Continuous Feedback is not Enough. 3 Shifts for Performance Management

For the past few years, we’ve been hearing a scream of despair from the corporate world on the undelivered promise of performance management. With increased attention to the employee experience and higher investment on measuring HR impact, it has become even more evident how broken the system is.

While the ongoing discussions all focus on the necessary shift from formal review-based approach to a continuous feedback culture, some research has revealed that it is not that simple. A comprehensive analysis has suggested that only a third of the times feedback is leading higher performance, and sometimes it even decreases it.

As such, this article intends to share some insights on why the traditional approach is not working and what can be done to improve results. Of course, there won’t be a “one-size fits all” magical solution, as it will always depend on the context of each organization. In any case, there is already some evidence-based insights that we can rely on to make meaningful changes on our PM approaches.

Why is the old PM system broken?

While the traditional PM system has both administrative (compensation, promotions, legal..) and developmental intentions, it has been mostly focused on the first and it has been defined in a foundation of mistrust and faulty assumptions.

Foundation of Mistrust: an illusion that monitorization and control increase performance is still present, but these current approaches often undermine the very behaviors that lead to high performance, preventing honest conversations, creating conflicts, negative emotions and even incentivize manipulations of the evaluation process. In fact, the factors that truly have an impact are not rules and processes, but healthy relationships that foster communication and trust.

Faulty Assumptions: the system characteristics have also been based on several faulty assumptions. Here are 3 demystifications that most of us may not have been aware:

1. Most employees believe they are above-average performers, which is obviously not true but it leads to a decreased motivation and perceptions of unfairness for most employees who will be labeled just as average;

2. Backward-looking evaluations put people on the defensive, sometimes leading to decreased motivation and performance;

3. Most performance ratings are not accurate reflections of objective performance due to biases and conflicting interests of managers. Truth is, studies have found that the correlation between individual performance ratings and business unit performance is zero.

 What should we do instead?

Given this information, many organizations may feel tempted to quit performance management altogether. However, there are methods that lead to important results and should be considered. During my exploration of the evidence available, I have identified 3 main important shifts:

  • Flexible Goal Setting
  • Continuous Feedback Culture with Forward Looking-Coaching
  • Reducing the Formal Process Burden.

1. Flexible Goal Setting

Goals are important as they improve focus and inspire action, but they lead to better performance when they are specific, challenging, personally meaningful and within the individual’s control to achieve.

Conducting Flexible Goal-Setting: It has become essential for organizations to adapt to changes as they occur, and that requires moving away from the cascading year-based goals to a trusting approach. A good case study worth exploring is Google and their OKR(objectives and key results) method. In any case, there is good practices to guarantee effective performance goals as you can see on the following image from a SHRM reportwhich I believe makes a good summary:

Strengthening Goal Commitment: research has also found that goal commitment can be increased in several ways including having people make a public commitment to the goal, increasing self-efficacy, and increasing the attractiveness of outcomes associated with goal attainment (e.g., by communicating a compelling vision, or changing employees’ perceptions concerning the consequences of attaining or not attaining the goal). Developing a growth mindset may also be important on the face of failure and for persistence to goal attainment. Research indicates that the belief that ability is malleable can be enhanced by telling people that their skills can be developed via practice and by praising effort (rather than ability) following successful performance.

2. Continuous Feedback Culture with Forward-Looking Coaching

Delivering Effective Feedback: Feedback not always improve performance. It depends on the feedback content, how it is delivered, who delivers it and how it is received. It has been found that the most effective feedback is timely, specific with examples and focused on task-related behaviors rather than on personal characteristics. It is also important that it is delivered by a source who is credible for the recipient and providing it showing the intent of helping the individual improve and learn rather than transmitting judgment.

- Delivering Forward Looking Coaching: However, coaching has showed to deliver consistent good results and it may be the best context to deliver feedback. It is two-way and involves working collaboratively to understand barriers to success and to develop strategies to overcome them. It intends to help the individual to solve his or her own problems. Since feedback raises awareness, but is not the end goal of the conversation, coaching that allows for a forward-looking reflection will have a higher impact in driving action. A very good concrete example by a CEB report showed the difference:

Traditional Feedback: “At the last staff meeting, you did a nice job of setting the agenda and kicking things off. However, you didn’t engage the quieter members of the group, and you let Sam dominate the conversation.”

Teachable Moment/Coaching Context: “Let’s discuss how that meeting went. What did you think went well? I agree the agenda was very clear—any lessons learned that will help you continue this habit in future? What would you do differently next time? I agree Sam seemed to dominate the conversation. What techniques will you try next time to keep things more balanced?”

-Creating a Feedback Environment: A third important factor to consider is that feedback is not solely responsibility of the managers, neither it can be, in a world where self-managed and project-based teams is on the rise. Feedback-seeking by the employees is as important action to guarantee the intended results. Therefore, a feedback environment that is supportive instead of been viewed as a sign of insecurity should be incentivized by organizations.

3. Reducing the Formal Process Burden

Keeping the ratings or not is a whole debate that could and should be kept for a next whole article. In any case, organizations that decide to keep ratings have some options to start reducing the strain given by the formal process:

- Reduce or eliminate documentation. Accept that we don’t need to control all details or get a software that makes it easy to insert quick information;

- Eliminate self-assessments: their impact is inconsistent and is one more step to go through that can create conflict;

- Don’t make a forced normal distribution: Performance is frequently skewed, with most employees clustering tightly together at the low end, with about 20% of the population outperforming their peers by several orders of magnitude. Therefore, organization are better simplifying their scales to few clusters that differentiate 3 types of performers: Employees who are not meeting standards and need development; Employees who are doing an adequate job and should receive rewards (majority); The top performers who should receive the highest rewards.


An important thing to keep in mind is that PM is a sensitive issue. Ineffective performance management systems have the potential to waste time and money, damage relationships, decrease motivation and job satisfaction, and increase employee turnover. So, don’t take it lightly and explore evidence-based insights that can help you improve your organization.

If you want a real-life example of a company who has successfully implemented a feedback and coaching culture without keeping the formal reviews, check out Adobe’s website full of resources free to use.

However, many organizations have also put these practices in place in some form but found that poor implementation has undermined their effectiveness. Have you decided you need to reformulate your PM approach but are not sure where to start? For a next article I’ll go deeper in the importance of making the implementation right, and how you should go about it.


