Gareth Jones: A Look Ahead to People Analytics World

Next week will see me attending People Analytics World on 25 & 26 April, at the QEII Conference Centre, in the shadow of Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. This will be my first visit to People Analytics World, and I must say I'm really looking forward to it. It comes highly recommended by the current chair David Green. If you don't know David, I highly recommend you look him up, and read some of his insight from the world of analytics. He is incredibly knowledgeable at one of the best curators of content and case studies in this field.


The program actually starts the day before, on the 24th, with a full day workshop run by Cole Nussbaumer, previously People Analytics Manager at Google HQ - High Impact Visualisation - Telling Stories With Data. As someone who spends their life immersed in data I can say with confidence that having data is one thing; bringing it to life and deriving true, actionable insights from it is another, so this workshop promises to be incredibly useful. If you can’t make the workshop, you can still see Cole do a 40min session at 13.40 on Day One of the conference.



The conference programme is divided into three tracks: Strategy, Action and Future. The only challenge will be choosing which to follow. You can see and download the agenda here. Rather handily, the sessions are categorised by the complexity and analytics maturity level that they are aimed at: Early, Medium, Advanced and All. This should give you a good steer on where to invest your time to get the maximum return.


Day One kicks off with a keynote from Dr Alex Levenson, from the Center for Effective Organizations, University of Southern California, who will be sharing his model which promises to help you address “any pressing business or talent issue”. And you don't need a degree in advanced statistics to implement it. Coming from an academic that's a big claim!


In the Strategy track, Brydie Lear, Global Head of HR Intelligence and Analytics talks about her 4 year analytics journey. Which sounds about right. When Josh Bersin first started talking about the journey to predictive analytics a few years ago, he made it clear that there were no short cuts. I'm really interested to hear about Brydie's journey and if this holds true to what Josh says.


Meanwhile in the Action track, Stefan Hierl, Director of People Analytics at Adidas, will be talking about how they are applying the same analytics techniques in HR that their colleagues have been using in marketing and customer experience, and using it to better understand and deliver the Employee Experience.



This has been a long time coming, and a missed opportunity so far for the HR and People function in general. I’m really excited to see how they have brought this to life within Adidas and the impact it has had.


I'm also particularly interested to see what is happening in real time analytics around conversations and culture. For organisations that are large enough, the “traffic” of dialogue provides a rich source of insight, either through sentiment analysis, network analysis or both. I am curious to see if anyone is playing with profiling, and layering this with other data sources, something that I'm personally playing with at the moment. I notice Kevin Moore from Gannett / USA Today is talking about predicting sales performance, a subject close to my heart, so that is one session I won’t be missing.


Randy Knaflic, VP HR and Internal Operations at Jawbone, kicks off Day Two with an attention-grabbing keynote entitled: Crazy Scary People Data: Harnessing The Potential of Your Most Interesting Data. Randy promises that we will be both scared and excited by this keynote – another bold claim, let's hope he lives up to it!


Another highlight from Day Two, for me, include the Deloitte session led by James Allen and Ben Barty. There's a lot to be said for learning from others’ mistakes, and in their session - Embedding and Sustaining an Analytics-Driven Culture - they promise to include a number of examples where things didn't go to plan. A useful session for those about to embark on building an analytics function. I shall also be taking a front row seat for Franc Damhuis' session from Phillips - Identifying Employee Traits/Behaviours that Impact the Performance of the Business. There are still precious few organisations that are correlating behaviours and traits with financial outcomes, so this promises to be a particularly interesting session.

The conference schedule ends on the subject that is likely to dominate the world of analytics for both end-user organisations and venders alike - Data Privacy and Consent. A panel of some of the speakers from the previous two days will discuss the thorny questions surrounding data ownership and access, including the ethics around using employee data - emails, social profiles etc - to power decision-making. A great way to wrap up the two days.


Overall, this promises to be a cracking two days of content and networking with some of the leading thinkers in People Analytics today. I look forward to meeting the speakers and sharing my own views via social media during the conference. And of course, meeting many of you too!


If you haven’t already registered, click here to explore the event, download the agenda and book your place. You can get a 20% discount if you use the coupon GJ20 – don’t miss out on this!