Power of People, The: Learn How Successful Organizations Use Workforce Analytics To Improve Business Performance

Nigel Guenole / Jonathan Ferrar / Sheri Feinzig  
Total pages
May 2017
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Power of People, The: Learn How Successful Organizations Use Workforce Analytics To Improve Business Performance
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Learn from Today’s Most Successful Workforce Analytics Leaders

Transforming the immense potential of workforce analytics into reality isn’t easy. Pioneering practitioners have learned crucial lessons that can help you succeed. The Power of People shares their journeys—and their indispensable insights.

Drawing on incisive case studies and vignettes, three experts help you bring purpose and clarity to any workforce analytics project, with robust research design and analysis to get reliable insights. They reveal where to start, where to find stakeholder support, and how to earn “quick wins” to build upon.

You’ll learn how to sustain success through best-practice data management, technology usage, partnering, and skill building. Finally, you’ll discover how to earn even more value by establishing an analytical mindset throughout HR, and building two key skills: storytelling and visualization.

The Power of People will be invaluable to HR executives establishing or leading analytics functions; HR professionals planning analytics projects; and any business executive who wants more value from HR.

Table of Contents

Foreword by John Boudreau   xv
About the Authors   xix
Interviewees   xxi
Vignettes   xxv
Preface   xxvii
Chapter 1  Why Workforce Analytics?   3
Adoption of Analytics   4
HR’s Contribution to Business Value   4
The Changing Nature of HR   7
The Future of Work   11
Summary   13
Chapter 2  What’s in a Name?   15
Focus of the Function   16
Activities of the Function   17
A Name Fit for the Future   18
Summary   18
Chapter 3  The Workforce Analytics Leader   19
Reporting to the Chief Human Resources Officer   20
Responsibilities of the Workforce Analytics Leader   20
Business Acumen   22
Leadership Attributes   23
Summary   26
Chapter 4  Purposeful Analytics   27
A Model for Purposeful Analytics   28
Project Sponsors   38
Why Do Analytics Projects Fail?   40
Summary   42
Chapter 5  Basics of Data Analysis   43
Research Design   44
Objectives of Analysis   47
Unstructured Data   52
Traditional Statistics versus Machine Learning   53
Social Consequences of Algorithms   54
More on Design and Analysis   56
Summary   56
Chapter 6  Case Studies   57
Eight-Step Methodology   58
Case Study: Improving Careers Through Retention Analytics at Nielsen   59
Case Study: From Employee Engagement to Profitability at ISS Group   65
Case Study: Growing Sales Using Workforce Analytics at Rentokil Initial   71
Case Study: Increasing Value to the Taxpayer at the Metropolitan Police   76
Case Study: Predictive Analytics Improves Employee Well-Being at Westpac   80
Summary   83

Chapter 7  Set Your Direction 87

You Have the Job! Now What?   88
Listening to Prospective Project Sponsors   90
The Seven Forces of Demand   91
Agreeing on the Scope of Analytics   95
Developing a Vision and Mission Statement   95
Summary   97
Chapter 8  Engage with Stakeholders   99
Who Are Stakeholders?   100
Stakeholders Served   101
Stakeholders Depended Upon   106
Stakeholders Impacted   113
Working Effectively with Stakeholders   118
Summary   121
Chapter 9  Get a Quick Win   123
Identifying Potential Projects   125
Complexity-Impact Matrix   125
Assessing Complexity and Impact   129
Summary   133

Chapter 10  Know Your Data   137

A Pragmatic View of Data   138
Solving Data Quality Challenges   138
Data Types and Sources   147
Data Governance   152
Remember the Basics   152
Summary   155
Chapter 11  Know Your Technology   157
Starting with Vision and Mission   158
Components of Workforce Analytics Technology   159
On-Premise Versus Cloud   164
Technology Vendor Relationships   165
Summary   167
Chapter 12  Build the Analytics Team   169
Six Skills for Success   170
Configuring Team Roles   181
Remember the Fundamentals!   184
Summary   185
Chapter 13  Partner for Skills   187
Why Consider Partners?   188
Options for Building the Team   188
Choosing Among the Options   197
Summary   200
Chapter 14  Establish an Operating Model   203
Defining Your Operating Model   204
Strategy   205
Governance   205
Implementation   212
Accountability   221
Summary   224

Chapter 15  Enable Analytical Thinking   227

Perspectives of Analytics in HR   228
The Translator Role   234
The Importance of Leadership   236
Summary   237
Chapter 16  Overcome Resistance   239
Resistance to Workforce Analytics   240
Stakeholder Skepticism   240
Financial Frugality   245
HR Hesitancy   246
Summary   252
Chapter 17  Communicate with Storytelling and Visualization   253
What Is Storytelling?   254
Effective Visualization   263
Knowing Your Audience   269
Keeping It Simple   273
Summary   275
Chapter 18  The Road Ahead   277
Analytics Provides New Opportunities for HR   278
Emerging Data Sources   278
Considering New Data Sources   280
Evolving Technology   282
The Workforce Analytics Function   283
Summary   286
Glossary   287
References   295
Index   301


Nigel Guenole is an executive consultant with IBM, where he consults with many of the world’s most successful organizations about improving organizational performance with psychological science. He is also Director of Research at the Institute of Management at Goldsmiths, University of London. Nigel’s consulting, research, and teaching focus on topics in industrial-organizational psychology and statistical modeling. He is an associate fellow of the British Psychological Society (BPS), a member of the Academy of Management (AOM), and a member of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP). His work on topics related to workforce analytics has been featured in the media and popular press, as well as in numerous scientific journals, including Frontiers in Quantitative Psychology & Measurement and Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice.

