(Updated: September 2020, 17 interviews & reviews) I love many aspects of my work, and consider myself fortunate to have my career path as a People Analytics mentor and educator. But there is one thing I am most grateful for: The people I meet at work – both clients and colleagues. As I always say in my classes and lectures, you must be eternal students in our industry, so you better choose wisely who you learn from. Each person in the following interviews and reviews that I published in my blog recently offered me a valuable lesson. I’m honored to share it all again, with the entire People Analytics community, which hopefully will keep its open-source culture.
Each of my clients enriches my perspective
I find the onboarding of People Analytics Leaders, and especially those who are the first to take that role in their organization, fascinating and worth following. So how do you enter a People Analytics Leader role, when you are the one who establishes it? I was privileged to further explore this process at one of my old clients – Amdocs. Although organizational researches that fall within the category of People Analytics have been conducted in Amdocs long before, this global company, which operates in over 50 locations, has a new People Analytics Leader – Gal Mozes.
Taking the first steps on the journey to data-driven HR is always difficult. The barriers may include a variety of issues, including data integrity, knowledge gaps, and an excessive amount of HR-Tech solutions. Furthermore, a small or medium business may lack the appropriate volume of data, the resources for shiny Analytics tools, and the right talent to lead initiatives and projects. Nevertheless, with the right guidance and mentoring in People Analytics, and with the right attitude and will power, HR leaders in SMBs can successfully overcome those barriers, and use People Analytics practices to impact their business. I was honored and fortunate to take part in some success stories of HR leaders in SMBs. One of the most inspiring is Michal Shoval, who leads the HR department in GIA
Imagine the highest degree for sophisticated data usage. If there was such a degree, which organizations would be nominated to hold it? Undoubtedly, the Israeli intelligence corps would be at the top of the list. I was excited to talk with Limor Pinto, a Lieutenant Colonel in the Israeli Military intelligence, who will retire in a few weeks. In her last role, she served as a Head of the Behavioral Sciences Branch in the Intelligence Corps Headquarters. I met her for the first time four years ago, when I talked to the IDF Behavioral Sciences department about People Analytics, and later again in another learning opportunity of the Intelligence Corps. Fast forwarding the years, Limor was generously shared with me some of her experiences.
Each of my colleagues has plenty to offer
Another cycle of the introductory course, The People Analytics Journey, is about to end. This training program is unique because it covers the fundamentals of the domain and demonstrates them with real career stories and experiences of HR and People Analytics leaders. Thus, the course contributes to a new professional community in Isreal. The last session of the course will be a special one. We’ll discuss the future of People Analytics as a profession, and the importance of new skills, e.g., procurement processes and ethical considerations. Our guest will be Yael Epstein, former HR analyst at Microsoft, who will talk about the role of technology in People Analytics, base on her experience. Here is the interview I had with Yael before the learning session.
How would you define a professional expert in the field of data-driven HR? Certainly, there are many definitions of the People Analytics domain, that may include skills, practices, and responsibilities. However, today for a change, I’d like to suggest a different angle: a professional expert is someone you would always want to learn from and be inspired by. I had the honor to host my colleague from Amsterdam, that definitely fits this definition: Hendrik Feddersen, an expert in HR business processes and analytics.
My personal endeavor to educate HR leaders by exposing them to data science fundamentals is continuing. Fortunately, a valuable part of my tailwind comes from my global community of experts who dedicate their career to help executives and managers, especially in the domain of HR, to become more data-driven. I was privileged to interview lately one of my data heroes, Tracey Smith, about her experiences and efforts. I was happy to find out that her opinions resonate with my own.
Among many questions, the issue of career growth stands out. While organizations struggle with the instability of the workforce, research already points to the fact that internal mobility may be the cure to raising rates of employee attrition. But how exactly can HR practitioners address such a huge challenge? What would be their first steps? I was privileged to talk with a prominent professional, both in the field of People Analytics and Learning and Organization Development, Orit Cohen (Schwarz), who is leading the People Analytics function at HP, and learned from her perspective and experience, how organizations could move forward with this important topic.
Global events validate local steps
October 2019, it has been only a year since my last visit to Unleash, but in terms of the workforce revolution that we’re witnessing and experiencing, this time span is an eternity. So much has been changed, as clearly stated by thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and many of my colleagues in the field of People Analytics and HR-Tech, who gathered again for two days of networking and learning, and this time – in Paris!
I covered my key takeaways from sessions and demos, and organized by the aforementioned themes: 1st blog was focused on broader topics of future of work; the 2nd blog covered new technologies for career paths; the 3rd was grounded on People Analytics practices; the 4th summarised insights about the digital transformation of HR. In all four themes, I tried to listen mostly to new speakers, or a least new to me. Therefore my key takeaways include many new and interesting players in our professional community.
April 2019, I crossed the ocean to meet colleagues and clients in the Big Apple. A highlight of my journey to Manhattan was HackingHR, a professional community event where I met and was inspired by influencers and thought leaders in HR and Tech. HackingHRis a global forum for collaboration, networking, and discussion about HR, technology, and the workplace of the future. Founded by Enrique Rubio, the community explores the way HR and tech interact to impact the future of work — when, where, and how we work, who we work with, and what skills the organizational leaders of tomorrow will need.
October 2018, I packed my vision and questions about the future of work and flew all the way to Unleash Amsterdam, to learn from the world’s influencers, thought leaders, and entrepreneurs, and to meet again many of my professional community fellows in the field of People Analytics and HR-Tech, who gathered from all over the world, for two days of intellectual adventure, inspiring experience, and entertainment.
We witnessed the change in HR leaders’ mindset, here in Tel Aviv, in regards to HR data and business insights. The People Analytics learning session, conducted by the Israeli Association of Human Resources in July 2018, was just a part of this vibe. The growing interest in People Analytics brought 150 HR leaders to gather and learn from the experience we gained in this. I was honored to be the keynote speaker and to partner in curating the event contents.
People Analytics World was a leading European annual conference on HR Analytics, Workforce Planning, and Employee Insight, in which I was privileged to attend in April 2018. I traveled to London with huge expectations, to learn more about the contribution of People Analysts, which are now becoming an essential part of HR groups across all industries. The growing importance of data-driven HR was well reflected in the conference’s attendees, both speakers, exhibitors, and delegates. My experience in the event exceeded my expectations.
IBM Cognitive café 2017 in Tel Aviv, was a great opportunity to meet and hear data leaders of some Israeli companies. I listened to them very carefully, knowing that their experience is most valuable for any journey in the field of People Analytics and data-driven HR. This should not be new for any business leader, but Daniel Melka, CEO IBM Israel, nicely reviewed the mega-trends of the digital era, when he talked about “organizations which re-invent themselves to deal with the ever-changing business environment, and tied their success to insights derived from data”.
Data heroines are everywhere
At the end of 2017, I was selected by HR-Tech-Nation to be among the top bloggers to follow. It was a great honor to be mentioned in a list of excellent writers, which are my source of inspiration and learning. One of them, William Tincup, commented that next time he would like to see more women on the list. Well… I decided to take his note as a personal challenge and salute 365 women, one for each day in a year. There is only one IWD (International Women Day), but for me, every day is a woman’s day. My list of women worth watching, however, encompasses not only HR Tech leaders but also Data heroes and People Analytics exceptional practitioners. My selection order is completely associative, i.e., there is no ranking here. Each of the following women is truly inspiring!