The best HR & People Analytics articles of June 2018


We are in the midst of World Cup fever here in the UK – England even won a penalty shootout against Colombia this week, defying the predictive algorithm (and history) in the process. The data now suggests that England has a reasonably good chance of making it to the World Cup Final on 15th July. One can only hope it’s coming home!

The only thing as popular as football currently in our world in motion is of course people analytics (no, really!) and June was a busy month for me with speaking engagements in London, St Petersburg, Paris and Toronto.

At the end of June, I was in Zurich where Jonathan Ferrar unveiled Insight222’s new Nine Dimensions for Excellence in People AnalyticsTM model (see Figure 1) to their European clients. I have been fortunate to work with Jonathan in the development of this model in my role as Board Advisor to Insight222. More detail on the model will follow in the coming weeks: It's something I'm really excited about.

Figure 1  :  The Nine Dimensions for Excellence in People AnalyticsTM (Source: Insight222 Limited)

Figure 1The Nine Dimensions for Excellence in People AnalyticsTM (Source: Insight222 Limited)

In tribute to the World Cup, I’ve extended the usual 10 articles to an XI this month. I’m confident that this line-up could take on anyone:


1. ANTONY EBELLE-EBANDA & GREG NEWMAN – Organisational Network Analysis and the Future of Work

One of the hottest areas of people analytics and HR is ONA and how it can be used to identify insights that help drive improvements in critical areas such as productivity, innovation, collaboration and performance. This article by Antony Ebelle-Ebanda and Greg Newman of TrustSphere is a terrific primer on what ONA is and why it’s growing in importance. Most helpful though is the practical examples offered on how ONA can be applied to support i) identification of HiPOs, ii) measurement of leadership behaviours, iii) improving employee wellness, and iv) increasing diversity and inclusion (see example in Figure 2). A valuable addition to the growing resources available on ONA, which I’ll be featuring in my next Data Driven HR Newsletter, which you can subscribe to here.

Figure 2   : Significant gender differences in networking behaviour (Source: TrustSphere)

Figure 2: Significant gender differences in networking behaviour (Source: TrustSphere)


June saw the publication of not just one, or two but three outstanding research studies on the field of people analytics from the CIPD, i4CP/ROI Institute and LinkedIn Talent Solutions.

2. EDWARD HOUGHTON, MEL GREEN, CIPD - People analytics: driving business performance with people data

The CIPD study provides a host of insights, not least that a strong people analytics culture leads to positive business outcomes as well as Figure 3 below, which suggests that confidence in conducting analysis varies significantly in the regions covered by the research – the UK appears to have much less confidence in analytics than it does about the chances of England at the World Cup. Features some outstanding analysis from Ed Houghton and Mel Green, an astute Foreword by Peter Cheese and significant contributions from the likes of Andrew MarrittEugene BurkeAndy Charlwood and Max Blumberg.

Figure 3:    HR professionals in the UK lack the confidence to conduct advanced people analytics (Source: CIPD)

Figure 3: HR professionals in the UK lack the confidence to conduct advanced people analytics (Source: CIPD)

3. i4CP & THE ROI INSTITUTE – Four ways to advance your people analytics

The i4CP/ROI Institute report outlines four recommendations to move people analytics forward: i) focus on talent on the team, ii) integrate far and wide, iii)invest in technology and tools, and iv) build trust through incremental success. It features valuable insights from a host of people analytics leaders including: Arun ChidambaramCharlotte NagyAlexis Fink (see Figure 4 below, for the model Intel developed to outline the expertise required at different stages of the people analytics process), Chase RowbothamGuru SethupathyMatthew Soloman and many more. More great research from Patti PhillipsKevin Oakesand their respective teams.

Figure 4:    Intel’s model categorising four types of expertise mapped against a seven-step process of a typical people analytics project (Source: Intel, i4CP/ROI Institute)

Figure 4: Intel’s model categorising four types of expertise mapped against a seven-step process of a typical people analytics project (Source: Intel, i4CP/ROI Institute)

4. LINKEDIN TALENT SOLUTIONS - The rise of analytics in HR

The LinkedIn Talent Solutions report provides some stark insights using LinkedIn data (see example in Figure 5 below) to highlight the rise in adoption of people analytics in North America and also offers advice on how to build a data driven function in HR. Examples on how to build a people analytics team and case studies are provided from the likes of David White and Chris Louie, who lead people analytics at LinkedIn and Nielsen respectively.

Figure 5   : North American companies apply HR Analytics by industry (Source: LinkedIn Talent Solutions)

Figure 5: North American companies apply HR Analytics by industry (Source: LinkedIn Talent Solutions)


The next two articles detail a case study from Microsoft's people analytics team and then an interview with the Head of People Analytics at Capital One.

