


One Big Message

When building a team, focus on a balance between hard and soft skills. Technical skills gaps can be easily remedied, so making sure your team can productively work among themselves and other departments is the priority.

[00:35] Paul’s role as a data and analytics team builder and the challenges he has faced when hiring new team members

[08:50] How to attract good talent and let people know about opportunities in the data and analytics field

[17:20] Why you need to shift your focus from finding ‘unicorn people’ to creating a ‘unicorn team’ in your business

[22:10] How to develop your team member’s skill sets and bridge any gaps

[28:45] How to deal with having people leave once you have trained them and what you can implement to help with employee retention

[34:10] The role of innovation in motivating team members and retaining good talent

[36:40] How the pandemic has changed they way in which the workplace is run and its effect on hiring new people

Create a dream team

When building a team, it is important to remember that the whole team is greater than the sum of each individual member.

What does this mean for hiring the ‘right’ team members?

Typically most people seek out to hire ‘unicorn’ employees – people who are excellent at everything, have great interpersonal skills and are just an overall amazing human being.

However it is not always possible to find people who have all the necessary skills needed since data and analytics is a new and constantly evolving field.

Paul’s solution is to become flexible with your hiring criteria. Find the balance between hard and soft skills so that your employees will work together well. Once you have a cohesive team, up-skilling and bridging gaps in technical knowledge becomes much easier.

By bringing in different team members with a broader range of expertise, you will notice that they will be able to help each other grow and go further in their roles.

It is also good to bring in people with diverse backgrounds. Even though there are dedicated data and analytics courses, Paul emphasises that the skillset needed to become an excellent data expert can be found in various fields.

For example, Paul hired someone who was an Olympic coach because he saw that she frequently worked with data and could help other team members with their mindset. This culture greatly helped the team to thrive overall, especially during the pandemic.


Invest in your employees

Always invest in your employees because they are your greatest asset. Train them on recent developments in data analytics, create team building exercises and look at the way they act and communicate with each other.


Work on employee retention and integration

Employee retention is an important part of any human resources strategy. Attracting exceptional talent might seem obvious, however many businesses don’t have any plan in place to help retain them.

Paul suggests creating targets for your team to hit so they can strive to do better. Having targets that allow employees to grow will help keep them engaged and motivated. Demonstrate to them that there is always room for potential growth and when they are ready to step up, your company has the room for them to do so.

Employee retention is a two-way conversation. Ask for feedback and see how you can be of assistance if someone requires help.


Occasional turnover in a team is good, but closely monitor why 

Team members will always come and go due to personal circumstances. But if you see team members leaving too often it might be pointing to something more sinister.

You don’t want team members leaving because they feel bored, stuck or uninspired. And if a lot of people are leaving due to similar job-related circumstances it is time to diagnose the issue.

Sometimes the answer lies in the job description itself.  People always want progression in their careers so create jobs that allow them to grow and achieve more. If you are creating jobs that feel stagnant and have no room for further growth, then employees will be far more likely to leave.


To summarise

Happy team members will propel you farther than any other business asset. Allow them to grow into their full potential by investing in them constantly. This is particularly important in the data and analytics field where further education is constantly needed to keep up with the constantly evolving technology.

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