About the author: Diana Oliveira has been focused on matters as employee experience and organizational performance for the past 3 years. She has created the event Employee Experience Bootcamp where more than 100 companies have participated, collaborated in a consulting company in Germany and is currently conducting research in informal performance management and feedback at ISCTE-IUL in Lisbon. Feel free to reach out: diana_oliveira@iscte-iul.pt

How Adobe retired performance reviews and inspired great performance

Click on the links and see what great resources Adobe have shared in relation to their "Check In' process

The story of Check-in.

The story of Check-in
In 2012, Adobe’s then Senior Vice President of People Resources, Donna Morris, was feeling frustrated with annual performance reviews. The process was so complex, bureaucratic, and paperwork-heavy that it ate up thousands of hours of managers’ time. It also created barriers to teamwork and innovation, since the experience of being rated and stack-ranked for compensation left many employees feeling undervalued and uninspired.
Donna was mulling the issue on a visit to one of Adobe’s India offices when a reporter asked her what was new or innovative in human resources. Even though she hadn’t yet discussed the idea with Adobe’s CEO, her peers on the leadership team, or her own team, she announced, “We plan to abolish the performance review format.” Her revelation made the front page of the Economic Times of India, and a major disruption was underway. She headed back to the U.S. determined to catalyze change and help create something better for Adobe employees and the company as a whole.
Donna and her team solicited feedback from all across the company, and after months of work and many iterations, Adobe introduced Check-in, an informal, ongoing dialogue between managers and their direct reports that has employees feeling more engaged and empowered.
See Donna's full keynote from the SABA WW2015 event.

Adobe performance management, then and now.

Tools and resources

Turning Your Culture Into a Design Culture

Design is very easy to comprehend when you are building customer-centric products or services. Heck, it makes total sense to start from the customer perspective and to use the multitude of design thinking techniques to identify, validate, value and prioritize customers’ most important needs.  We got Personas, Journey Maps, Storyboards, Prototypes, Mockups, Canvases and such to help us intimately understand our customers, their environments and what it is they are trying to accomplish.  We take them through the facilitated “Diverge to Converge” process to ensure that we have a holistic view of their requirements.

But I have even something bigger in mind for Design Thinking. Instead of just using design to build customer-centric products and services, how about using design to create a customer-centric mindset to enable an organization’s digital transformation? And how do we integrate design into the everyday processes of the organization to support that customer-centric digital transformation?

One of the challenges with digital transformation is ensuring that everyone in the organization understands how their role and tasks tie directly to the organization’s digital transformation.  My colleague John Morley and I are on a mission – to leverage design thinking to change an organization’s culture in support of its digital transformation. 

And what’s more fundamental to an organization’s operations than meetings, an activity that most organizations do poorly and everyone hates.

Want To Change The Culture?  Let’s Start with Meetings!

Let’s face it, most meetings suck.  They are boring, loosely structured and usually a waste of time for all the participants except the organizer.  We invite the wrong folks, forget the right folks, don’t properly prepare the attendees for the meeting and usually walk out with a poorly understood set of action items. Yea, meetings suck.

Check out these meeting factoids from the site“The Curse of the One-Hour Meeting”:

“Every day in the U.S., there’s an average of 11 million meetings taking place. The average office employee spends over five hours each week sitting in meetings and over four hours preparing for them. That’s more than an entire working day devoted to meetings. Managers fare even worse, logging an average of 12 to 14 hours a week in meetings. Sources tell us it’s only getting worse, with meeting frequency increasing year over year.”

Here are some sample quotes about meetings from a number of sources including the articles “The 16 types of meeting that get work done” “Where The Action Is” by  J. Elise Keith:

  • “People don’t take meetings seriously.  They arrive late, they leave early and they spend most of their time doodling.”
  • “People wander off topic! Participants spend more time digressing than discussing.”
  • “Nothing happens once the meeting ends.  People don’t convert decisions into action.”
  • “People don’t tell the truth! There’s plenty of conversation but not much candor.”
  • “Meetings are always missing important information – so they postpone critical decisions.”
  • “Meetings never get better.  People just make the same mistakes again and again.”
  • “Make a decision!  Move faster!  Analysis Paralysis!”
  • “Our meetings are like something out of the ‘The Office’” (that’s actually my quote)

So if you want to change a company’s culture and improve the odds of a successful digital transformation journey, let’s start by applying Design Thinking to the most fundamental of company activities – meetings.

Introducing the Meeting Development Canvas

John Morley and I collaborated to see how we could use the Stratgyzer.com Business Model canvasconcept to make meetings more effective and productive; to ensure that each meeting participant understands how the meeting ties back to the organization’s key initiatives (see Figure 1). 

Figure 1:  Meeting Development Canvas

Let’s review each of the panels on the Meeting Development Canvas:

1.    Purpose of Meeting: There should be one primary purpose for each meeting that satisfies and aligns the objectives of the Stakeholders. The meeting can seek to satisfy multiple objectives that support that one Purpose. The meeting should nothave more than one Purpose.

2.    Stakeholder Requirements:  A meeting can have multiple stakeholders. The meeting Purpose should aim to enable the Stakeholder objectives  It is essential to understand:

  • The ‘jobs’ they are trying to do (their objectives)
  • The challenges they face in doing them
  • The benefits accrued by overcoming the challenges.

3.    How To Enable Stakeholders: How will this meeting enable the Stakeholders’ objectives (at a high level)?

4.    Work Phase & Relationship:  Describe what phase of the relationship you are at with the stakeholders – Beginning, Mid-way, Nearing Conclusion – with respect to the purpose of the meeting. This means that there may be an orchestrated series of meetings necessary for the successful execution of meeting purpose and the gathering of stakeholder requirements.

5.    Decisions & Outcomes: What specific decisions and desired outcomes do we need to achieve from this Meeting in order to satisfy the Stakeholder Objectives (outlined in “Stakeholder Requirements”) and deliver on the Purpose of the meeting?

6.    Our Ask:  What are the specific “Asks” of the stakeholders by the meeting organizer? 

7.    Key Activities:  What Key Activities will we need to undertake to deliver the decisions and the desired meeting outcomes?  These Activities may arise from the ‘Ask’ of Stakeholders in the meeting.

8.    Key Resources:  What Resources (existing & additional) are going to be required to support the Activities outlined in panel #7?

9.    Partners:  With whom will we partner (Internal and/or External) in order to fulfill the key activities or supply Resources that deliver on the Stakeholders’ objectives?

10.  Action Items: What are the specific Action Items arising from this meeting?  They should satisfy:

  • The stakeholders’ requirements
  • Support the meeting purpose 

11.  Alignment to Corporate Objectives:  Specifically, how does the meeting Purpose and Outcomes satisfy the Organization’s strategic initiatives?  

