The best HR & People Analytics articles: Summer 2018

It’s been a long hot summer in Europe and North America – and the weather wasn’t too shabby when I was in Sydney in August to speak at LinkedIn’s

The best People Analytics articles | Summer 2018 | compiled by David Green
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David Green

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People Analytics Leader | Conference speaker/chair | Board advisor: Insight222/TrustSphere | CEO: Zandel/davidrgreen.com

It’s been a long hot summer in Europe and North America – and the weather wasn’t too shabby when I was in Sydney in August to speak at LinkedIn’s Talent Intelligence Experience either!

July and August have also seen a number of excellent articles published on people analytics, data-driven HR and the future of work.

My monthly round-up of the best articles on these themes have moved to a new home – myHRfuture. You can head over there to read: The best HR & People Analytics articles of July 2018 and The best HR & People Analytics article of August 2018. A selection of 11 articles featured across these two retrospectives is provided here.

myHRfuture is also home to my new course ‘An Introduction to People Analytics’, which I put together with Jonathan Ferrar. Click on this link or the image below to find out more.

As promised, here is a selection of 11 articles, which caught my attention over the summer:

MARKET TRENDS

FIGURE 1: SIZE OF PEOPLE ANALYTICS TEAMS BY MATURITY AND ORGANISATION SIZE (SOURCE: VISIER)

There’s been a glut of excellent studies this year on the state of the people analytics field, which you can find collated in my recent Data Driven HR Newsletter. Visier’s The Age of People Analytics Report is a valuable addition to the collection. You can download the full report here, but first checkout the main findings in this insightful piece by Lexy Martin, who led the research. The three things Lexy highlights are telling: i) profit margins of organisations with advanced people analytics capability are 56% higher than those of less advanced, ii) building an organisation-wide data-driven culture is critical, and iii) most projects are still focused on HR effectiveness rather than business outcomes. The full report has tons of additional insights, not least the gem that is below, which highlights the size of people analytics teams by organisation size and analytics maturity.

EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE

FIGURE 2: A MATURITY MODEL FOR EMPLOYEE EXPERIENCE (SOURCE: VOLKER JACOBS, TI PEOPLE)

One of the biggest focus areas for HR leaders continues to be the need to understand and improve employee experience. People analytics teams are increasingly at the forefront of efforts to analyse, design and personalise compelling work experiences across the employee lifecycle. As such, the maturity model outlined by Volker Jacobs in this brilliant article (see also Figure 2) will undoubtedly assist many organisations in this effort. Look out for the examples provided on the ‘Moments that Matter’ in the employee journey. This is an approach and model that Volker and his team at TI People have created together with over 20 member companies including the likes of BMW, Bosch, Cisco, Roche and Zalando.

CREATING A DATA-DRIVEN CULTURE

FIGURE 3: PERCENTAGE OF ORGANIZATIONS REPORTING BASIC DATA LITERACY SKILLS BY MATURITY LEVEL AND FUNCTION (SOURCE: MADHURA CHAKRABARTI, BERSIN BY DELOITTE)

When I speak to HR leaders about people analytics one of the most common challenges I hear is that of how to enable the wider HR function and particularly HR business partners. This article by Madhura Chakrabarti, which draws on her research at Bersin by Deloitte, covers this critical area and clearly sets out the importance of improving the data literacy of HR professionals. As Madhura describes (and as illustrated in Figure 3 below), the companies that develop advanced and sustainable capability in people analytics are those that focus on creating a culture of data-based decision making beyond that of the people analytics team itself.

THE FUTURE OF THE HR FUNCTION

“Merely changing boxes on organisation charts won’t help HR professionals work better together”

Dave Ulrich

The HR function is transforming – whether it is the need to become more data driven, be more agile and ultimately increase its impact in the business. This means the HR operating model itself and the skills HR practitioners need to possess both have to adapt to this new reality. Dave Ulrich examines the former in his article with the overriding premise being that upgrades to the HR operating model should focus more on improving relationships within and outside the department as opposed to redefining roles based on organisation charts. In the second article, Ian Bailie defines design thinking and how it can be applied in the HR space particularly with regards to creating and personalising the employee experience.

