This is a letter to you from one of People Analytics IO founders, Mike West.
Hi, nice to meet you!
Since you are reading this I am going to assume you are someone who is interested in people analytics, or at least is curious about what that is. (or you might be a bot or web crawler, we are not sure yet.)
There are many possible reasons you need or want insights from people analytics. Here are a few examples. When your company is bleeding key talent to your competition, you need data informed insight. When you go in front of others to propose any important change, you need data informed insight. When you have to cut costs from a multi-million dollar benefits portfolio without destroying your employee value proposition, you need data informed insight. When you are trying to show a manager that they need to get better at being a manager, you need data informed insight. When you want to grow your business faster but you have already pulled out all stops with your current recruiting team and process, you data informed insight.
DATA HELPS YOU SEE THE WORLD A DIFFERENT WAY AND CREATE THINGS NOBODY THOUGHT POSSIBLE BEFORE.
Data helps you see reality better. Data makes for better decisions. Data helps you be better at what you do. Data helps you see the world a different way to create things nobody thought possible before. Data can make otherwise mundane tasks enthralling. Ultimately, you will be held accountable for what happens with or without data, but data can help you do it better.
What is People Analytics IO?
People Analytics IO (inputs outputs) is a partnership of people interested in the opportunity at the intersection between people and data, and people that want to fulfill a new vision for managing people presented by this opportunity. We are not a conventional consulting firm. We are not a conventional technology company. We don't sell conventional HR services. We don't sell conventional enterprise BI technology. We appreciate the role of all of those things in the world, and we interact well with the people that do those things, but our focus is people analytics, which is new and different.
Our method of operating and how we share profit from our collective effort is different. As any good partnership goes, there are clear rules for membership, and clear boundaries for behavior, but also clear benefits to each member. Human resources can be frustrating. People analytics is challenging. We are proud to say our passion is people analytics, and if for a time few people understand it, that is still where we are going to hang our sign because somebody has to do it. As the pictures in this letter show, I draw inspiration from the odd balls that aspired to do something different in their work.
My background is odd, as our the people I have worked for. My previous employers and clients have been successful innovative companies and leading employers at the same time. Through their willingness to venture into the unknown they have demonstrated to the world what is possible. I appreciate their investment in me on my journey, and I simply continue on to add to their opus of work that I am proud and blessed to have been part of. With these odd balls, I have pursued ambitious goals: to demonstrate how numbers can change human resource management, change how managers and employees view human resource management, inspire companies to change for the better, and change how people think about managing people. And the best part? It works, it really does!
There is more opportunity in people analytics than most people realize. The work is not finished. It has only begun. There are more applications of people analytics (and products) waiting to be discovered than there are currently in existence, while those in existence could also be improved and applied much more broadly. To have opportunity to be on the forefront of a new field is something that rarely happens - you are lucky if this opportunity presents itself to you once in a lifetime. The significance of the place we stand in history barely fathomable.
Here is how I learned people analytics and what I suggest for you too.
Step 1 - Learn by Doing
People Analytics IO’s first imperative is to get people who are interested in implementing people analytics at their organization on the right path with good frameworks and roadmaps - rooted in experience building people analytics from scratch across multiple industries, company sizes and budgets.
I enjoy cooking up people analytics surprises, but I also happily share my people analytics recipes. You will find them all over this website, my book People Analytics For Dummies and my linkedin writings. I do this because it is the careful selection, synthesis and delivery of new data insights that makes what I do special and what will make what you do special too. Just as a painting is more than paint, a cathedral is more than bricks, and a good meal is more than just ingredients thrown together, careful synthesis and collaboration creates better results.
I am an introvert by nature, but I speak at conferences, I do workshops, and I do action-oriented focused learning projects with other people and their data. All in effort to better communicate the opportunity for people analytics.
I spent a year of my life writing People Analytics For Dummies and I have packed it with my own innovations and advantages (The Four-S Framework, The Triple-A Framework, Net Activated Value (NAV), CAMS Index, . . .) I give away a lifetime of hard earned learning for a song, really everything that I have in this world, on the premise that your results do not detract from my results. Since this field, people analytics, is my passion, in fact, your results and mine are inextricably intertwined. The book is not perfect, or complete, but it is a start.
To get where you want to go - where you start is as important as where you are going. Where you start helps determine how soon you can get to your destination and what kind of effort is required. Wherever you are starting from, we, the partners at People Analytics IO and the People Analytics Community we are proud to be a part of, can work with you and your data to take people analytics to its next level. We almost prefer starting from scratch. You don’t need anything to start. Learn more about the People Analytics IO Insight Design Service.
Step 2 - Collect the Right Data
The next great technology solution to this and that people problem will come at you in an infinite variety of shapes and descriptions, but none of these will work if you don’t have the right data to feed them. We love the future as much as they and you do - that is why we offer to roll up our sleeves to: 1) help you align these efforts with problems you want to solve, 2) create new data sources that will help you see the world differently, 3) combine these with other data sources and 4) convert this into a powerful dataset to help you get to the value out of all this effort as efficiently as possible. The path to get there is winding and hard to explain, but when it's done right you can really tell the result!
We know neither your company, you, your HR systems, nor your HR data, are perfect. We also know that no technology or analysis will show you the right answers built on wrong data. Instead of sweeping the data collection, transformation and cleanup problems under the rug we address these realities head on and we get the job done so you can do your job, your real job - however you and those you work with have defined it.