The last point may be the most important panel in the Meeting Development Canvas.  If there is not a clear linkage between the meeting and the organization’s strategic initiatives, then why are you having a meeting, or more importantly, how can you tweak the meeting to more closely align with the organization’s strategic initiatives?

Also, an important part of the Meeting Development Canvas is how much work needs to be done prior to the meeting, especially key meetings where there are specific Asks.  This means that the organizer likely needs to talk to communicate to the participants the meeting purpose and objectives, and capture beforehand the participants’ requirements.  Half the battle is won before the meeting even begins!


The McKinsey article titled “The Business Value of Design” provides numerous factoids to support their proposition that organizations that adopt design are more successful and effective (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Organizations that Embrace Deliver Better Financial and Shareholder Value

While the Meeting Development Canvas is not likely used for all meetings, it should certainly be used for any meetings where there are specific asks of the different participants, and especially if there might be conflict between the requirements of the different stakeholders.

Conflicts within organizations are not a bad thing; it is almost certainly to happen in organizations where team members have a high degree of ownership for their work.  The Meeting Development Canvas isn’t designed to gloss over these conflicts, but is designed to provide a forum and process for the resolution of those conflicts.

Now, isn’t that a great way to start changing and aligning the culture of the organization?  Yea baby, that’s the real power of design!

How to run a successful People Analytics project

One of the most common questions that I hear from People Analytics professionals is “how can i make sure my people analytics project is successful?” Take a look at this short clip from the online training course Introduction to People Analytics where I share an eight-step framework on the critical steps in running a successful People Analytics project, making sure that you always start with the Business problem. More information on the eight step model can also be found below.

The Eight Step Model for Purposeful Analytics

 The Eight Step Model for Purposeful Analytics from The Power of People (Pearson 2017)


Step #1 - Frame Business Questions

In essence, know why you are undertaking the specific analytics exercise. Or, in other words: "What is the business reason?" This step must come first to avoid undertaking the wrong analysis and also to give the project the best chance of success. A clearly framed and well-defined business question ensures that the analytics work is actually necessary.

Step #2 - Build Hypotheses

Building and clarifying a hypothesis is important for “testing” beliefs about the causes of business issues. Strong hypotheses should guide the data gathering and analysis phases in a way that links to business questions. Formulating hypotheses in advance helps guard against reaching conclusions based on observed relationships in your data that result from chance instead of genuine underlying relationships.

Step #3 - Gather Data

The data gathering step requires identifying the most relevant data for testing the hypotheses and determining whether data quality is sufficient to proceed. Decisions need to be made about whether to gather existing data, collect new data, or do both.

Please note that this step is Step 3 -- NOT Step 1. Too often we found that people wanted to start their workforce analytics with gathering data and analysing it without first asking 'why'. This wonderful quote from Josh Bersin, perfectly illustrates why you should always start with 'why':

"After a recent speech, an attendee came up to me and said, ‘I can predict attrition for my firm to 92 percent accuracy.’ I said, ‘Wow! That’s great. Is attrition a problem for your firm?’ And she said, ‘No, not really.’"

Step #4 - Conduct Analyses

This is where the methodology and statistics are applied to data to test the hypotheses and provide the basis for insights. Without this step, the fundamental building blocks of any analytics project simply do not exist; without performing analysis, patterns in data will never be discovered.

Step #5 - Reveal Insights

Workforce analysts must uncover insights for two main reasons. First, analysts cannot assume that project sponsors and stakeholders are able to derive the most pertinent insights themselves. The second reason is more subtle: If analysts present only data and analysis without insights, executives and project sponsors might draw their own conclusions to best fit their preconceptions.

Step #6 - Determine Recommendations

Analytics projects are all about helping the business improve its performance, so although insights are interesting, only recommendations will help improve the business. Recommendations are what business leaders and, in this case, project sponsors need. A well-articulated recommendation makes a great impetus for change. Some analytics projects fail at this stage simply because recommendations are not expressed clearly.

Step #7 - Get Your Point Across

All analytics projects have a moment of truth. This often happens as you communicate the outcomes of the project to the sponsor or other stakeholders, to get your point across. This is the moment when you are able to inform decision making. Experienced practitioners and leaders use storytelling and carefully consider their visualisations to create the desired impact for their message.

Step #8 - Implement And Evaluate

The implementation and evaluation step has three discrete aims. First, it ensures that decisions are made as a result of your project. Second, it formulates actions for implementation based on those decisions. Finally, it facilitates evaluating the project against whether it returned value to the organisation.


The Eight Step Model for Purposeful Analytics has been developed to help workforce analytics practitioners, HR professionals and leaders be successful in their endeavours. With the research we undertook, we have found that projects are most successful when all eight steps are taken in this sequence.

Please note that The Eight Step Model for Purposeful Analytics is a copyright of the authors of the book, The Power of People: Nigel Guenole, Jonathan Ferrar and Sheri Feinzig


Jonathan Ferrar is the CEO and co-founder of Insight222. He is a globally respected speaker, author and business adviser in HR strategy, workforce analytics, and the future of work. Jonathan has worked in corporate business for 25+ years for companies like Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), Lloyds Bank, and IBM where he served as executive manager for 10+ years. He is a keynote speaker, co-author of The Power of People, and Board Member of the CIPD.

Digital Transformation: The Why, What & How For Transformational Leaders…

Setting The Scene: The Digital Leader

As the 4iR digital revolution increasingly fuses the virtual world with the real world, businesses are changing right before our very eyes. Yet despite this eye-popping metamorphosis, many ‘leaders’ are still stuck in old-school ways risking commercial extinction. These people are possibly better described as ‘people in authority’ because they too often do not lead.

The digital agenda is fundamentally about people. The execution of a successful digital agenda starts with a mind-set shift that places a heightened emphasis on people and social systems to effect positive and sustainable change. Put simply digital transformation needs transformational leaders.

While some fear the digital future leading to an Orwellian-like dystopia where people are replaced by robotics, artificial intelligence and automation – the visionary leaders that I have had the privilege of working with are excited by the digital opportunities to augment and amplify the human condition. Furthermore, they understand that information technology is not the solution alone – instead, they think about the purpose, power and politics that go with the new technologies. Put simply they understand that the digital open architecture will not itself guarantee a more liberating, empowering, democratic or open world. They understand that this will only occur when there is a meaningful vision of the future in place, providing a compelling and clear north star to build towards – that has mapped out the future by evaluating it from all angles whilst considering both the good and the bad – thinking deeply about the consequences whilst embedding positive values in all the system.

