The best HR & People Analytics articles of May 2018


Last month I highlighted that people analytics had emerged as the joint top trend in the Deloitte 2018 Global Human Capital Trends report. This signal that people analytics has now properly ‘arrived’ continued to grow in May, first as data featured prominently as part of the superb UNLEASH show in Las Vegas (see my key takeaways article). Further reinforcement also came with the publication of the HR Open Source (#HROS) Future of Work Report which, (as Figure 1 below shows) highlighted that people analytics is now regarded as a foundational capability by HR professionals themselves. This augurs well for data-driven decision making to become the norm within HR.   

   Figure 1   : Key insights from #HROS Future of Work Survey (Source: HR Open Source)

Figure 1: Key insights from #HROS Future of Work Survey (Source: HR Open Source)

Congratulations to Lars Schmidt and Ambrosia Vertesi on the continued growth of #HROS and the value it continues to provide to the community and also to George LaRocque for what is an absorbing report (Download the report here).

Now on with this month’s countdown:

1. PATRICK COOLEN & FRANK VAN DEN BRINK – HR is hitting a second wall

We kick off this month with the latest opus from Patrick Coolen (this time in concert with Frank van den Brink), which showcases the latest developments and thinking on people analytics at ABN Amro. I always enjoy Patrick’s commentary as not only is he one of the leading practitioners in our space, but he typically breaks new ground each time he publishes an article. That is certainly the case with this collaboration with Frank, which introduces the ‘Second wall for People Analytics’ (see Figure 2). This update of John Boudreau’s wall focuses on the challenge of providing continuous analytics and leads in neatly to the main topic of the article – the continuous listening journey at ABN Amro. Frank and Patrick define what ‘continuous listening’ means to the bank, describe the active and passive data sources in scope and then lay out the path ahead in this critical area of employee insight. Laura Stevens gets a deserved mention from Patrick for her contribution to the debate on continuous listening – you can read my recently published article with Laura here.

"In order to really understand what drives the needs and ambitions of our employees we need to improve our ability and willingness to “listen” better"
   Figure 2   : The ‘Second wall for People Analytics’ (Source: Patrick Coolen and Frank van den Brink)

Figure 2: The ‘Second wall for People Analytics’ (Source: Patrick Coolen and Frank van den Brink)

Head over to LinkedIn to read the remaining articles and podcasts in: The best HR & People Analytics articles of May 2018

The Dos and Don'ts of Continuous Listening


This is a joint article with Laura Stevens.

Over the last couple of years, we’ve been increasingly hearing about the concept of Continuous Listening being applied to employees - just as it has long been used by marketing to understand and act upon customer sentiment. A poll by Insight222 of prominent HR and People Analytics leaders even pointed to Continuous Listening as being the #2 topic they most wanted to know more about (Figure 1).

   Figure 1   : Continuous listening is a topic du jour for people analytics and senior HR leaders

Figure 1: Continuous listening is a topic du jour for people analytics and senior HR leaders

Consequently, HR practitioners are starting to tune in as they try to understand the ways of implementing a Continuous Listening program within their own organisations. However, since the practice is still in its nascent stages, there is much confusion not only about the best practices, but the very definition of the concept.

I caught up recently with one of the most prominent experts in the field, Laura Stevens, who is leading the Continuous Listening offering at iNostix by Deloitte, to get her thoughts and tips on the best ways for organisations to move forward with this exciting and powerful topic.



DG: Let’s start with the definition. In one of your latest articles, you elaborated on the contextual framework of the term. What do you think are the most common misconceptions about Continuous Listening?

LS: While Continuous Listening is a rather broad term, it does have certain parameters that it must adhere to in order to deliver sustainable impact and value. I often see organisations simplify the practice and reduce it to the introduction of survey apps or simply increasing the frequency of collecting feedback - without following through with the rest of the parameters.

Similarly, Continuous Listening is still too often approached as a ‘feel-good’ program – disconnected from the core strategic or business objectives. As a result, the program remains below the radar of senior executives. All together, these soft approaches seriously undermine the transformative potential of Continuous Listening programs. That means, the ability of Continuous Listening programs to radically change the way HR has been working: from a soft and process-centric to an evidence-based and employee-centric function.

