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UCD Smurfit School professor to join Research Board of HR Analytics ThinkTank

  • Date: Tue, Sep 15, 2020

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Dr María Jesús Belizón has been invited to join the Research Board of HR Analytics ThinkTank—a private-academic partnership dedicated to researching the practice of HR and People Analytics. The international group analyses the HR analytics industry, creating evidence and insights so that practitioners can make better decisions about the functions they are building, the value they create for their organisations, and the way they manage their own careers.

The HR Analytics Think Tank is the first academic-industry led initiative in the space of HR Analytics that brings together research excellence and practitioners current needs. Founded in London in 2015 by Nigel Dias, Managing Director of 3n Strategy, the HR Analytics Think Tank focuses on researching, measuring and analysing how businesses deliver value through HR data and analytics. The HR Analytics Think Tank has also pioneered the first and largest Global Network of HR Analytics Meetups Ecosystem where ongoing HR Analytics experience is shared across different countries. These grassroots meetups represent micro communities around the world and are led by inspiring community leaders (usually in their spare time). The HR Analytics Ireland Meetup, with over 240 members, is part of this global community.

Dr Belizón, along with a sound and dedicated group of HR Analytics practitioners in Ireland, created the first HR Analytics Ireland community of practice in 2018. A year later, Dr. Sarah Kieran, at the University of Limerick, joined her in an effort to build a community across the country. In 2019, the HR Analytics Ireland group was invited to become a member of the Global Network of HR Analytics Meetups Ecosystem. Preliminary research in the emerging field of HR Analytics in Ireland undertaken by Dr Belizón was key to the beginning of a steadier collaboration between her and The HR Analytics Think Tank. Her understanding and vision of HR Analytics within the broader Human Resource Management scholarship mirrored that of the HR Analytics Think Tank and for this reason, she was invited to join the academic board.

An Assistant Professor of Human Resource Management at UCD College of Business, Dr Belizón will work alongside Professor Andy Charlwood (University of Leeds), Assistant Professor Mike Ulrich (Utah State University) and HR Analytics Think Tank founder, Nigel Dias of 3n Strategy, as well as with the Board of Practitioners: Angela Igman Mathon (Aviva), Brydie Lear (ING Bank), Salvador Malo (Microsoft), Jordan Pettman (Nestle), Jeremy Shapiro (Merk) and David Shontz (Nokia). The HR Analytics ThinkTank research covers the full practice of HR and people analytics, from strategies to careers to technology.

Dr Belizón began her research career surveying HR practices in multinationals as part of an international project. Her PhD focused on external and internal factors affecting the transfer of HR practices from the home country to the host operations in multinationals, and an important element in that context was the existence of a HR information system.

“I’ve always liked technology and the potential that it brings to decision-making and how companies manage their people,” said Dr Belizón. “When the HR analytics field started to develop a few years ago, I reckoned it would be a slow journey, precisely because it merges elements of computer science, data analytics and human resources. At first, it was a personal challenge to understand how those three fields come together to solve HR issues and concerns, and I was also keen to uncover how HR Analytics can get traction in a field like HR which had never been data savy. My work now is geared towards advancing our understanding of HR Analytics processes and ultimately, helping organisations to make better decisions based on data.

Maria is one of the founders of the Irish HR and people analytics community which brings together HR analytics practitioners in need of a local community of practice, across different sectors and types of organisations, to form a cohesive and unifying platform for knowledge sharing.

“Ireland is a country where ‘only the local is real’ and as I found myself in an independent position as an academic, I thought I could open up this possibility and set up the community here,” continued Dr Belizón. “Dr Sarah Kieran from the University of Limerick joined me later and we are lucky to have the support of the Irish Centre for Business Excellence, too. For us, it has been key to be part of the HR and People Analytics Global Network by the HR Analytics ThinkTank, the support from the team and the contribution of my peers in other countries running the same type of events.”

In joining the HR Analytics ThinkTank, Maria aims to combine efforts with like-minded HR Analytics leaders and academics who are interested in a critical advancement of the HR Analytics space. “To me, this boils down to two requirements. The first is to conduct rigorous and informed research. The second is to produce meaningful research insights for the work HR Analytics practitioners and organisations do. Ultimately, I hope the research we are doing will become a point of reference for industry.”


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