“Design Thinking enables HR to think beyond the typical process and programmatic approach to service delivery and focus instead on the experience and outcomes that it is looking to drive”

Ian Bailie

ETHICS & PEOPLE ANALYTICS

Didier Elzinga, CEO of Culture Amp, kindly references my recent Ethics in People Analytics article, as part of his clarion call that the way organisations collect and use data must fundamentally change. Ethics is arguably our biggest challenge and also the most important aspect of people analytics. As Didier writes, our responsibility as people analysts is to help our customers in the business (leaders, managers, employees – and HR) interpret and ethically use the data and insights we’re giving them.

“Organizations need to sit down and think about what they’re going to do with data and whether it will benefit their people before they collect it”

Didier Elzinga

THOUGHTS FROM A PEOPLE ANALYTICS LEADER

This is a beautifully written piece by Amit Mohindra, one of the foremost people analytics leaders on the planet and who until recently led the people analytics team at Apple. As Amit states at the outset ” people analytics leaders are in the business of change management“. He then proceeds to outline a clear vision on how this can be achieved drawing a clever parallel with his boyhood poem of choice “Where the Mind is Without Fear”.

“The data to insight is the easy part. The real challenge comes in driving action based on that insight. This is truly where we need HR leaders to lead with their head held high”

Amit Mohindra

ONA CASE STUDY

FIGURE 4: TOP LEADERS ARE CENTRAL TO THEIR TEAM’S NETWORK (SOURCE: GREG NEWMAN, TRUSTSPHERE)

Another case study, where Greg Newman describes how one of the world’s largest FMCG companies worked with TrustSphere to harness passive ONA data in order to measure the Social Capital of the participants of its leadership development program. The results Greg outlines are significant, not least that as a direct result there was a 40% improvement in the collaboration of the teams whose leaders were involved in the program. ONA continues to be a huge area of interest for people analytics team and this case study offers a practical example of the unique insights and outcomes ONA can provide.

TEXT ANALYTICS

FIGURE 5: EXAMPLES OF QUESTIONS THAT CAN BE ANSWERED WITH EMPLOYEE TEXT FEEDBACK (SOURCE: ANDREW MARRITT)

As Andrew Marritt writes, most large organisations have vast amounts of employee text feedback that thus far they’ve done very little with ( Figure 5 below provides some examples of the types of questions that can be answered with open-question employee text feedback). Given that this data is invariably the most valuable part of a questionnaire or survey, it is not surprising that many people analytics teams are looking to explore these potential gold mines. Andrew is one of the leading proponents of text analytics and this article describes how to code or categorise employee feedback. The section on the difference between deductive and inductive coding is particularly illuminating even for this lay writer. For those that haven’t already subscribed to Andrew’s weekly Empirical HR newsletter, I strongly recommend you do.

RUNNING PEOPLE ANALYTICS PROJECTS

FIGURE 6: METHODOLOGY FOR DEPLOYING SCIENTIFIC PEOPLE ANALYTICS (SOURCE: MAX BLUMBERG)

In this terrific four-part series for HR Zone – the first three articles of which have already been published, Max Blumberg outlines his model of Scientific People Analytics (SPA), and the many benefits it brings to businesses. Part 1 provides the rationale behind the methodology. Part 2 explains why SPA is useful for supporting human capital decisions made by organisational managers, and Part 3 presents a methodology for deploying scientific people analytics – see Figure 6 below.

