The best HR & People Analytics articles of July 2018


July has been a notable month. A World Cup win for France, record summer temperatures around the world and a new home for my monthly collection of the best articles on people analytics and the future of work.

I’m really excited about myHRfuture. Every week I receive a number of enquiries from people eager to learn about the new emerging skills in HR. Skills like design thinking, workforce planning, agile methodology and of course, people analytics. With the launch this week of our first two courses: Incorporating Design Thinking into HR (instructed by Volker Jacobs with Sophie Mueller, Leonie Gatermann, Chris Rowlands) and An Introduction to People Analytics (instructed by Jonathan Ferrar and me), I am confident that we have begun to close the learning gap that currently exists.

July was also a momentous month in terms of both the quality and quantity of people analytics themed articles. As such, I’ve extended the usual ten articles to twelve this month as well as highlighting my favourite podcasts and videos from July.

So, without further ado, let’s start the countdown.

1. LEXY MARTIN - 3 Things We Learned from The Age of People Analytics Report

There’s been a glut of excellent studies recently about the state of the people analytics field, which I will collate in my next 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 Figure 1 below, which highlights the size of people analytics teams by organisation size and analytics maturity.

Figure 1  : Size of people analytics teams by maturity and organisation size (Source: Visier)

Figure 1: Size of people analytics teams by maturity and organisation size (Source: Visier)

2. RICHARD ROSENOW – People Analytics Starter Kit

Richard Rosenow has rapidly become a tour de force within our space. This article, published on the eve of the successful People Analytics Career Expo Richard ran recently with Al Adamsen, is the perfect starting place for anyone interested in data driven HR. Richard collects together the best people analytics articles, case studies, books, podcasts, courses, advisory firms and conferences. It’s a veritable treasure trove of information that demands a mandatory bookmark.

"In the past few years, People Analytics has gone from a niche field to a mainstream focus for HR departments globally"


3. MARK BERRY - Increased Relevance and Results in Human Resources

Mark Berry is one of the most business focused, data driven and forward-thinking HR leaders around. He is also a superb writer and this article on the consistently excellent HR Examiner site may well be his best yet. In the article, Mark presents a recipe containing four key ingredients, which together are designed to raise the expectations and subsequent impact of HR in the business. The four ingredients Mark outlines are: time, inquisitiveness, resourcefulness and quantitative capabilities, with the last being the one that too many HR functions fail dismally on. Mark then outlines a methodology to put these ingredients together.

"HR’s opportunity – for both relevance and results – is clearly tied to delivering significant, sustainable interventions that demonstrably affect business outcomes"  


4. GEETANJALI GAMEL & DAVID GREEN – How to create career paths for people analytics professionals

Geetanjali Gamel (global leader of the workforce analytics team at Merck & Co, is passionate about her responsibility to develop the careers of her team. In this interview with me, Geetanjali outlines the 'Three C Model' (see Figure 2) she uses to engender the development of her team. Our interview also covers: i) key attributes required by the people analytics leader, ii) how to create a data-driven culture, iii) ethics, and iv) what lies ahead in the future for the field. July has proved to be a good month for practitioners sharing insights about their journeys. You can also check out articles by Chase Rowbotham  here and Marilyn Becker here, people analytics leaders at Genetech and Western Digital respectively.

Figure 2: The Three C's of career development in people analytics (Source: Geetanjali Gamel)

Figure 2: The Three C's of career development in people analytics (Source: Geetanjali Gamel)

5. BERNARD MARR - Forget Data Scientists And Hire A Data Translator Instead

In this article, Bernard Marr reveals why leading organisations are now hiring data translators to act as a conduit between data scientists and decision makers. These translators are crucial in communicating insights in a language that is compelling for business leaders to take decisions upon. This is a trend that is growing in the people analytics space, and with Marr citing McKinsey research that only 18% of companies believe they can gather and use data insights effectively, it is one that I believe will continue.

"Data translators are skilled at understanding business needs and are data savvy enough to distil it to others in an easy-to-understand manner"


6. DIDIER ELZINGA - Why we must rethink ethics in HR 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"


7. EDWARD HOUGHTON - Hidden figures: how workforce data is missing from corporate reports

Following on from June’s superb ‘People analytics: driving business performance with people data’ comes more fabulous data-themed research from the CIPD on how workforce data is still missing in action when it comes to corporate reports. Edward Houghton’s article outlines the main findings of the study, which includes Figure 3 on the biggest changes in reporting on workforce data for the FTSE 100 for the period 2015 to 2017. The research and other recent articles like this one on Reuters (reporting on investors demanding that 500 companies disclose more data on employees) and this one in HR Examiner (on the Global Movement for Human Resources Standards) suggests that the tide is about to change. That day cannot come soon enough.


Figure 3: Biggest changes in reporting for FTSE 100 for the period 2015 to 2017

Figure 3: Biggest changes in reporting for FTSE 100 for the period 2015 to 2017

8. MAX BLUMBERG - Scientific People Analytics for HR Series

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 4 below.