Head over to LinkedIn to read the remainder of: The Dos and Don'ts of Continuous Listening

The revolution will be televised: six takeaways from UNLEASH America

Las Vegas may be an incongruous setting for the birthplace of a revolution, but when the history of what may well become known as “The Workplace Revolution” is written, the first UNLEASH show in Sin City will likely feature prominently.

The underlying theme of the show was a clarion call for companies to “unleash your people,” and the expertly crafted program, featuring six breakouts plus the Main and Start-Up stages, brought this recipe to the fore.

Every revolution requires a mandate for change, and the ambitious manifesto that emerged from the cavernous Aria Resort & Casino during what was a rambunctious two days featured the following six imperatives for HR to hoist aloft within their organizations.

Bureaucracy Must Die

These were not my words, but rather those of opening keynote Gary Hamel, who got the proceedings off to a uproarious start with a tirade against the folly of bureaucracy and the devastation it wreaks on performance, engagement and productivity. Hamel provided several examples (you can read some here) to support his view that bureaucracy continues to spread its ugly tentacles. This is dangerous because bureaucracy slows organizations down, stifles innovation and has a negative impact on employee well-being. All of these are bad for business, terrible for employees and the exact opposite of what is required in the 21st century. Hamel provided examples of organizations that eschew bureaucracy (e.g. Haier and Morningstar), where decision making is disseminated within the organization and innovation is allowed to flourish.

Hamel’s crusade against bureaucracy is difficult to argue against, and, as when I have heard him speak at UNLEASH shows in Europe before, there weren’t many dissenters in the house. So why are things getting worse rather than better? Perhaps it’s because the vast majority fail to take the fight from the conference floor into their organisations. The battle is not an easy one to win, but if we collect the data and build the case for exorcising bureaucracy, we can build a movement within our companies and act as the agent of change that our companies and our employees so desperately need.

Head over to UNLEASH News to finish reading: The revolution will be televised: Six takeaways from UNLEASH America

The role of Organisational Network Analysis in People Analytics

One of the most exciting trends in people analytics is the rapid growth of Organisational Network Analysis (ONA), which whilst not new is witnessing a resurgence thanks to developments in technology, new ways of working and changing business requirements.

When I meet with people analytics leaders, ONA regularly crops up in the conversation as one of the techniques that they have either already begun to use or plan to deploy within their organisations.

Indeed, research conducted by Insight222 towards the end of 2017 (see Figure 1 below) found that ONA was the analytical technique that people analytics leaders most wanted to learn more about.  

   Figure 1:    Organisational Network Analysis is the technique that HR & People Analytics leaders most want to learn more about (Source: Insight222)

Figure 1: Organisational Network Analysis is the technique that HR & People Analytics leaders most want to learn more about (Source: Insight222)

The role of ONA in people analytics was the topic of my presentation at UNLEASH in Las Vegas on 15 May. The slides I used during my speech are included here. The purpose of this article is to answer the following questions I regularly get asked about ONA:

  • What is ONA?
  • Why is ONA growing in importance?
  • What is ‘Active’ and ‘Passive’ ONA? Which one should we use? Can we use both?
  • What can we use ONA for?
  • What case studies on ONA are available?
  • Where can I find out more about ONA?


If you Google ‘Organisational Network Analysis’, you will uncover a lot of dry and technical descriptions of what ONA is, which are mostly a variation of “Organisational Network Analysis is a structured way to visualise how communications, information and decisions flow through an organisation” (which came from Deloitte).

I prefer Michael Arena’s description in his excellent recent podcast with Al Adamsen, where the Chief Talent Officer of GM defined ONA as providing “a new lens to evaluate how people show up in an organisation.

