Using the power of analytics to understand the value of human capital

Analytics as it pertains to the employees and the workforce is taking the industry by storm.  Recently, I read an article in the Wall Street Journal about how companies are harnessing the power of analytics to help them identify staff who are likely to leave.  In the past few weeks alone I’ve had the unique opportunity to meet with a variety of companies looking to develop an HR analytics strategy to further empower their HR initiatives.  For those who are new to this topic, analytics as it pertains to those in the workplace can be referenced by many names including HR analytics, workforce analytics, or people analytics. 

Why so much focus on workforce analytics? 

As the workforce continues to evolve with millennials flooding the industry, many companies are finding their workforce is comprised of more generations than ever, with each generation bringing unique needs and expectations into the workplace.  As a result, past business strategies utilized to attract and maintain quality talent are changing.  With the competition among companies for top talent continuing to increase, analytics has become a driving force to help companies stay relevant and successful with their workforce engagement and retention needs.

Next week at the Great Places to Work® conference in Dallas, I have the great opportunity to talk more about HR analytics and how companies can utilize the power of analytics to understand the value of their human capital.  The Great Places to Work conference is a great opportunity to hear from industry leaders about how to make the workplace great (for more information on the conference, please see the conference website). For those planning to attend the conference, I look forward to meeting with you there! 

For others who are interested in a quick introduction to analytics and its applications in the workplace, check out this blog interview where we sit down and talk more about workforce analytics with Elissa Tucker from APQC.

Stay tuned for future blog posts about the power of workforce analytics and how it can further your company’s insights into the workforce within!


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Hoarding can lead to hidden treasures

Hoarding has a bad name. Popular TV programmes such as The Hoarder Next Door, Obsessive Compulsive Hoarder in the UK and Hoarding: Buried Alive in the US show hoarding in a very bad light. After all, why can’t they just throw away that 10-year-old newspaper?

What drives the hoarders’ motivation to keep everything they own is the fear that they’ll throw away something that may become useful or valuable one day. It’s a fear that we all, to some extent, have. How many times have you thrown something away, just to find out you needed it the next day?

TreasureSometimes hoarding can pay off. In an episode of the much-loved comedy series ‘Only Fools and Horses’, Rodney is cataloguing stock in the Trotter’s garage. His brother, the infamous ‘Del Boy’, comes across a pocket watch hidden away, and not realising its value he’s tempted to chuck it away. Luckily, he changes his mind; and it turns out to be worth an absolute fortune. You can relive the episode here.

What if you could get the best of both worlds? Never throw away anything that is potentially valuable and at the same time keeping your house clutter free and clean. How would you do it? One solution could be to build yourself some cheap storage in your garden, or rent out some space with a storage company. Then you can look for valuable items at your leisure. Read More »

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Oil benchmark back in the money, for now, with an eye on volatility

Oil is bouncing around the $50 range as the market adds and loses value with each new headline, from potential new Iranian exports after the nuclear talks to the slowest month of inventory builds at Cushing since Thanksgiving. The US rigcount is down nearly 23 percent year-over-year, but the rate of decline is slowing. Meanwhile, storage swells well ahead of the usual driving season highs, adding about 10 million barrels a week in March. Inventories are at their highest since 2001 and producers continue to pump. Glut is the word of the day.


Chart 1: Rolling Five-Year Portfolio

The chart above represents both Mark-to-Market (MtM) and Value-at-Risk (VaR), at the barrel level, of the rolling five-year portfolio. As the chart shows, VirtualOil’s value per barrel saw a massive squeezing of the margins going into the year, but it has stabilized as the price of oil found some solid footing around the strike price of $50 per barrel. WTI spent most of March below our shut-in price, with only five days at or above $50, but April has been struggling to move upward.

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Jump start your analytics program with visualization and communication

With so much information available about high-performance analytics, business intelligence and visual analytics, it can be difficult to know exactly where to begin, especially if you don’t have a team of statisticians standing by.

I'm frequently asked by customers who hope to take advantage of analytics how to get started.  How do you advocate for analytics without dragging your organization behind?  How do you show the value to your highly effective counterparts who like the way things have always been done?  If your company lives on a highly operational mindset, creating that culture of analytics can be a challenge.

Thankfully, analytics covers a huge range of opportunities, and it doesn't take an army to get started! Below are some techniques to start creating an analytical program using the resources you already have available.   Read More »

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Will the skills gap kill Hadoop?