Figure 4: Methodology for deploying scientific people analytics (Source: Max Blumberg)

Figure 4: Methodology for deploying scientific people analytics (Source: Max Blumberg)

9. LEWIS GARRAD - 4 Reasons People Analytics is Critical to Effectively Building a Thriving Workforce

We read a lot about how people analytics can help improve business outcomes, but far less on the benefits it provides to employees, which is why this article by Mercer’s Lewis Garrad is a mandatory read. The four reasons referred to in the title describe how people analytics can unlock insights on i) what empowers employees, ii) what connects work with purpose, iii) ways to improve internal and external user experience, and iv) unleashing the full potential of your workforce. A splendid read from a consistently excellent writer. 

"There is no point in using people analytics or employee feedback programs unless it helps drive organizational changes and improvement"


10. ETHAN S BERNSTEIN & STEPHEN TURBAN - The impact of the ‘open’ workspace on human collaboration

This research paper detailing the findings from a study by Harvard Business School has garnered a lot of interest and comments since it was published and rightly so. The study by Ethan Bernstein and Stephen Turban analysed email communications and data from Humanyze’s wearable digital bade technology to highlight the negative impact of open office spaces.



JASON McPHERSON - The 4 techniques every people scientist needs to know | LARS SCHMIDT - Four job skills the HR leaders of the future will need | JOHN BOUDREAU - Develop Your Workforce’s Political Skill to Help Them Thrive |  RICH LESSER, GERRY HANSELL, KATHARINA RICK, & ROSALINDE TORRES - An Algorithm for a successful 21st Century CEO

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 Schmidt highlights 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 Figure 5) that make up the algorithm of the ideal 21st Century CEO.   


Figure 5: A success algorithm for the 21st Century CEO (Source: BCG)

Figure 5: A success algorithm for the 21st Century CEO (Source: BCG)


ANDREW SPENCE – What has the Internet ever done for HR? | SOUMYASANTO SEN – The Next Generation Organisations | THE ECONOMIST – If Companies Had No Employees | VOLKER JACOBS - Artificial Intelligence in HR – FAQs you need to be able to answer | ALEX DEPOLO - The Future of Your HR Team May be No Future at All

Make no doubt the people analytics and wider HR, HR Tech and talent acquisition spaces are rapidly becoming some of the most exciting, innovative and changing areas of business. This collection of articles on the ‘future of work’ theme collectively highlight why. First, in an typically witty piece, Andrew Spence apes Monty Python as he writes about the emergence of Blockchain in the workplace. Then, Soumyasanto Sen provides a quite brilliant description of the next generation organisational models highlighted below in Figure 6. Next, The Economist ponders how far the gig economy can go, before Volker Jacobs provides some helpful answers to the questions he is regularly asked about the use of AI in HR. Finally, Alex DePolo summarises a recent discussion between Jason Averbook and EY’s George Brooks on the ramifications for HR if it doesn’t embrace the changes the function needs to make.


Figure 6:   Next Generation Organisations (Source: Soumyasanto Sen)

Figure 6: Next Generation Organisations (Source: Soumyasanto Sen)


MATT ALDER & GERRY CRISPIN – Recruiting Future #139: Evolution and Revolution | JACOB MORGAN & GUESTS - How The Best Organizations Are Using Data And Analytics To Stay Ahead Of The Competition

A couple of podcasts to listen to on the beach this summer. First, in another superb episode of the consistently excellent Recruiting Future podcast, host Matt Alder speaks to Gerry Crispin (who arguably has more knowledge than anyone on the subject) about the evolution of recruiting. Then Jacob Morgan assembles the best bits of podcasts with the likes of Ben Waber, Jenny Dearborn and Jeremy Welland to highlight how leading organisations are using people analytics for competitive advantage.



MICHAEL ARENA, GREY PRYOR & CHRIS ERNST - In Good Company: Organizational Networks | BILL BOORMAN | SOCIAL TALENT – Algorithmic Anarchy

Two must-watch videos on the subject of data, analytics and networks. First, Adaptive Space (our book of the month for July) author and GM Chief Talent Officer, Michael Arena, Greg Pryor and Chris Ernst are brought together by Workday to talk ONA and its role in innovation, as well as shifts in organisational structures from top-down hierarchies to networks. Secondly, the irrepressible Bill Boorman (who warned us about the tactics of Cambridge Analytica long before the world’s supposed best investigative journalists) talks about the potential dark side of algorithms on the excellent Social Talent webinar.



I’m typing this article from Singapore where I've been hosted for the past few days by Manish Goel, Arun Sundar, Adesh Goel, Priya Bagga and the TrustSphere team. Tonight I'm heading to Melbourne and Sydney, where I’ll be speaking at LinkedIn’s Talent Intelligence Experience events on 14th and 15th August. Thank you Sarah Husbands and the LinkedIn Talent Solutions team for organising this.

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!

14-15 AUG: LinkedIn Talent Intelligence Experience (Sydney)

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

4-5 OCT: People Analytics & Future of Work East (Philadelphia) – use code DG400 for a $400 discount

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 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. Connect with David via his website, on LinkedIn, follow him on Twittersubscribe to his Data Driven HR Newsletter and read his blogs on LinkedIn PulseData Driven HR and UNLEASH.