"ONA provides a new lens to evaluate how people show up  in an organisation"

Similarly, in his article ‘What is ONA?’, Professor Rob Cross, arguably the world’s foremost expert on the subject, explains that “ONA can provide an x-ray into the inner workings of an organisation — a powerful means of making invisible patterns of information flow and collaboration in strategically important groups visible”. In the same article, Cross provides a perfect example to illustrate this viewpoint and how ONA enables you to see what is going on in a company.

   Figure 2    - An example of the insights offered through ONA (Source: Rob Cross)

Figure 2 - An example of the insights offered through ONA (Source: Rob Cross)

The example in Figure 2 is of an ONA project undertaken by Cross with the exploration and production division of a large petroleum organisation. It identifies mid-level managers critical to information flow such as Mitchell, who is the only point of contact between members of the production division and the rest of the network. It also highlights that the Senior Vice President Mares is peripheral to the network and is essentially an untapped and under-utilised resource, whilst the Production team is isolated and separated from the network. None of this is visible from the rickety old org chart.

Head over to LinkedIn to read the remainder of: The role of Organisational Network Analysis in People Analytics

People Analytics in Asia Pacific: Why is it different?

This is a co-authored article with Arun Sundar of TrustSphere.

The recent 2018 Global Human Capital Trends report from Deloitte highlighted the rising importance of people data and analytics to organisations in Asia Pacific. Figure 1 below highlights the top 10 trends in the APAC region, with People Data ranking as the fourth most important trend (it ranked second globally). The study shows that 89% of respondents (the global figure was 85%) believe that people data is important or very important, but that only 38% (42% globally) believe that their organisations are ready or very ready in this category.

  Figure 1: The top 10 trends in the Asia Pacific region highlighted in Deloitte's 2018 Global Human Capital Trends report by importance and readiness (Source: Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends, 2018)

Figure 1: The top 10 trends in the Asia Pacific region highlighted in Deloitte's 2018 Global Human Capital Trends report by importance and readiness (Source: Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends, 2018)


From speaking to people in the HR Analytics community in Asia Pacific, it is clear that the challenges around building and sustaining capability with regards to people analytics are different to those in Europe and North America, and also vary considerably across a region that is home to 65% of the world's population.

This article, which is part of a series focused on people analytics in Asia Pacific that will be published during the course of 2018, explores the main differences. It is equally intended to provide guidance to global organisations with operations in the APAC region as well as Asia Pacific based organisations themselves seeking to capitalise on the many benefits – both to the business and employees – offered by people analytics and a more data-driven approach to HR.


The series of articles is a collaboration with Arun Sundar, Chief Strategy Officer of TrustSphere, who as well as providing an explanation of the differences associated with practicing people analytics in Asia, will also invite comment from other experts in the people analytics community in the region. This article includes contributions from Nick Sutcliffe of The Conference Board, Jayesh Menon, HR Director of Moet Hennessy, Junko Owada of Hitachi and Alexis Saussinan from Merck. Arun and I would like to thank each of you for your invaluable contributions to this article. 

To continue, head over to LinkedIn to read the remainder of People Analytics in Asia: Why is it different?

Three reasons I've joined Insight222 as a board advisor

Truly special opportunities come about maybe once in a lifetime. If you are able to fulfil your passion, work with exceptional people, and contribute to driving real change and progress in your chosen field then you simply must grab such an opportunity with both hands.

This is why I am so thrilled to be invited by Insight222 to become a Non-Executive Director (see announcement by Co-Founder and CEO, Jonathan Ferrar).

Here are three reasons why I took this opportunity:


Insight222’s mission - To put People Analytics, as a discipline, at the centre of Business - aligns directly with my own raison d’être. We simply must make our workplaces more humane. In his new book, ‘Dying for a Paycheck’, Jeffrey Pfeffer, Professor of Organizational Behaviour at Stanford University provides a damning indictment on the 21st century workplace. Pfeffer provides evidence on how  modern management practices propagate stress, diminish engagement, destroy the mental and physical health of employees, and ultimately damage company performance. This is why I believe that people analytics is so important as it can shine a light on the harm the practices highlighted by Pfeffer cause and provide actionable insights that drive organisational performance andemployee experience and wellbeing.


