How McKesson uses ONA to identify what drives high-performance in sales

One of the key findings for us is that, Organisational Network Analysis can predict business outcomes One of the fastest growing areas of people analytics – and one that garners much interest from practitioners – is Organisational Network Analysis (ONA), which can provide a new lens on how work real

One of the key findings for us is that, Organisational Network Analysis can predict business outcomes

One of the fastest growing areas of people analytics – and one that garners much interest from practitioners – is Organisational Network Analysis (ONA), which can provide a new lens on how work really gets done in a company.

Indeed, given that the most read article I’ve published in the last two years is The role of Organisational Network Analysis in People Analytics, it’s safe to say that ONA is one of the hottest tickets in town.

A challenge for people analytics leaders in using ONA can be in identifying the right use case or business problem (remember start with the business problem, not the data or the tool). As such, I know that this week’s episode of the Digital HR Leaders Podcast with RJ Milnor will prove invaluable.

In the episode, RJ shares a use case that saw McKesson partnering with relationship analytics technology company TrustSphere to investigate the network behaviours of high-performing salespeople and managers – the findings are illuminating (see example in FIG 1 below).

FIG 1: How High-Performing Sales Teams Work – Top sales people build relationships differently (Source: RJ Milnor, presentation at UNLEASH America)

I’ve known RJ for a few years, and he is one of the most impressive and business-focused people analytics leaders I’ve met. As well as McKesson, RJ has held leadership roles at the likes of Chevron, Equifax and Citrix and he recently moved back to the San Francisco Bay area to take on a new role as Head of People Analytics at Uber.

You can listen to the whole podcast by clicking on the image below or by visiting the podcast website here.

In our conversation as well as the ONA case study, RJ and I also discuss:

  • How the workforce planning and analytics team at McKesson is organised in terms of location, skills and where it sits in HR
  • The role the team plays to support transformation, workforce planning and organisational design
  • The five mindsets identified to support McKesson’s HR transformation
  • The opportunities and risks for the people analytics field moving into 2020 and beyond
  • As with all our guests on the podcast ponder what the role of HR will be in 2025.

This episode is a must listen for anyone in a workforce or people analytics role, HR and business professionals interested in how people data can drive business outcomes and CHROs looking to build or scale their people analytics capabilities.

Support for this podcast is brought to you by OrgVue to learn more, visit


To listen to the Podcast and read the transcript of my interview with RJ, head over to myHRfuture by clicking on this link: How McKesson Used ONA to Drive Sales Performance.


As well as the podcast, there are a couple of videos available on the myHRfuture YouTube channel highlighting two of the topics RJ and I covered in our conversation.

First, RJ describes How to use ONA to understand sales performance:

Then RJ tackles the question I ask all my guests on the show: What will be the role of HR in 2025? (Link to follow later this week when available).


If you enjoyed listening to the discussion with RJ, I’d be grateful if you could take the following steps:

  1. Please subscribe to the Digital HR Leaders podcast and weekly newsletter to make sure you don’t miss an episode.
  2. Please take the time to rate the show on iTunes. We rely on your feedback and support to make the podcast, so this is very helpful!
  3. Who would you like to see me interview in future episodes? Let me know in the comments below.
  4. Lastly, don’t forget to share on social media with your friends and colleagues, your support is always greatly appreciated!


A huge thank you to RJ for sharing his time and expertise. You can connect with RJ on LinkedIn. I also recommend checking out a couple of pieces of content featuring RJ:

Thanks also to Ian Bailie, Manpreet Randhawa and the myHRfuture team, and last but not least to OrgVue for sponsoring Series 5 of the Digital HR Leaders podcast and video series.

Next week my guest Julie Digby outlines How HR helps drive continual and successful transformation at Mars, so make sure you don’t miss it!


Join RJ, me and Al Adamsen for what promises to be the biggest PAFOW show yet in San Francisco from 29-31 January. More speakers will be announced soon but the likes of Dawn Klinghoffer, Heather Whiteman, Stacia Garr and Dafna Aaronson already confirmed. There are also PAFOW shows confirmed for Sydney (on 3-4 March) and London (29-30 April). Check out news on all the 2020 shows here where you can get a 15% discount on tickets with my code DG15. I’ll see you there.


If you haven’t listened to all of the previous episodes in the Digital HR Leaders podcast and video series, you can catch up now by clicking on the links below.


Watch. Listen. Learn. Succeed. All in one collaborative space. Access bitesized learning content to help you build knowledge in skills such as People Analytics, Digital HR and HR Technology, Design Thinking and Workforce Planning. Get 12 months of unlimited access to all of the content on myHRfuture for one amazing low price.



David is a globally respected writer, speaker, conference chair, and executive consultant on people analytics, data-driven HR and the future of work. As an Executive Director at Insight222, he helps global organisations create more cultural and economic value through the wise and ethical use of people data and analytics. Prior to joining Insight222 and taking up a board advisor role at TrustSphere, David was the Global Director of People Analytics Solutions at IBM Watson Talent. As such, David has extensive experience in helping organisations embark upon and accelerate their people analytics journeys.


Now that my speaking gigs are over for 2019, it’s time to look forward to 2020. I’ll be chairing and/or speaking about people analytics, data-driven HR and the Nine Dimensions for Excellence in People Analytics model at the following events until the end of May 2020.

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