Research published in the Harvard Business Review in 2009 defined transformational leaders as ‘visionaries that ask the following questions. What’s new? What’s next? What’s better?’ Furthermore, the research found that leaders that ask these questions tended to possess a people-oriented leadership approach. They engaged, empowered, energised, excited and rallied their people behind a meaningful cause – and compelling story of the future. Qualities ideally suited for digital transformation.

“Any company can digitally transform in their own way. However, they should remember one thing: if they make every other change but employees are not empowered, the digital transformation will not be successful. Empowering people is the key to achieving profound and lasting digital transformation that provides sustainable growth and inclusion.”
Source: World Economic Forum

The above quote goes some way to capture leadership’s role in achieving a successful and enduring digital transformation… and culture is critical. You can have a great idea, product or service but without culture it won’t succeed. Culture creates an environment where all get to play. Culture creates a sense that we are part of something that’s bigger than us – that we can be part of, contribute to and grow-with.

The Why & What: Digital Transformation

It seems that everyone wants to go digital nowadays. Before starting out on your digital journey, the first step should involve collectively defining and agreeing ‘what’ going digital means to your business (your digital vision). In the absence of agreeing your own digital terms of reference, you run the risk of it meaning something different to each and every person in your organisation – the CIO may view digital as a way to drive operational efficiency, while the CMO may see digital as the answer to boosting customer engagement – a true digital transformation requires both. This divergence of understanding creates a significant barrier to follow-on digital implementation because people and teams are neither joined-up nor pulling in the same direction.


The digital-first world is fast approaching. Digital technologies are already disrupting the previously established rules of business by enabling new business models and levelling the playing field in unprecedented ways. Where previously the role of IT was primarily focused on reducing costs and increasing productivity; digitalisation is profoundly altering the business landscape with the new capabilities to leverage innovation to unlock new paths to growth and value creation. The very nature of how we do business today is transforming; the new enabled technologies coming off the conveyor belt at an ever increasing pace are making business more fluid, accelerated, hazardous, competitive and connected (both locally and globally). There are a number of reasons that an organisation may undergo digital transformation, but by far, the most likely reason is that they have to – it’s a survival issue for many. In this climate of uncertain change, organisations are left with the very stark choice to get on board the digital train – or get left behind.

Business now has to focus on delivering more personalised services as they look to improve the way they interact with and serve their customers. The consumer craving for always-on connectivity and service is pushing digitalisation to the fore. Going digital presents huge implications and complexity with business seeking to understand how to digitise in an appropriate manner that fits the demanding and varied requirements of their customer base. Going digital also presents the opportunity to streamline, consolidate and share service development and delivery. Business is increasingly waking up to the benefits that can be gained from digital innovation, they are seeking to harness advances in technology to create seamless and high-quality customer experiences – whilst also achieving improved efficiencies through economies of scale and better thought-out (planned) delivery.

Digital Transformation Defined

Because digital transformation will look different for every business, it can be hard to pinpoint a single definition that applies to all. With a plethora of articles and various definitions of digital transformation available, it’s easy to see why there is some confusion around the topic. As yet I have not yet come across an industry standard definition of digital transformation. The working definition that I keep in my back pocket is my reworked amalgam of definitions lifted from various sources including McKinsey, MIT Sloan and a host of other sources…

“Digital transformation is defined as the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business resulting in fundamental changes to how the business operates and how it delivers value to customers, partners and employees. Being digital means being closely attuned to how customer decision journeys are evolving in the broadest sense – this involves the simplification of channels and portfolio by understanding customer needs and behaviours and keeping this insight at the center of everything the business does. Digital transformation requires a cultural change that involves a shift in leadership thinking to continually challenging the status quo, encouraging innovation (experiment often and get comfortable with failure), and the introduction of new business models. Targeted outcomes of a successful digital transformation include less human intervention – a seamless personalised experience at any time anywhere via preferred communication channels – and one-click-one-touch access to what the customer wants, when they want it, how they want it, wherever they are.”

The How, Part 1: Disrupt Or Die

All of the great innovators of today have embraced digital disruption. There are examples of it in every industry.

Fuelled by cloud and mobile, the changing workforce, digitised supply chain and back-office, digital consumers and introduction of new regulatory compliance at a global and local level – there will be larger, more interactive transactions and higher volume virtual networking.

Evolving technologies like social and mobile, and how they are connected over 5G networks, will change the way people experience the world. These networks will offer connectivity to a high quality global network of consumers.

“Business is increasingly leveraging combinations of cloud, analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning to better serve customers or streamline operations.”

The Need To Think, Plan & Act Differently

To respond to the changing landscape, leaders have to respond by thinking very carefully and differently about how they operate. To understand and tackle the market disruption leaders are increasingly taking a whole-system view of their organisation, both internally and externally.

The need to respond to increasing ambiguity, complexity and pace of change, is placing stress on established strategic planning norms. New planning approaches are being employed to ensure the upfront thinking/planning is more robust and more vivid in experiential meaning for the frontline – with the planning process becoming more collaborative and inclusive to build broader buy-in and consensus. Taking this more dynamic approach to the planning process is delivering better outcomes because risk is better understood and mitigated in advance.

Digital Transformation, Blueprint Thinking

Customers are increasingly seeking engaging experiences: personalised service, self-service, self-solve, simplicity, convenience, transparency and value… and on their terms. With digital technology now faster, better and cheaper – this is now achievable – and if you don’t do it, your competitors will.

A successful digital transformation requires a transformational approach, you will need to consider and adopt new ways-of-working, thinking and planning – that are beyond silos, outside-in and agile in nature.

The new business and operating model will ideally arrange around a series of customer journeys that originate from customer insight and co-created digital experiences – with multi-disciplinary teams using agile, adaptive methods to help bring the different organisational moving parts together.

There are a number of strategic models that you will find helpful to frame and cascade your blueprint thinking. One lens that I regularly use is the ‘Value Disciplines Model’. This will help you work through and settle on the kind of organisation that you want to build towards (see Fig. 1).

When developing your digital terms of reference, the first step should involve securing a shared understanding of your digital vision and buy-in of what the transformation will look like. As you commence your journey of change, calibrate your focus and ambition – select your oranisational shape whilst identifying, quantifying and prioritising where the value lies – continue to iteratively develop the case for change and adjust the governance.

Some Additional Things To Consider

The disruptive capability of new technology and analytics is accelerating disruption, shaping:

  • The personalisation of products;
  • Direct sales – including the quotation and purchase process;
  • Just-in-time processing – for example, online form filling and claims;
  • Self service portals; and
  • Automated customer service.

