HR Data Labs – Season 1 – Episode 2 – Dr. Dawn H Nicholson – Integrating Statistical Expertise into HR Data

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This episode is special as my guest is a very old friend, colleague and former manager. Dr. Dawn H Nicholson’s background as a consultant, practitioner, executive and now a PhD lecturer is especially important based on the topic we are covering: “Integrating Statistical Expertise into HR Data.”

I hope you enjoy this episode and I am looking forward to your input and feedback.

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Episode Summary

Welcome back to the HR Data Labs Podcast, your one-stop-shop for everything happening in People Analytics today. Today’s guest is Dr. Dawn H Nicholson. Dr. Nicholson is a former HR practitioner, consultant and executive. Now she is a Lecturer in Business and Organisational Psychology at University of Kent, with over 28 years of organizational experience working in London in Financial and Professional services, with a passion for helping people make better choices. 

Let’s jump right into this episode and work with Dr. Nicholson to expose the lies in statistics and challenge the sophistication of HR. 

[00:01 – 05:28] Opening Segment

  • Let’s get to know Dr. Dawn H Nicholson
  • Dr. Nicholson gives us a bit of background on her story

[05:29 – 08:53] Lies in Statistics; Properly Analysing Data 

  • Dr. Nicholson talks about the issues in HR and how significant data was used to drive decisions
  • How Dr. Nicholson went about making better decisions using meaningful statistics

[08:54 – 11:57] Causation vs. Correlation 

  •  Dr. Nicholson speaks about the difference between causation and correlation and how to spot them
  • What people can do to not misunderstand the information they’re presented with 

[11:58 – 16:24] Story Telling

  • Tips and suggestions to telling a good story around statistics and data 
  • What are they really asking for – the why behind the question

[16:25 – 18:15] Closing Segment

  • Summary of our conversation 
  • Final Words

Tweetable Quotes:

“Something has to change sufficiently for it to be considered a significant difference, and it is only through knowing and learning about statistics in the last six years that I understand that concept of significance.” – Dr. Dawn H Nicholson  

“Don’t be afraid to say… ‘hey, is this really about causation? Can you really tell me categorically that statistic is a causal statistic rather than, really… the relationship between greater diversity to profitability.” – Dr. Dawn H Nicholson

“Data is there to serve a purpose, but it should be questioned, it should be interrogated, and it should be challenged.” – Dr. Dawn H Nicholson

Connect with Dr. Nicholson on LinkedIn.


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You can connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter, or email me at This show is brought to you by Turetsky Consulting LLC, our company provides business consulting on Analytics, HR Processes, and Rewards with a focus on getting answers that organizations need by demystifying People Analytics.  

Did you get value from the show? LEAVE A REVIEW and tell us what you think about the episode and give us suggestions around content for new episodes,

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