Jonathan Ferrar is a respected consultant, speaker, and influencer in HR strategy, workforce analytics, and the future of work. He advises clients on how to establish human resources strategies that will improve business performance and make HR more relevant. He was listed as one of the global Top 50 HR Analytics Influencers on LinkedIn in 2014 and as one of the 15 HR and People Analytics Experts to Follow for 2017 by Jibe. Before he started his own consultancy business, Jonathan worked for more than 25 years in corporate business in IBM, Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), and Lloyds Bank, for many of those years in senior executive management roles in both the United Kingdom and the United States. Jonathan has worked with C-suite clients and business leaders across the globe on human resources management and workforce analytics. He holds a bachelor of arts degree and a master of arts degree from the University of Cambridge and a postgraduate diploma in human resources management from Kingston Business School. He is a Chartered Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (Chartered FCIPD).

Sheri Feinzig is a director at IBM, where she leads a global team of consultants, content development experts, and the Smarter Workforce Institute. Sheri has more than 20 years of experience in human resources research, organizational change management, and business transformation. She has applied her analytical and methodological expertise to numerous research-based projects on topics such as employee retention, employee engagement, performance feedback, social network analysis, and organizational culture. Sheri received her Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from the University at Albany, State University of New York. She has presented on numerous occasions at national conferences and has coauthored a number of publications and white papers. She has served as an adjunct professor in the psychology departments of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, and the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois, where she taught doctoral, masters, and undergraduate courses on performance appraisal, tests, and measures. Sheri is a member of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP).

Reader Review(s)

The Power of People provides an exceptional primer for doing workforce analytics. It includes wonderful insights from thought leaders, and specific and usable tools for performing analytics.”
—Dave Ulrich, Rensis Likert Professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, and Partner of The RBL Group

“Data analytics is a crucial and fast evolving organisational capability. This intriguing and fascinating book demonstrates not only the power of people analytics, but also creates a clear blueprint for building action-taking capability. A must read for any manager determined to add this valuable skill to their portfolio.”
—Lynda Gratton, Professor of Management Practice, London Business School

“Trusting your gut on people issues turns out to be a bad idea. Analytics on your workforce is the most rapidly growing field of analytics. The Power of People is an excellent guide to this important and burgeoning topic.”
—Thomas H. Davenport, Distinguished Professor, Babson College, and Research Fellow, MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy

“I believe you will find, like I did, that the frameworks and insights in The Power of People offer valuable steps toward realizing the potential of your workforce to create sustainable strategic success.”
—Dr. John Boudreau, Professor, Marshall School of Business; and Research Director, Center for Effective Organizations, University of Southern California

“This is quite an exceptional book. Extremely well-researched, it constitutes essential reading for those involved in the burgeoning field of Big Data, giving first-rate advice on good practices for all those involved in Workforce Analytics.”
—Professor Peter Saville, Chairman 10X Psychology and Founder SHL and Saville Consulting

“To build an extraordinary workplace, you need to harness the power of analytics. The Power of People provides a comprehensive look at latest research, offering best practices for leveraging the wealth of data now within our reach. If you want to master HR, you need to read this book.”
—Ron Friedman, Author of “The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace”

“Today’s business executives are applying pressure to all aspects of their business (including HR and workforce areas) to use analytics to improve their bottom line. Despite this pressure there remain few resources for those looking to begin. The Power of People is an excellent primer providing definition and guidance for identifying, framing, and successfully deploying analytics solutions to solve workforce challenges.”
—Greta Roberts, CEO Talent Analytics, Corp.

“We are barreling along toward the collision between Big Data, Analytics, and the successful acquisition, development, and retention of people in our organizations. The Power of People gives data-led comfort and practical guidance to business leaders that shows we not only can survive the collision, we can harness its potential and emerge with a stronger workforce that is motivated for business and personal success.”
—China Gorman, Board Chair, Universum Americas

“Finally! An authoritative, thoroughly researched, clearly written book to help HR professionals be more data-driven. This volume discusses everything you always wanted to know about workforce analytics but were afraid to ask, with answers from top practitioners in the field.”
—Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Professor of Business Psychology (UCL and Columbia University), CEO of Hogan Assessments, and author of The Talent Delusion

“Today Workforce Analytics is an emerging discipline which, in a few years’ time, will become mainstream. The Power of People is exceptionally practical and inspiring— essential reading for those executives willing to take on the challenge of transforming their organisations. By leveraging the authors’ as well as other leaders’ extensive experience, this book is a true compendium for those wishing to navigate their transformation.”
—Manish Goel, CEO TrustSphere

The Power of People is a great book for those who want to build, refine, or fundamentally improve their HR Analytics offering. The authors have clearly undertaken some extensive research and are drawing on the experience of a wide range of people analytics experts. As a result, their book is full of great advice and can be considered a really good guide for those wanting to realise the full potential of workforce analytics in their organisation.”
—Dr. Martin Edwards, Kings College London Business School

“Listening to what employees tell us and acting on it distinguishes ‘average HR’ from ‘HR excellence.’ New analytical capabilities mean we can discern what people are telling us by their actions rather than what they say they would do. The Power of People is an excellent book describing how to harness organizational capabilities using workforce analytics to predict what workers are most likely to do in the future and therefore how to impact business outcomes.”
—Alan Wild, Vice President Human Resources; Employee Relations and Engagement, IBM