The confluence of design thinking and technology is driving the introduction of new business models through:

  • The leveraging of eco-system collective intelligence to reduce cost, boost collaboration and facilitate the coordination of collective action within networks of trust;
  • The internet of things is enabling telematics and increased connectivity;
  • Usage and scenario based design to augment and amplify human interaction / transaction;
  • The use of gamification to simplify complex processes; and
  • The increased role of big data in modeling and managing risk.

Digital is moving how we do business from a traditional to a customer-centric model:

The How, Part 2: It’s Not The Technology Holding Us Back

It’s not the technology holding us back; it’s the lack of clear quality upfront thinking – as well as the limitations of our imagination.

When we envision what success looks and feels like in a meaningful outcome-based way, selecting and configuring the technology is straightforward because we know what we are designing and building towards – this includes explicitly aligning digital transformation projects to business value.

With 4iR upon us, entire systems of production, distribution and consumption are transforming people’s lives. To develop a business-ready next-generation digital enterprise, you need to focus on answering the following question:

“How can technological progress drive enhanced value creation through game-changing technologies that ensure inclusivity, connectivity and responsiveness?”
Source: AllChange Strategic Consulting

To ensure success in the midst of digital disruption, there will be a premium placed on innovation, a willingness of organisations to disrupt themselves, a quest for active collaboration and a commitment to advance comprehensive value creation strategies. In the context of this seismic change, we need to envision and shape a future where technology is firmly-embedded in people’s lives, making their daily experiences simpler, highly personal, more rewarding and on demand.

Envisioning The Future Organisation

A significant part of the digital transformation design process involves envisioning what your organisation will look and feel like in the future, including how technology will transform the workplace. As technology advances, with the tidal wave of new technology available, ‘people’ not technology will become the focus of the workplace. Employers will want creative people who can apply the technology in new innovative ways. The current ways-of-working will be transformed with different skills required alongside a premium placed on complex problem solving, creativity and innovation.

In an ideal world, everyone will be contributing their creativity, sharing ideas and linking-up their different knowledge-sets to help take the organisation where it is trying to go. In today’s challenging business environment, how organisations approach mobilising ‘high involvement innovation’ is increasingly becoming a critical element of agile operating model design.

New technology will require new delivery models and new styles of leadership. How we deliver change is being transformed from large complex waterfall projects, delivering large monolithic changes over long cycle times to smaller agile teams delivering smaller functional changes in shorter cycle times. IT Transformation is moving towards DevOps and agile structures and ways of working, to work more closely with the businesses we serve, and enable us to have a bigger positive impact at pace.

With respect to envisioning the future organisation and relating this back to digital transformation design, I have selected the most common topics that come up during my conversations with leaders:

  • Visualising What Digital Looks & Feels Like

Those of you who are experienced with digital transformation understand that the ‘customer journey‘, ‘operating model‘ and ‘going digital’ share a common requirement. They all require you to understand how people operate in the real world.

Getting your people, culture and the organisation mind-set fully engaged and embracing the new digital way-of-working (and thinking) is critical for a successful digital transformation.

Understanding the difference digital makes to peoples lives and being able to visualise and articulate the experience in a way that design teams can unpack, increases the likelihood of building a digital experience the end-user needs.

Example techniques I regularly use to visualise what digital looks and feels like include strategic narrativestoryboarding and scenario visualisation. These techniques are incredibly collaborative and enable technical and non-technical stakeholders to engage in the design debate to co-create a better future together.

See link to previous thought piece on innovation culture here…

  • Creating Value In Your Ecosystem

Ecosystems are loose networks of interdependent organisations or people. If you follow the logic that not all the worlds’ best people work within your organisation, this creates the driver to tap into the outside world more proactively.

Many leaders often exclude this thinking from the strategic planning process because they often don’t think this is possible – or lack the know-how – or fear being overwhelmed by too many interactions. But to develop an organisation and reduce its business risk, the leadership team needs to figure out the best way to leverage the ecosystem in which the organisation is a player.

To build ecosystem advantage requires the creation of a network of relationships, interfaces and processes that can deliver value to the end-customer more efficiently by connecting complementary participants to each other. These loose networks – of suppliers, distributors, outsourcing firms, academia, makers of related products or services, technology providers, and a host of other organisations – affect, and are affected by, the creation and delivery of an organisations own offering.

As an aside, it is worth noting that Blockchain’s ability to securely expand on AI’s access to data across whole ecosystems will drive a whole new set of insights and value.

“Harnessing the Collective Intelligence of our people and wider ecosystem is a crucial step to becoming more agile, accelerating our creativity, and solving problems at high speed.”
Source: Colin Nelson, Hype Innovation

  • Taking A Customer Journey Approach To Operating Model Design

Taking an enterprise-wide focus on customer journeys is crucial because it allows the organisation to arrange itself around customer needs, which can provide distinctive sources of value at the core of the operating model.

McKinsey suggest that the implementation of the new digital operating model can be accelerated by establishing great customer journeys through three actions that need to be carried out at the same time: (1) continually improving end-to-end customer journeys with a clean-sheet approach (aka visualising the ideal organisation), (2) integrating technology with operations by testing and learning, and (3) establishing agile ways of working through teams focused on specific journeys.

  • Big Data & AI

AI isn’t new. Until very recently though, the lack of data stymied the growth of AI. Today, things have changed. There is now an enormous amount of data available of all types. This includes images, audio, and text data. Data can also come from the IOT, internet based transactions, and other sources.

Big Data and AI combined will provide the brainpower behind a whole new digital future that is only limited by our imagination. Sectors, where Big Data and AI are already disrupting the established order include Digital Marketing, Manufacturing, Automotive, E-commerce, Retail, Health Care and the new Smart Home Industry. According to a McKinsey study; AI has the large potential to contribute to global economic activity. But widening gaps among countries, companies, and workers will need to be managed to maximise the benefits.

  • The Innovation Dividend

The chance to work at scale, the embedding of a rigorous process model that provides a structured route for moving from idea to implementation and value creation, and knowledge management offer a powerful boost to the concept of high involvement innovation.

There’s an evolutionary aspect to the way in which platforms have developed, moving from simple support for ideation to creating a robust innovation infrastructure within and even beyond the organisation. Next-generation digital operating models need to integrate innovation infrastructure that promote, support and enable the innovation process from ideation to value creation.

  • Business Capability

Tasks performed by humans are increasingly becoming more complex, whether it’s accessing information in multiple formats from multiple sources or responding to changing market and customer dynamics at ever-increasing speeds. We are living through a fundamental transformation in the way we work. Automation and ‘thinking machines’ are replacing human tasks, changing the skills that organisations are looking for in their people. In order to succeed, organisations will need a system to continually monitor and synchronise their strategies, initiatives and performance.