TEAMS

: HOW TO ENABLE SMALL TEAMS IN AN AGILE COMPANY (SOURCE: MCKINSEY)

People Analytics is increasingly being used to understand how teams work, collaborate, perform and thrive. August saw a glut of excellent articles centred on ‘teams’. The first article from McKinsey examines how to enable small independent teams, which according to the authors are the lifeblood of a truly agile organisation (see Figure 7). The second article outlines five ways to harness technology to improve communication and collaboration within virtual teams. Then, Allison Moser provides examples of how eBay, Buzzfeed and Etsy have improved the gender diversity of their teams. Finally, Jennifer Robertson interviews leading team coach David Clutterbuck on the role he sees AI playing in team coaching.

FUTURE SKILLS SPECIAL

A SUCCESS ALGORITHM FOR THE 21ST CENTURY CEO (SOURCE: BCG)

If Bob Dylan wrote a song about the 21st Century workplace, he may well title it “The Skills They Are A Changin'”, and even that wouldn’t do justice to the shift taking place in our midst. These four articles provide evidence of this. First Culture Amp’s Chief Scientist Jason McPherson, outlines the four techniques that every people scientist needs to know. Then Lars Schmidthighlights four skills that emerged from the recent HR Open Source survey that HR leaders of the future will need (and yes, business and data acumen is one of them). Next, John Boudreau describes the importance of political skill and its relationship with network centrality. Finally, some fascinating research from BCG presents the five areas (see ) that make up the algorithm of the ideal 21st Century CEO.

VIDEO OF THE MONTH

Many of the challenges facing people analytics are outlined in the articles I’ve selected this month. Therefore, it seems apt that my choice as video of the month features six people analytics leaders describing these and other challenges facing the space. Ian Bailie’s accompanying article is a helpful companion piece too.

SUBSCRIBE TO MY DATA DRIVEN HR NEWSLETTER

Click here or on the image below to subscribe to my monthly Data Driven HR Newsletter.

WANT MORE ARTICLES?

Head over to myHRfuture for other great articles:

Inc: Richard Rosenow, Geetanjali Gamel, Mark Berry, Bernard Marr, Edward Houghton, Lewis Garrad, Ethan Bernstein / Stephen Turban, Andrew Spence, Soumyasanto Sen, Matt Alder / Gerry Crispin, Michael Arena

Giovanni Everduin, Tracey Smith, Stacey Harris, Keith McNulty, Shujaat Ahmad, Katie Sittler, Josh Bersin, Olivier Blum, Matt Alder / Alistair Shepherd

WHAT’S COMING UP?

A quick note about the People Analytics and Future of Work (otherwise known as PAFOW) East conference, which I am co-chairing with Al Adamsen on 4-5 October in Philadelphia. As ever, Al has lined up a veritable who’s who of speakers, a terrific agenda and a blend of learning, collaboration and networking.

If you want to see the likes of Amit Mohindra, Ian O’Keefe, Arun Chidambaram, Cassie Kozyrkov, Michelle Deneau, Alec Levenson, Charlotte Nagy, Ramesh Karpagavinayagam, Durrell Blake Robinson, Stefan Hierl, Ian Bailie, Marilyn Becker and Richard Rosenow speak then please click here and use my discount code DG200 by 14th September for a $200 discount when you book your ticket.

My speaking itinerary for the Autumn is also starting to take shape. Here are the confirmed dates currently. Hope to see some of you there!

1-3 OCT: Insight222 Global Executive Retreat (Philadelphia) (Member only event)

4-5 OCT: People Analytics & Future of Work East (Philadelphia)

23-24 OCT: UNLEASH World Conference & Expo (Amsterdam)

27-28 NOV: The HR Congress (Brussels)

David Green is a globally respected speaker, advisor and executive consultant on People Analytics, data-driven HR and the future of work. He works with HR practitioners and organisations to leverage analytical insights from employee data to drive business outcomes, increase performance and improve employee experience and well-being. Prior to launching his own consultancy business (Zandel Limited) and taking up board advisor roles at Insight222 and 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.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

People Analytics Leader | Conference speaker/chair | Board advisor: Insight222/TrustSphere | CEO: Zandel/davidrgreen.com
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