The People Analytics Program is the signature offering of Insight222’s strategy to realise its mission. The program combines tools, research, learning, expertise and consulting, and helps clients (namely Heads of People Analytics and CHROs, as well as HR professionals and practitioners) be successful in bringing increased value to their organisations. What makes Insight222 standout, and what makes it so compelling for me, is that the program is being delivered by people (see image below) who have been people analytics and HR leaders themselves. This means not only does Insight222 have a deep understanding of the challenges faced by people analytics leaders but is also able to design, facilitate and deliver solutions that can help leaders learn, create, explore and ultimately make better decisions and be more influential.  Moreover, advising Insight222 will help me in my mission to play a role in developing the wider people analytics and entire global HR community and profession too.


Networking on its own is not enough. It’s one thing to meet up with your peers a few times a year and exchange a few emails. It’s quite another to actually do work with them. This is what makes Insight222 and The People Analytics Program so unique. Since launching in the second half of 2017, Insight222 has already signed up over 25 member organisations in Europe and North America. Together these represent some of the largest companies and most advanced people analytics teams in the world. Insight222 works with them to harness the collective intelligence in the group, identify common challenges and then facilitates the co-creation of initiatives to meet these needs. For example, the current co-creation project is to develop an Ethics Charter to answer the collective premise of “How might HR build trust that People Analytics work will benefit and not harm our employees, and still ensure business value and impact”.


If you are a people analytics leader and want to find out more about The People Analytics Program, explore the Insight222 website, watch the video below featuring Richard Rosenow(Facebook), Geetanjali Gamel (Merck & Co), Steffen Riesenbeck (Bosch), Michelle Deneau(Intuit) and Josh Bersin and/or get in touch with me at


This article was originally published on LinkedIn on 25th April 2018 - see here

The best HR & People Analytics articles of April 2018

April was a momentous month both personally for me and also, I believe for the field of people analytics too.

From a personal perspective, I left IBM to go out on my own, launched my new website and blog (where the next monthly collection of articles will be published - please feel free to subscribe here) as well as gladly accepted board advisor roles with Insight222 (see here) and TrustSphere (here).

I feel fortunate that these exciting personal developments appear to be timed in parallel with real signs that the field of people analytics is maturing and undergoing rapid growth. Deloitte’s 2018 Global Human Capital Trends survey was published at the beginning of the month and reported that 84 percent of respondents (see Figure 1 below) viewed people analytics as important or very important, making it the second highest ranked trend in terms of importance (a surge from being ranked eighth in 2017).

Deloitte-GHC18_Top10Trends_Importance & Readiness.png

Figure 1The top 10 trends highlighted in Deloitte's 2018 Global Human Capital Trends report by importance and readiness (Source: Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends, 2018)

This sea change in the level of importance attributed to people analytics was also obvious at the People Analytics World conference, I chaired in London in April. As Andrew Marrittwrites in one of the articles below, the focus of the presentations at the conference were centred on the business (and employee) value of people analytics. This shift is a sign that the field is maturing and importantly gaining in confidence as it is only through quantifying business value that the discipline will continue to thrive, gain investment and become a core component not just of HR but of executive decision making.

The progress of the field and its increasing importance to organisations and the future of HR is also reflected in the articles, podcasts and videos I have selected this month, which kicks off deservedly with:


As usual Deloitte’s aforementioned Global Human Capital Trends report is well worth all the hype and anticipation associated with it. The headline finding in the 2018 report is the rapid rise of the social enterprise, which the report defines as reflecting the “growing importance of social capital in shaping an organisation’s purpose, guiding its relationships with stakeholders, and in influencing its ultimate success or failure”. The entire 102 page report is an absorbing read, but the people analytics chapter is particularly fascinating. Titled ‘People data: How far is too far’, the authors describe the rapid growth of the field, the increase in the number and type of data sources being used, and the consequent risk this poses to privacy and data security. The article highlights a potential blind spot (see Figure 2), where whilst organisations are actively managing the risks of using people data around employee perceptions and legal liability, only a quarter are managing the potential impact on their consumer brand. Ethics is arguably the most important part of people analytics and the biggest risk to its progress - the findings in the report only go to reinforce this.