Each organisations path to a new more agile digital operating model is unique. However, successful transformations include a similar set of design considerations, these are:

(1) Autonomous and cross-functional teams anchored in customer journeys and value creation;

(2) Flexible and modular architecture, infrastructure, and software environment;

(3) A management approach that connects clear strategies to outcomes across the organisation, with tight feedback loops; and

(4) Agile, customer-centric culture and way-of-working demonstrated at all levels and role modelled from the top.

For organisation’s to compete, thrive and survive in the era of digitally driven, on-demand, mobile and customer driven markets, IT Transformation needs to move towards DevOps, agile structures and agile ways of working.

High performing organisations built on agile technologies are revolutionising global industries, sweeping aside traditional industry leaders through their ability to innovate and interact ‘on-demand’ with customers through digital interfaces.

Technology teams are increasingly being organised for fast delivery of high quality software. Operations teams are working closely with development teams to meet the needs of the business in order to deploy software and services better, faster and cheaper.

Figure 7 illustrates how IT can be arranged to deliver value creation in a very targeted way. The model provides a line of sight that helps identify which business processes support value creation (aka capabilities), as well as identify which applications support the business processes. The main thing to bear in mind is that all activity is connected to strategic intent (explicitly connecting thinking to doing).

The How, Part 3: Visualisation, Design & Implementation

Shortly after commencing a new digital project, once the project scope, logistics and participants have been agreed, I transition to activity with the following design thinking in mind:

  1. Orient everyone to a different, highly creative and collaborative way of working – including the use of visualisation, visual thinking and corporate story-telling (aka strategic narrative); and
  2. Commence the process of producing a range of practical tools that start the iterative visualisation process – designed to stimulate creativity, ideas, big-picture thinking… and produce ‘meaning’.

One example tool that I use is called a Blueprint Concept Board (see Fig. 8 below). The concept board allows me to:

  • Collaboratively walk through the digital visualisation process, so that everyone is clear what we are all working towards;
  • Clarify what a digital vision and operating model ‘is’ and ‘does’; and
  • Clarify the detailed critical path steps required to deliver a fit-for-purpose (agile) Digital Operating Model.

The Blueprint Concept board is one of a number of techniques that my team and I use to prototype, test, game-plan and validate the design thinking to ensure that everyone is working on the same page – armed with clear and meaningful terms of reference.

The Blueprint Concept Board Explained

  • Level 1 – Delivery & Impact

Level 1 tells the story how the organisation will create value through its digitally enhanced internal and external relationships. The organisations purpose, mission, vision, strategic imperatives and values are connected to a stakeholder landscape – bringing the organisations digital vision to life through a blended mix of high-level big picture and deep-dive scenario-based value stories.

Note: The Blueprint Concept Board featured in this article is a real client work example with all sensitive content removed. Level 1 & 2 in this visual are intended as a conversation starter to enable technical and non-technical stakeholders to engage in the design debate – commencing the process of working out what digital means.

  • Level 2 – Network Connectivity

Level 2 illustrates how the organisation structure arranges itself around the digital agenda. It provides a practical mechanism for people to visualise the organisation from multiple dimensions, describing how the organisation will do business in the ‘future’, including reflecting how the people will need to operate in the real world.

Level 2 will eventually feature the digital operating model moving parts including people, process, systems and technology required to bring the digital vision and strategy to life. Network design is arranged around the organisations Decision Value Chain and Customer Journeys with the prime intention of shortening the gap between decision-making and value creation.

  • Level 3 – Capacity & Capability

Level 3 is focused on ensuring ‘thinking’ leads to ‘doing’. It features all the dimensions that inform and guide ‘change roadmap’ development.

Level 3 will eventually lead to the operational manifestation of the corporate vision and strategy – what the organisation wants to do, how it wants to do it, where, when, who-with and who-to.

Note: For sensitivity reasons, Level 3 & 4 featured here are the very first step in the (digital) exploratory conversation. Through a series of design-led exploratory workshops a detailed digital change roadmap is developed then agreed (this includes clearly defining targeted outcomes and the associated change levers/activities/initiatives/projects).

  • Level 4 – Visualisation, Design & Planning

Level 4 illustrates the strategic delivery planning process. It provides an aide memoire of the critical path activity required to visualise, design, build, implement and embed a successful and sustainable Digital Operating Model… that is business ready and adopted.

Note: for sensitivity reasons, the content on level 4 has been stripped back to a very high level.

Network Operating Model Architecture

The Network Operating Model is designed with a digital business in mind.

The Network Operating Model is similar to Kotter’s ‘Dual Operating System’ in as much as it is designed to handle the daily demands of running a company in a traditionally efficient ‘hierarchical’ way – while also operating a highly responsive and innovation-friendly structure wired to navigate difficult change at pace.

Network Operating Model is what it says on the tin – a single network with three kinds of interconnected structure that act similar to communication/redistribution nodes:

  • Parent Organisation (aka Mothership)
  • Sub-organisation (aka Advance Base)
  • Enterprise Cell (aka Satellite)

For further information on network operating model design, see link to previous thought piece here…

Some Guidance To Get You Started

Organisations are built for people. The more visionary, meaningful, collaborative and inclusive your methods; the better your digital transformation will be.

I have highlighted a few select take-aways alongside sketching the indicative steps to get you started with your digital transformation. The guidance is based on my hard-earned real-world experience of what works:

  • Strategic Narrative

A strategic narrative (aka corporate story) is the ideal mechanism to collaboratively identify and shape strategic intent into a coherent vision capable of informing and framing policy. I have found the process of developing a strategic narrative the most effective way to get a group of senior leaders working on the same page. The story creation process provides an element of group therapy, providing space and quality airtime for the senior leadership to work through conflicting perspectives – that otherwise might never have been addressed in the workplace.

For more information on strategic narrative and how to translate strategy into meaningful execution, click here…

  • Visual Thinking

The use of visual thinking is an effective way to resolve complexity and confusion in groups that arise from inadequate or conflicting mental models. This is crucial when the models involve our ideas of how work gets done, how teams co-operate, how decisions are made, how people organise and learn. Much of our understanding of systems and how things work together is represented through visual imagery. A large amount of time in meetings is spent working out these differences. Using visual thinking techniques accelerate the process of getting the upfront design thinking right, and in a highly collaborative and efficient way.

  • Clarity of Direction With Clear Terms of Reference

Strategy execution is a journey as much as a process. All organisations need to know ‘where’ they want to get to before they set off on the journey. Continually planning for ‘what’ you are going to do without knowing, or fully understanding ‘what’ you want to achieve, will result in disappointment.