It seems that we are only just getting going with Hadoop at many companies and the prophets of doom are starting to appear. Why is it that this technology, which promises so much, is predicted to cause so much pain?

In a December 2014 Wall Street Journal article, “The Joys and Hype of Software Called Hadoop,” research company Gartner predicts that “... through 2017, 60% of big-data projects will fail to go beyond piloting and experimentation and will be abandoned”.

More recently, a Datanami article entitledDoes Hadoop Need a Reality Check states:

The truth about Hadoop–and big data analytics in general–is that it’s not easy. In addition to data science skills, which are in notoriously short supply, organizations need the engineering skills to bring all the proper technologies to bear in the proper amounts.

SAS also has been conducting research. One recent survey, sponsored in conjunction with Intel, took place in the Nordics, where we found that 35 percent of the respondents cited resources and competencies as an obstacle to Hadoop adoption.

Clearly, there is a skills issue preventing many companies from best exploiting the Hadoop platform.

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UK General Election 2015: mapping the electoral arena

There are 650 seats in the United Kingdom's House of Commons, but the result of this year’s general election is widely expected to hinge on the decisions made in under 150 constituencies.

Undecided voters are watching the political agendas closely to help them decide which party they want to run the country. Already, we have seen the flux of floating voters impacted by the media frenzy during the leaders’ debates.

Over the last year Conservative Peer and professional pollster Lord Ashcroft has been polling the election's 146 most marginal – or closely fought – seats. It will be these constituencies that will be the deciders on May 7.

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California at the cutting edge

I took another trip to California and, of course, allowed Ed to come with me. San Francisco is an amazing place to visit (especially in March when it’s cold and wet in North Carolina.)

On this trip, we met with wonderful group of people, the California Transcribers and Educators for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Inc. (CTEBVI). They get together once each year to share experiences and ideas to support and advocate for people with visual impairments.

This year Ed and other wise leaders created a symposium to discuss cutting edge technology that is being used in the classroom, such as electronic textbooks and web-based instructional materials. The symposium explored assistive technologies and how they can be used to prepare students with visual impairments for the future! It gave us a lively and energizing afternoon.

While we were there, the news organization, Bloomberg News West, sat down to interview Ed. Check out the video clip here or below.

Perhaps you might wonder if I felt slighted that Ed got so much attention, but I really didn’t. It’s fine with me if he does most of the talking. I’m good with being silent but gorgeous.

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Five reasons SMBs shouldn’t ignore or go it alone with analytics


42-56876759Small to midsize businesses (SMBs) want to make the most of their data, but many feel they lack the skills and solutions to effectively harness it. However, new technologies and new channels to market are leading to the “democratisation of analytics” making it easily available to all. SMBs cannot afford to get left behind but neither must they to go it alone. 

Following these five tips will help you use all available resources to get the most of your data. Read More »

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Cleared for takeoff

The winds are calm, temperatures mild, and there’s the added bonus of a beautiful North Carolina sunset as we’re cleared for takeoff.

Most moms are a little nervous when their sons start to drive, but I had one who had even loftier goals and begged to learn to fly. As a grown adult now and a licensed pilot, I appreciate that he is willing to roll down the runway and pull those wheels up with his crazy mom as his co-pilot (of sorts).  Together we take in the outstanding view from 5,000 feet and watch as the colors melt into the horizon.

But while the sky before us settles in for the night, the buzz between my son and the air traffic controller remains a steady hum with back-and-forth banter about air space, speed, altitude and settings.


The communicator in me tunes into their common yet foreign language. It comes so naturally to them, but I know those code words and three-or-four-word responses represent hundreds of policies and guidelines, training documents, procedural manuals and best practices.

Turns out good preparation and planning and staying in touch with the control tower make for smooth flying.

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Will the IoT take us from identity to iDATAty?


The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to take us into the next big technology wave, which will include a massive proliferation of personal connected devices like we have never seen before – cars, toothbrushes, household appliances, watches, medical devices, bicycles, and all sorts of things on our body and in our homes.

At last month’s Mobile World Congress it was declared that the IoT is here to stay and will change how we live and the way we do things.

In one of the sessions, "Future of Analytics is Mobile,", the rapper and entrepreneur, was asked what is the future? His answer was, data mining with data being king. Companies will couple data with their consumers’ identity to create an "iDATAy," a new digital buzzword from will.iam. As a result, companies and people will have a better relationship with no middleman. Tomorrow’s operating system will know us. There will be no search engines. What we want will find us.

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