"Organisations are approaching a tipping point around the use of people data, and those that tilt too far could suffer severe employee, customer, and public backlash"
FIGURE 2: When it comes to using people data, organisations are actively managing risks around employee perceptions and legal liability, but only a quarter are managing the potential impact on their consumer brand (Source: Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends)

To read the remaining articles and podcasts in my collection for April, please click on the link here to read it on LinkedIn: The best HR & People Analytics articles of April 2018

New dawn, new day, new life... and I'm feeling good!


Welcome to my new website and blog.

As the article I’ve published today on LinkedIn explains, I’ve left IBM and decided to go out on my own.

It’s exciting, if a little daunting but I’ve always relished a challenge. With no disrespect to IBM, I believe I can make a more considered impact in helping the continued growth of people analytics and the evolution of the HR function unencumbered by the shackles of a large organisation.

This site and blog will provide the fulcrum of my activities henceforth, so please feel free to explore. If you like what you see and would like to receive regular updates on newly published blogs and receive my monthly newsletter, please sign-up here.

For now, I have added a selection of recent articles, so the blog at least has some content that will hopefully provide some stimulation and food for thought.

For those of you who will be at People Analytics World in London this week, which I’ll be chairing for the fourth consecutive year, I’ll see you there.

Thank you for your support to date and I look forward to engaging with you in the future.

David | London | 10th April 2018

The best People Analytics articles of March 2018


The blanket news coverage and general opprobrium following the expose of the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook data breach was a good reminder that ethics and data privacy is arguably the most important part of any analytics program – particularly when it comes to HR and employee data.

With perfect (but albeit fortunate) timing, the role of ethics in people analytics was the subject of my presentation at UNLEASH in London little more than three days after the full extent of Cambridge Analytica’s practices were exposed. My article Don’t Forget the ‘H’ in HR, which highlights research and case studies in this area before outlining recommendations for people analytics teams is hopefully a helpful addition to resources about ethics and people data. Certainly, Tracey Smith’s article 5 Ways to Better Protect Your Confidential Data is well worth a read. 


From UNLEASH in London, I flew to the US to attend the Wharton People Analytics Conference where ethics featured prominently in the program perhaps most notably in DJ Patil’s and Charles Duhigg’s fascinating keynote discussion – more on this in the next few weeks.

Turning to this month’s choice of articles…

1. JEFFREY PFEFFER & DYLAN WALSH - “The Workplace Is Killing People and Nobody Cares”

Kicking off this month’s selection is a powerful interview in Stanford Business with Jeffrey Pfeffer about his new book ‘Dying for a Paycheck’, which provides a damning indictment on how the workplace is literally killing people. Not only do modern management practices engender stress, damage engagement and destroy the mental and physical health of employees, Pfeffer also emphasises the massive harm it causes company performance too. This is why the field of people analytics is so important as done well it can shine a light on the damage the practices outlined by Pfeffer cause organisational performance, team dynamics and individual well-being. One can only hope that business leaders around the world read Pfeffer’s book, heed his warnings, say enough is enough and reverse the damage they are causing.

To read the other articles comprising the Top 10 People Analytics articles of March 2018, please read the full blog on LinkedIn.

Don't forget the 'H' in HR


I believe ethics is the most critical ingredient in people analytics. Those working in the field simply cannot afford to get it wrong. The risk to employee trust and to the reputation of the burgeoning discipline of people analytics is too high.

‘Ethics, Trust and People Analytics’ is the title of my presentation, which will open the Smart Data breakout at UNLEASH in London tomorrow. It is also the subject of this article, which as well as including a copy of my slides, also features recent research by the IBM Smarter Workforce Institute and Insight222.


Research in November 2017 from Insight222 found that 81% of HR people analytics leaders and practitioners reported that their people analytics projects were jeopardised by ethical or privacy concerns (Figure 1).


Head over to LinkedIn to read the rest of Don't Forget the 'H' in HR.