5. DAWN KLINGHOFFER, CANDICE YOUNG & XUE LIU - To Retain New Hires, Make Sure You Meet with Them in Their First Week

Onboarding is a critical but often overlooked component with bad experience and processes contributing to unnecessary and avoidable attrition. This case study describes how Microsoft’s People Analytics team combined qualitative (survey of new hires at seven and 90 days) and quantitative (calendar and email meta data) data with engagement data to reveal insights to help inform the onboarding process moving forward. The key discovery being that it is critical for a new employee to have a one-on-one meeting with their manager during their first week. Those who did saw early growth in three key areas: network strength and centrality, better quality meetings and early team collaboration.

"Employees who grow their internal network feel that they belong and may stay at the company longer"

6. GURU SETHUPATHY - Leaders in People Analytics: Capital One’s ongoing quest to advance HR research

The third in an excellent re:Work series of interviews with people analytics leaders, which previously featured Dawn Klinghoffer (see #3 here) and Geetanjali Gamel (#5 here). This time Guru Sethupathy, who leads the team at Capital One, provides a number of invaluable insights not least on how to increase the likelihood of insights leading to actions (the last mile problem for people analytics?). In this critical element of people analytics, Guru recommends: i) productising insights and putting them in the hands of decision makers, ii) building strong relationships with business leaders, and iii) building and deploying products for employees.

"There are a hundred things we could be doing. The key is to stay close to our customers – our human resource business partners and business leaders – to make sure we are doing the most impactful things"



7. IAN BAILIE, MEGAN MARIE BUTLER, COGNITION X - The impact of AI on HRfeaturing JOSH BERSIN – AI in HR: A real killer app

If you could name one person to write a Foreword to a study assessing the impact of AI on HR then it would be Josh Bersin, so credit to CognitionX for doing just that. Josh’s Foreword highlights the ‘killer apps’ emerging across HR (e.g. recruiting, learning, engagement etc) and examines the risks (aka ethics) and what all this means for the field of people analytics. The report itself is an extensive study on the impact of AI on HR, which includes one of the best categorisations I've come across yet of the vendors driving innovation in the HR space (see Figure 6 below). Click here to download the report (and Josh’s Foreword). Great work from my Insight222 partner-in-crime Ian Bailie alongside Megan Marie Butler.

"As AI systems in HR get smarter, more proven, and more focused on specific problems, I believe we will see dramatic improvements in productivity, performance, and employee wellbeing. We just have to be patient, vigilant, and willing to invest"
Josh Bersin
Fig 6   : HR AI Market Scan: 60+ companies gaining traction (Source: CognitionX)

Fig 6: HR AI Market Scan: 60+ companies gaining traction (Source: CognitionX)

8. VOLKER JACOBS - You can’t have organisational agility without these 5 building blocks

In this revealing article, Volker Jacobs highlights TI People research on the need for HR to focus on skill management in order to enable organisational agility. The research also emphasises how companies are shifting from the traditional way of segmenting the workforce by role and function to one based on skills (see Figure 7). Volker then outlines the five key building blocks of a skills-based organisation, as determined through co-creation with members of TI People's Digital HR Program such as Cisco, Zalando and Solvay, and technology to enable an agile workforce.

"HR will need to reinvent itself and adjust talent management practices if it is to support the agile organisation"
Figure 7   : The shift in how companies segment their workforce towards skills (Source: TI People)

Figure 7: The shift in how companies segment their workforce towards skills (Source: TI People)

9. DAVID GREEN & TRISH UHL – Modern learning in the age of analytics and intelligent machines

In this article for UNLEASH, I interviewed Trish Uhl, one of the leading experts globally on learning and development. The insights and examples Trish provided are fascinating and cover areas such as: i) the key challenges in the L&D space that people analytics is helping organisations to address, ii) linkage to business outcomes and employee experience, iii) how analytics and AI is revolutionising how L&D programs are designed, delivered and evaluated, and iv) advice to HR leaders looking to apply people analytics in the L&D domain.

"True success in achieving organisational outcomes comes from both driving business results and making positive people impact"



10. DAVE ULRICH - Living Up To Our Potential: How to Make Progress in HR

One of the most popular articles in last month’s collection was Dave Ulrich’s article on agility being the key organisational capability of our time. It goes without saying that Ulrich is one of the leading global authorities on HR and his weekly articles on LinkedIn are a must-read for all of us who seek to progress the field to make it "pivotal for business success and employee wellbeing". This article describes the need for HR to shift from circular thinking (repeating the past) to spiral thinking (creating the future).