  • Systems Thinking

To control a system, you have to have an accurate model of how it works (ref: Conant-Ashby Cybernetics Theorem) – for your digital transformation to succeed, you will need to accurately capture the multi-dimensional organisation characteristics (aka people, process, technology, systems) that inform operating and business model design. Effective digital operating models need to incorporate how the organisation does business now and in the future, as well as accurately reflect how the people operate in the real world.

Summary steps for your business-ready and adopted digital transformation:

  • Step 1: Produce a single, cohesive, overarching strategic narrative to inform and guide the delivery of your digital transformation.
  • Step 2: (If appropriate) produce additional ‘identity-based’ strategic narratives for selected organisation areas. You may also wish to produce narratives to inform your customer journeys.
  • Step 3: Explore and unpack the strategic narrative to explicitly connect strategic intent to project delivery (connecting thinking to doing).
  • Step 4: Develop a common agreed digital approach, with agreed terms of reference, language and definitions.
  • Step 5: Build a hi-level (multi-dimensional) digital operating model, taking a network approach utilising collaborative visualisation techniques – with an emphasis placed on achieving simplification through visual design. Visual scenarios and storyboards are ideally suited for digital transformation because they enable technical and non-technical stakeholders to engage with the design. Visual thinking also removes barriers that often come from technical and management speak (removing fog factor). Do this activity upfront, your follow-on implementation will be all the better from the insight gained.
  • Step 6: Develop guidance/instructional materials and enforce guidelines when rolled-out to ensure consistent best practice is applied. This should include:-
    • A common team approach – including defining clear decision rights, roles, responsibilities, accountabilities and team ways-of-working; and
    • A common communications approach – in particular with document management. This specifically refers to ensuring relevant strategic intent/thinking is clearly referenced within all appropriate documented artefacts.
  • Step 7: Update all existing document artefacts and review previous content to ensure the organisation/digital design are consistent.
  • Step 8: Start building your digital new world!

Final Thought

Whether starting-out or in the midst of your digital transformation, the foundation of your success will heavily depend on how well the senior leadership have envisioned what the organisation will look and feel like in the future. As technology advances, with the tidal wave of new technology available it really will be ‘people’ not ‘technology’ that become the focus of the workplace. Digital is all about augmenting and amplifying the human condition. If you get this right, the size of the prize on any metric you choose will be off the charts.

The best HR & People Analytics articles of November 2018

As we begin the countdown to Christmas, the penultimate month of 2018 provided further proof that the rise of people analytics continues to gather pace.

Hot on the heels of October’s acquisition of Glint by LinkedIn came the news that SAP had paid a whopping $8 billion to buy Qualtrics (read Josh Bersin’s analysis of the deal here). I fully expect further consolidation in our space as we move into 2019.

On the subject of next year, my list of speaking engagements for 2019 continues to grow (see list at end of article). My first major conference is the People Analytics & Future of Work Conference in San Francisco (PAFOW) on 31st January and 1st February, which I’ll once again be co-chairing with Al Adamsen along with a stellar list of speakers. Click hereor on the image below and use my discount code DG200 by 31st December to get a $200 discount.

This month’s selections are grouped under the following seven topics: Getting started, building capability, the role of the people analytics leader, ethics and privacy, emerging data sources and techniques, data literacy and for the analyst. There’s also another classic article from the vault as well as the best podcast and video of the month. Enjoy and if you do, please do share with your network.



EDWARD HOUGHTON, SAM HILL, CIPD - Getting started with people analytics: a practitioner's guide

Despite the significant growth in adoption of people analytics, many people professionals still lack the confidence and skills to make the most of their workforce data. As the preamble to the latest in a growing number of superb resources from the CIPD on people analytics explains, this guide is designed to help all people professionals of any level learn the basics and improve their confidence and capability when using data. Sam Hill and Ed Houghtonhave produced an excellent primer and, as Figure 1 demonstrates, also contributed to the debate on whether the field should be called HR, Workforce or People Analytics. As one who prefers the latter, this image is particularly pleasing.

FIG 1: Scope of People Analytics (Source: Workforce Dimensions, CIPD) 


JONATHAN FERRAR - How to run a successful People Analytics project

How should you run a people analytics project to maximise the opportunity for success? In this excellent guide, Jonathan Ferrar outlines the Eight Step Model for Purposeful Analytics (see Figure 2) Nigel Guenole, Sheri Feinzig and he developed for the landmark 'The Power of People' book. A summary of each step is provided with perhaps the key message being each project always starting with a clearly defined business question.

FIG 2: The Eight Step model for purposeful analytics (Source: The Power of People by Nigel Guenole, Jonathan Ferrar and Sheri Feinzig)

DAVID CREELMAN – A different kind of dashboard

What is the secret of a good HR dashboard? That is the question pondered by David Creelman in his article. He argues that instead of continually falling into the trap of redefining the right metrics, tirelessly cleaning data and inventing new visualisations we should instead base our dashboards on questions. Creelman goes on to provide an example (see Figure 3) emphasising the need to compose your dashboard with the right questions, as a precursor to then using data to provide answers.

FIG 3: Example of a HR dashboard composed of questions (Source: David Creelman and Peter Navin - The CMO of People: Manage Employees Like Customers With an Immersive Predictable Experience That Drives Productivity and Performance)

THOMAS RASMUSSEN – When People Analytics Grows Up

Thomas Rasmussen shares my view that the majority of maturity models for people analytics are incomplete as they mostly focus on techniques rather than far more important aspects such as business outcomes. The model Thomas presents in this article is much more rooted in reality (see Figure 4) as the happy toddlers become grumpy teenagers before making the final transition to a mature people analytics team.

"Once CHROs have had a top-notch People Analytics shop, they can't imagine not having one" 

FIG 4: People Analytics Maturity (Source: Thomas Rasmussen)


LEXY MARTIN - Here’s What You Need in a People Analytics Leader

The role of the people analytics leader is absolutely pivotal to the success - or otherwise – of creating, building and sustaining people analytics within an organisation. Lexy Martin’s analysis draws out the unique set of skills required to thrive in this pioneering and challenging role, the reporting line (ideally direct to the CHRO), how to harness technology, drive change and create value.