The best People Analytics articles of February 2018


February began in the sun of San Francisco and ended in the snow of the South of England. It’s been a month of contrasts!

As interest in and adoption of people analytics continues to rise and as the discipline continues to broaden and deepen, the range of subjects written on people analytics continues to diversify.

This month’s selection of ten articles and six podcasts covers topics including: new studies on leadership and the future of work, ethics, manager effectiveness, organisational network analysis, the critical role of the analytics translator, wearables and sensors, the role of the people analytics leader and the burgeoning HR technology market amongst many others.

So without further ado, let’s crack on:

1. EVAN SINAR– People Analytics Reversal of Fortunes

Evan Sinar kicks off proceedings this month with his analysis of what at first glance appear to be counterintuitive findings from the Global Leadership Forecast 2018. The study, which is authored by DDI, The Conference Board and EY, highlights 25 findings about the state, context, and future of leadership. One of these findings on people analytics highlights a “stunning regression” from the previous study in 2014/15 with success rates dropping for every area of analytics that was compared. Whilst many organisations are undoubtedly still struggling to realise the full potential of people analytics, I'm inclined to agree with Evan's view that this is "likely a case of the analytics bar rising faster than HR can leap over it". Evan’s article goes on to describe the other findings highlighted in Figure 1 specifically the analytics practices that have the highest impact on bench strength and a financial composite of revenue growth, operating margin, EBITDA, and return on equity, before highlighting the analytics practices that have the highest impact on success.

To read the other articles comprising the Top 10 People Analytics articles of February 2018, please read the full blog on LinkedIn.

The role of the People Analytics leader - Part 2: Creating organisational culture & shaping the future


The Head of People Analytics is absolutely pivotal in determining whether an organisation is able to successfully implement people analytics and create a sustainable long-term culture of data driven HR.

Arun Chidambaram has helped four Fortune 500 companies build sustainable capability in people analytics, and is widely recognised amongst peers as one of leading proponents and visionaries in the field.

In Part 1 (Questions 1-8) of this series, Arun shared his experience on the skills and capabilities you need in a people analytics team, how these evolve over time and the options in how to align the team to the business. Arun also outlined his five-step methodology for undertaking people analytics projects, which many people have since commented how helpful they found it.



In Part 2, Arun and I cover the following areas:

  • Leading the team: An in-depth treatise on the role of the People Analytics leader including typical challenges faced, the skills and capabilities required, and the evolution of the role in line with organisational maturity and a dynamic external environment
  • Developing organisational culture: Ways to make analytics part of HR and organisational DNA
  • Shaping the future: A look at the future of people analytics and some of the developments we can expect to see
  • Ethics and trust: The importance of transparency, ethics and data privacy in People Analytics. 

To read the whole article, please click here to read it on LinkedIn.

Analytics of the people, by the people, for the people


Yes, it’s a slightly grandiose title: it might make a few people smile; it’ll probably make many more sigh. Some may even consider it Lincolnesque(!), but the People Analytics & Future of Work (PAFOW) conference that took place on 1-2 February in San Francisco definitely deserves such a lavish title.

In my three years first attending and now co-chairing PAFOW, the conference has always stood out from the crowd as being the richest for content, shared learning and participative collaboration amongst delegates. That is down to the environment of trust and curiosity that has been created by Al Adamsen and the PAFOW team. The latest edition of PAFOW was the best yet, and every delegate I spoke to during and after the event concurred with that sentiment.

As ever, Al created a panel of speakers that represented a veritable who’s who of the people analytics space and an agenda that ably demonstrated how the field is both broadening and deepening its reach. Whereas in prior years, the focus of people analytics has very much been on creating business value, PAFOW confirmed that the emphasis is now almost as equally on creating value for the employee (hence the ostentatious title of this article!).

It is an exciting time to work in the people analytics space. Interest levels have never been so high, and with Josh Bersin revealing in his speech that 69% of large organisations now have a people analytics team, growth may finally be set to become exponential. As the perfect storm of technology, rising employee expectations and digitisation converge, so the opportunities (and challenges) facing people analytics teams become more substantial.

