Data and analytics for more effective organisations

A brief introduction incorporating some of the better resources, perspectives and case studies that I’ve come across.

Good introductory pieces

Undoubtably the best introduction to the space from The Atlantic. The money-ball introduction to people analytics, with a range of examples and case studies. Plain english and a great read. They’re Watching You at Work (Don Peck)

The NYT introduction to workforce science (what they’re calling the intersection of HR and big-data). Big Data, Trying to Build Better Workers (@SteveLohr)

Two related pieces that jump into the practicalities of using talent analytics. The HBR article Competing on Talent Analytics (@tdav @JeanneGHarris and Jeremy Shapiro) and the conference presentation Competing on Talent Analytics (PPT) (Jeremy Shapiro)

As we stand today the market for people analytics is nascent, with “only 14% [of companies] have done any significant “statistical analysis” of employee data at all.” Bersin have possibly the best understanding of where this market is today, and this report is a good summary. Big Data in Human Resources: A World of Haves And Have-Nots (@Josh_Bersin)

And just a note of warning, there are a lot of charlatans out there. As Alex puts it in this post: “the articles and whitepapers I’m reading are describing Workforce Analytics, but claiming to be Big Data.  Some of them go to great lengths to define Big Data in ambiguous and overly-generic terms, so that they can claim to be offering a “Big Data” solution. Are we Jumping the Shark on Big Data for HR? (@AlexHagan)

Case studies

At present, the best examples of a holistic, data informed approach to people comes from Google’s “People Operations” department.

This is a great introduction to the origins of “People Operations” and how they do things at Google. How Google Sold Its Engineers on Management (David A. Garvin)

If you were going to sum up Google’s approach, this quote would be apt: “All people decisions at Google are based on data and analytics… The goal is to “bring the same level of rigor to people-decisions that we do to engineering decisions.” How Google Is Using People Analytics to Completely Reinvent HR (@DrJohnSullivan)

Google case study one: How Google’s “People Operations” team set out to use data to build a better boss. Perhaps most interesting is their finding that technical expertise was the least important of the eight major characteristics of good bosses. Google’s Quest to Build a Better Boss (@nytcorneroffice)

Google case study two: How Google became such a great place to work. A case study in how “People Operations” identified, triaged and fixed a happiness problem across the organisation. The Happiness Machine (@fmanjoo)

This slideshare presentation, from Akshay Raje, Director of the People Team at has a number of great case studies HR / Talent Analytics