“(The Head of People Analytics) is the key evangelist and visionary for data-driven decision making, and ensures the use of people analytics always delivers values to the business” 

BRIAN McCARTHY, CHRIS McSHEA, MARCUS ROTH, McKINSEY - Rebooting analytics leadership: Time to move beyond the math

Fascinating analysis by McKinsey on the evolution of the Chief Analytics Officer role over time and how the dominant required persona of the 'Catalyst' has now emerged (see Figure 5). The article is a must-read for any Head of People Analytics as the opportunities and challenges outlined are very similar. The authors explain that the ‘Catalyst’ helps redefine the leadership role for adopting analytics and AI at scale. Five key areas where Catalysts lead the charge and facilitate change are outlined including the need to act as an agent of change to navigate organisational barriers to analytics adoption.

“While it’s critical to get the math right, just getting the math right doesn’t drive the change” 

FIG 5: The evolution of the role of Chief Analytics Officer (Source: McKinsey)

ELAINE MAHON - Effective implementation: driving positive change through people analytics

People analytics leader Elaine Mahon describes how she is delivering positive change at the Office for National Statistics through four key activities with the easy to remember ABCD acronym. These are: Adopt an Agile approach, Build senior level engagement, Create tangible actions and Deploy the right skills. An inspiring read and it's good to see people analytics thriving in the public sector.

“Any people analytics venture risks failure without the buy-in from senior leaders. How to get it? Show the art of the possible” 


DIRK PETERSEN – 6 Steps to Ethically Sound People Analytics

Earlier this year, Insight222 (where I am a board advisor) worked with 15 Global500 member companies to co-create an ethics charter and guiding set of principles for the use of people data (see Figure 6). Dirk Petersen’s article describes the background and delivery of the project and six recommendations to help firms develop ethically sound people analytics. These include the need to i) align key stakeholders, and ii) demonstrate employee value. As Dirk concludes, getting management to take data ethics seriously is paramount to avoid a potentially fatal ‘Cambridge Analytica’ moment.

FIG 6: People Analytics Ethics Decision Model (Source: Insight222)  

For more on ethics, trust and people analytics for good, please check out the latest edition of Data Driven HR here, which collects together a wealth of resources on this most critical of topics. To receive future editions of Data Driven HR, subscribe here or by clicking the image below.  



An essential study by Nigel Guenole and Sheri Feinzig into the business case for AI in HR, which builds on the insights and learnings of IBM’s HR function in its pioneering use of AI across the employee journey. Featuring a Foreword by CHRO Diane Gherson, the report also provides practical advice on the five steps to get started (see Figure 7), the skills you will need, and important issues about fairness and the broader societal effects of AI on jobs. The paper is part research, part case study and part how-to guide, which put together makes it an indispensable read.

“AI is an accelerator – it allows us the ability to ingest a variety of data and provide context to a decision maker or employee or business leader. It allows us to deliver the right intelligence in the moment and achieve personalisation at scale” 
Tom Stachura 

FIG 7: Five steps to getting started with AI in HR (Source: IBM Smarter Workforce Institute)

FRANK VAN DEN BRINK AND NIENKE BLOEM - The experience paradigm: Customer or Employee first?

Don’t be fooled by the title of this article as Frank Van Den Brink, Chief Employee Experience Officer at ABN Amro, and CX expert Nienke Bloem outline why focusing on the customer AND employee experience is critical. Methodologies are outlined to drive excellence in both CX and EX encompassing strategy, design, measurement, adoption and culture. An example of employee journey mapping as undertaken by Frank and his team at ABN Amro is highlighted in Figure 8 below.

"To get Customer Experience right, organisations should also start beginning to think about their Employee Experience in a more strategic way" 

FIG 8: Employee Experience Journey Canvas at ABN Amro (Source: Frank Van Den Brink)


TOMAS CHAMORRO-PREMUZIC – 3 ways to build a data-driven team | THOMAS REDMAN - 5 Concepts That Will Help Your Team Be More Data-Driven

2017’s excellent High-Impact People Analytics study by Madhura Chakrabarti for Bersin by Deloitte found that the biggest predictor of success in people analytics was the development of an organisational culture for data-driven decision making. A key element of this is to improve the data literacy of HR professionals. I featured a number of articles on this theme in my October collection and here are two more to digest. First, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzicoutlines three ways to build a data-driven team emphasising the need to foster critical thinking allied to training and hiring for the right skills. Meanwhile, Thomas Redmanexplains the need to think like a data scientist as one of his five concepts to helping your team be more data-driven.


HENDRIK FEDDERSEN - Why Should Analytically-Minded HR Professionals Learn to Use R (And Forget About Excel)? | MAX BLUMBERG – People Analytics and Regression To The Mean: A Growing Problem

A couple of articles for the more technically-minded. First, Hendrik Feddersen argues that partly due to the limitations of Excel in handling large amounts of data, budding HR analysts should instead learn how to use R, offering a number of compelling reasons why he believes this to be the case. Max Blumberg examines the lack of use of control groups and regression to the mean in people analytics and how this threatens to undermine the evidence of business value created by the field. 


MORTEN KAMP ANDERSEN – 5 reasons why HR Analytics must sit in HR | 5 reasons why HR Analytics should not be located in HR

The ‘classic article’ this month is actually a two-part piece by Morten Kamp Andersen, which presents the case for and the case against people analytics being under the auspices of the HR department. The articles provoked a healthy discussion four years ago, and the question of where the people analytics function should sit is a debate that continues to rage today. Which side of the fence do you fall down upon? Is people analytics stymied within the HR organisation or will its potential be unfulfilled if it is located within a group function focused on consumer analytics? I expect this debate to run and run.

“HR data has a lot of potential value; HR (professionals) are the only ones who know this and can get the most out of HR data” 


ERIC OWSKI AND AL ADAMSEN – The PAFOW Podcast: Talent Insights  

I’ve seen at first-hand at the Talent Intelligence Experience shows in Paris, Sydney and London this year the thirst amongst HR professionals for LinkedIn’s new Talent Insights product. Eric Owski leads the team that has developed this product and his discussion with Al Adamsen provides a compelling account of the value it provides.


PATRICK COOLEN - Creating a fact-based HR organisation at ABN AMRO | BRYDIE LEAR - How do you build credibility for People Analytics?

Taking the earlier theme of the role of the people analytics leader, I was delighted to recently interview two of the best around for myHRfuture in Patrick Coolen and Brydie Lear. In the first video, Patrick Coolen (below) describes how he has catalysed the growth of a data-driven HR function at ABN AMRO. In the second video, Brydie Lear outlines the advantages of reporting directly into the CHRO as she does as Global Head of People Analytics at ING. 


This version of the countdown features a selection of the full set of articles for November, which you can find if you head over to myHRfuture. There you can find additional articles by Tracey Smith, Eva Kyndt, David Morgan, John Sumser, Amit Mohindra and Brydie Lear. Enjoy!