Figure 1 represents my synopsis of the main opportunities and challenges that were discussed at PAFOW. This is not an exclusive list as many other opportunities and challenges exist in our space, but it does represent a healthy proportion and provides a basis for summarising the key themes that emerged at PAFOW.


Please head over to LinkedIn to read the rest of Analytics of the people, by the people, for the people

Top 10 People Analytics articles of January 2018


2018 has certainly started with a bang. I had the pleasure of being co-chair of the best People Analytics & Future of Work (PAFOW) conference yet last week in San Francisco (write-up to follow next week).

As my co-chair Al Adamsen so presciently outlined in his opening to the conference, people analytics has evolved into its third iteration, whereby value is increasingly being delivered to employees. Subsequent speeches from the likes of RJ MilnorJeremy WellandJonathan Ferrar, Josh Bersin, Charlotte Nagy and Gianpaolo Barozzi reinforced this sentiment.

This demonstrates that people analytics is moving in the right direction and with Bersin by Deloitte’s recent High-Impact People Analytics study finding that 69 per cent of large organisations now have a people analytics team, the growth of the discipline shows no signs of abating.

As the use of people analytics broadens and deepens within organisations so does the amount of literature published on the field. This means that my previous strategy of collecting and curating the best articles on a bi-monthly basis is no longer enough. Henceforth, this series will appear on a monthly basis and not only gather the best articles, but the best podcasts on people analytics too.

So without further ado, here are my favourite 10 articles and 3 podcasts from January on people analytics and its role in both the future of work and the evolution of the HR function:

1. VOLKER JACOBS – The WHAT and HOW of a Digital HR Strategy

One of the reasons that interest in and adoption of people analytics is rising is its integral role in digital HR strategy. Indeed, as Volker Jacobs outlines in this excellent piece, analytics is one of the three key priorities of a digital HR strategy: i) actively manage the customer expectation of the function, ii) develop the organisation from jobs to skills based, and iii) provide people analytics insights. As Volker correctly asserts, digital HR is not simply about digitising what HR has done in the past, but is an opportunity to do things differently (and better). Volker’s model illustrates perfectly the enhancements that are needed to innovate and shift the culture of HR. Data and analytics is fundamental to this shift. This is a must-read for any HR or business leader about to or thinking of embarking on a digital HR strategy.

To read the other articles comprising the Top 10 People Analytics articles of January 2018, please read the full blog on LinkedIn.

People First: What are the key HR trends for 2018?


We’re nearly at the end of January and with the year still in its infancy optimism still abounds with regards to the likely growing impact of HR in 2018. Although as I am typing this in San Francisco in the run up to co-chairing People Analytics & Future of Work, my confidence may just be a case of jet lag combined with wishful thinking. 

So, with a cup brimming full of sanguinity here are some trends I expect to see more of in the HR space in 2018.


Let’s start with what is for me the most welcome and indeed key trend. Soothsayers have long been urging HR to take a leaf out of marketing’s book and it seems that the message is finally getting through. Recognition that creating bespoke and personalised experiences for employees (and candidates) is not only good for workers but the business too is becoming common currency. This represents a radical shift from the typical ‘one-size fits all’ HR programs of the past. Companies like Cisco, IBM, Unilever and Salesforce are already doing this by combining people data with machine learning to provide personalised experiences for employees in areas such as talent acquisition, onboarding, learning and internal mobility. Many more companies are using Chatbots to enrich the employee/candidate experience (as well as to streamline HR operations). Employees expect consumer like experiences at work. Technology coupled with data enables organisations to provide these experiences. Critically the more astute companies and business leaders recognise that improving experience and better understanding employee sentiment leads to better results.

To read the rest of the predicted trends, please click here to read the full article on LinkedIn.

The role of the People Analytics leader - Part 1: Building Capability


As I’ve written before, there are a number of characteristics shared by organisations that have successfully developed and built sustainable capability in people analytics and data driven decision making in HR.