"HR has the potential to respond to value-creating opportunities around talent, leadership, and organisation, and to become pivotal for business success and employee wellbeing"



11. CIPD - Diversity and inclusion at work: facing up to the business case | BRIAN RICHMOND - What Is Workplace Inclusion and Can You Measure It? |BENJAMIN SNYDER - Why Using Data Is Your Key to Increasing Diversity | LINDA CHANG & MINA CIKARA - Want to Debias Hiring? Change What Hiring Managers Focus On

Last month’s ‘Diversity Special’ proved so popular, I decided to reprise it with four new articles to illustrate how people analytics can support, further and validate diversity and inclusion programs. First up, another terrific study from the CIPD provides evidence on the business case for diversity and then highlights the key actions needed to drive change. Then, Brian Richmond summarises the discussions at a recent New York Strategic HR Analytics MeetUp*, covering what inclusion means, how to measure it, the role of technology and what the future of inclusion is. Next, Benjamin Snyder summarises the highlights of Leslie Miley’s recent speech at the New York edition of LinkedIn’s Talent Intelligence Experience on how data can be used to make workplaces more inclusive and equitable. Finally, behavioural scientists Linda Chang and Mina Cikara describe the results of experiments they took to see if you can reduce bias in the hiring process.


MATT ALDER & KEVIN BLAIR  - Recruiting Future #134 – Cognitive Recruiting | MEGHAN BIRO & KATE HASTINGS - #WorkTrends: The Power of People Data

I came across less people analytics themed podcasts than usual in June, but these two gems are certainly worth a spin. First, the always listenable Matt Alder speaks to Kevin Blair, Global VP of Talent Acquisition, about the cognitive recruiting journey at IBM on the Recruiting Future podcast. Then, the equally listenable Meghan Biro discusses the power of people data with Kate Hastings, Senior Director of Insights at LinkedIn, and how HR is using people data to eliminate bias, close the gender gap, and drive better outcomes.


MICHAEL ARENA – Adaptive Space

I’m currently immersed in Michael Arena’s new book ‘Adaptive Space’. The book describes how, in his role as Chief Talent Officer, Michael applied ONA to foster networks, ideas, information and resources to drive innovation at GM, as well as how other organisations have also applied a similar approach. From what I've read so far I can highly recommend Michael’s book and believe it is a landmark publication in terms of providing evidence of the power of ONA. If you need further endorsement, you might want to check out Bob Sutton’s review here.


IAN BAILIE, BERNARD MARR, LASZLO BOCK & MELISSA GEE KEE - CogX 2018 - The Impact of AI on HR and Recruitment

The recent CogX event in London was a roaring success with over 6,500 attendees and 370 speakers over the two days. If you were one of the unlucky ones (like me) who couldn’t get along, never fear because the helpful people at CognitionX have made videos of most of the sessions available on their YouTube channel. The highlight for me is this engrossing discussion on the impact of AI on HR and recruitment, chaired by Ian Bailie and featuring an esteemed panel of Melissa Gee Kee (Unilever), Bernard Marr and Laszlo Bock. Tons of insights in this must-watch 37 minute video.


JOHN HERLIHY - "It's not just about AI, but TI." The Future of Talent Intelligence

June was a packed month for conferences. As well as the aforementioned CogX event, I was also unable to attend what looked like superb events such as Visier Outsmart (see key takeaways) and Culture Amp’s Culture First conference (see key takeaways). I was fortunate enough to speak at the Big Business Fun Festival in St Petersburg, the HR Tech Summit in Toronto and LinkedIn’s Talent Intelligence Experience in Paris. John Herlihy’s review of the latter captures insights from my speech along with those of Katarina BergEmily FirthRand HindiEric OwskiMelissa Furze and Alex Gallafent. I’m looking forward to speaking at the Sydney edition of the Talent Intelligence Experience in August.



This brainchild of Al Adamsen and Richard Rosenow is a first of its kind event to share and explore career opportunities in the People Analytics space. Feedback thus far on this initiative has been overwhelmingly positive, and I’m looking forward to hearing how the expo pans out.



I'm excited to confirm that I'll once again be co-chairing the People Analytics & Future of Work conference with Al Adamsen on 4th and 5th October in Philadelphia. Al has already assembled a stellar line up of speakers including: Ian O’KeefeAlec LevensonMichelle DeneauTracey SmithCharlotte NagyArun ChidambaramStefan HierlJonathan Ferrarand Ramesh Karpagavinayagam. Click on the link above to find out more and use my code DG400 for a $400 discount on tickets.


That’s all for this month. If you’d like to receive notifications alerting you to future editions of this monthly compilation, plus my Data Driven HR Newsletter and other blogs, please feel free to subscribe here