One of the characteristics shared by leading companies is the presence of an inspirational leader – the Head of People Analytics. This article by Jonathan Ferrar, which features in the 40 best HR & People Analytics articles of 2017, captures the ingredients required to be a successful people analytics leader.

A Head of People Analytics who ticks all of the boxes described by Jonathan is Arun Chidambaram, who has been working in the people analytics space for over 15 years. During this time, Arun has helped four Fortune 500 companies build sustainable capability in people analytics.

Arun is deservedly recognised by his peers as one of the leading authorities and visionaries in the space. He is regularly invited to share his insights at conferences as he did last year at People Analytics World in London (see highlights here) and People Analytics & Future of Work in Philadelphia (see pic below and highlights here).

THE ROLE OF THE PEOPLE ANALYTICS LEADER - PART 1: Building the team and growing organisational capability

I’m delighted that Arun agreed to share some of his insights in this two-part series on ‘The role of the People Analytics leader.’ Part 1 that follows covers areas such as:

  • The skills and capabilities required in a people analytics team and how these evolve over time
  • Different options with regards to how the team should be aligned to the business
  • A methodology for undertaking people analytics projects
  • Crucial milestones in developing the maturity of your team
  • Key learnings and tips for success

To continue reading Part 1 of my interview with Arun, please click here to read it on LinkedIn.

The 40 best people analytics articles of 2017


I believe 2017 was a breakthrough year for people analytics. The last 12 months has seen the discipline move from the periphery towards the centre of the HR function.  

This doesn’t mean that people analytics has yet crossed the chasm of widespread adoption. The champagne remains on ice. Nevertheless, the acknowledgement that people analytics is a core component of a digital HR strategy is becoming more widely acknowledged.

Consequently interest levels in analytics continue to soar. The number of conferences on the subject has tripled in the last 18 months. Adoption levels are rising too - albeit at a more sedate trajectory. The penny seems to have dropped with executives too with Josh Bersin recently writing that “CEOs and CHROs now understand that people analytics is a vital part of running a high performing company.”

For the last four years I have collated and published a compendium of the ‘best’ articles of the preceding 12 months – see 20142015 and 2016, and following are my choices for the best 40 articles of 2017.

With a couple of notable exceptions, all of the articles listed are freely available to read. Most of my choices featured in my bi-monthly round-ups, but my human fallibility means that I missed a few gems. I hope I have redressed that here.

Thank you to all the authors included. Collectively, you are helping push the discipline forward through inspiring the growing number of people interested in people analytics and data-driven HR. 

To read the full blog and see the 40 articles that were selected, you can read The 40 best people analytics articles of 2017 on LinkedIn. 

Conferences on people analytics to attend in 2018


When I last collated a list of conferences dedicated to or prominently featuring people analytics in 2016, I found 24 conferences around the world – and I remember at the time being surprised to find that many.

Fast forward two years, with 2018 in its infancy and people analytics accelerating from the periphery to the core of the HR agenda, it seems an appropriate time to provide a new summary of conferences that will take place in 2018. Perhaps a significant indicator of the growth in the interest and adoption of people analytics is the fact that I have found 75+ conferences - over three times as many as I found just 18 months ago.

Having spoken at numerous conferences across the world on people analytics in the last 18 months in cities such as Sydney, Singapore, San Francisco, New York, London, Helsinki, Moscow, Berlin, Paris, Hamburg, Oslo, Stockholm, Philadelphia and Las Vegas, I was actually not surprised to find that the number of conferences had risen to such a high figure. 

The article is split into two halves. First, I have featured the conferences where I am already confirmed to speak in 2018. Then, I have listed in chronological order the 2018 conferences that are either dedicated to people analytics or where the subject prominently features on the agenda.

To continue reading this article on LinkedIn please click here.

The role of people analytics in recruiting

A few months ago I had the privilege of speaking to close to 500 delegates at the Social Recruiting Days conference in Berlin about the role of people analytics in recruiting.

Quadriga, the conference organisers recorded my speech and have now made it available. You can watch it by clicking on the image below. 

To read the rest of this article and access the slides I used at the conference, please click here.