Step 3 - Design an Architecture For Systematic Insight
Arbitrarily collected data, stored in arbitrary ways and visualized on arbitrarily designed dashboards will not produce useful business insight. Furthermore, even if it does work one time - beware the ravages of change. The shape of your organization, the relationships between people, what is important, and what you need to know will change over time. Designing a technology architecture to reliably produce business value over time requires careful thought. The design must precede perceived needs. It requires understanding a business model and context, designing great research frameworks, designing great research processes, designing great data collection instruments, and designing a technical people analytics operating environment that includes a spectrum of technologies necessary to address a spectrum of different data problems. It has to be modular. The pieces have to work with each other. It has to scale as demands will increase and change over time. Faster than you think.
Some companies sell you on a single system, let you assume it will do everything you need and leave it to you to figure out what you do with it as you go. That is convenient for them but after many years in your shoes I respectfully disagree with them, for you, and I help you (and ultimately them too) solve the problems that you are going to run into on your journey. Preparation, design, fit, sequencing, support and validation are key to successful people analytics application.
My experience is this: 1) while people analytics requires some investment in technology, greatness is never a result of technology alone, 2) there is no single application that performs all the necessary functions of people analytics well, 3) there is no worse waste of time, money and credibility for you than a project that costs a lot and totally misses downstream user needs and 4) there are some basic questions we can work through together on inexpensive technology before making a major investment in expensive technology to ensure that your investment in people analytics will have optimum impact. Learn more about the People Analytics IO HR Transformation Service.
Nothing of lasting significance has ever been accomplished without a team. The best of humanity exists in between individuals in the interlocking of interests. This is an open invitation to a discussion with folks interested in applying people analytics at their companies and folks interested in participating in the People Analytics Inputs and Outputs partnership.
Last but not least I gain inspiration from you! Thank you for coming by and reading my thoughts here. Be well, Mike West
We know that finding the right people to work for (or with) you is a choice not to be taken lightly. That’s why we offer free up-front consultation to walk you through your goals, needs and budget.
I’d love to spend 15 minutes together to hear about you and to answer any questions you have about the many different ways we could work together.
Mike is a pioneer in the field of people analytics. He was a founding member of people analytics at Merck, PetSmart, Google, Children’s Health Dallas, Jawbone, and Pure Storage. Mike has made other human resource management contributions at Atlassian, Udemy, Otsuka, AstraZeneca, University of Minnesota Clerical Labor Union & Hallmark.
Mike was one of a few early analyst hires on Google’s world-renowned People Operations team, credited with using data to reinvent HR and turn Google into the talent magnet that it is today. Mike’s contributions at Google included many firsts for people analytics at Google* & potentially the world. Since then, Google has built the most impressive reputation for HR in the world & gone on to win the #1 spot on the Global Fortune Best Company to Work For list an unprecedented 8 times.
*Mik'e’s firsts at Google included work on the first HR data reporting architecture, the first professional employee survey design, the first benefits analytics, the first employee on-boarding analytics and the first employee attrition analytics, which included Google’s first employee exit prediction model.
More detail is available at Mike’s LinkedIn profile. References available upon request.
Rich is a technology innovator, natural leader and creative problem solver. Rich has over 15 years experience with business intelligence/analytics and artificial intelligence in marketing and legal domains before pairing up with Mike West to take on human resources in 2013.
Rich recently developed and deployed, end to end, a streaming job candidate survey system AttractFactors™ at Pure Storage (PSTG). At MarketQuiz where he was CTO, Rich was responsible for preparing the MarketView360 business intelligence and analytics platform for scalability and acquisition due diligence by SCI, Ltd (now SCI MarketView). SCI purchased MarketQuiz, Inc. at the top 6th percentile in valuation of all published deals in 2008.
At VMAX, Rich built and owned a 23 person consulting firm doing work for Hyundai, Ford, General Motors, Kia, Nissan, iHeartMedia, Motorola, TRW and many others. Through VMAX, Rich developed an expertise with data process flows with large data sets (including multi-terabyte ones). VMAX was one of the vendors in this study with Verizon where Rich used artificial intelligence way back in 2006-8 to classify a large set of documents and do it better than a panel of attorneys.
Rich served as Controller and later CFO at the privately held Jana, inc and later as CEO/President at privately held STTI ($8MM -> $12MM revenues at peak) where he led a successful restructuring and turnaround effort necessitated by changes to property insurance coverage.
Rich’s has a 10+ year affiliation with the iamHeart.org meditation school. He usually spends at least an hour per day in practice. Rich is currently working to strengthen his personal connection with spirit and guidance and to integrate it into his daily life and decision making process.
More detail is available at Rich’s LinkedIn profile. References available upon request.
Activities & Affiliations
CPA (inactive/non-practicing), ‘95 - Current
Young Presidents’ Organization ‘96 - ‘98
Entrepreneurs’ Organization, ‘03 - ’10
iamUniversity of the Heart, Alumni Via Private Study With Mentor (24 mo. program)
iamHeart Graduate Program in Hurqalya Healing, ‘16 (19 mo. program)
iamHeart Graduate Program in Spiritual Leadership, ‘19 Candidate (19 mo. program)
UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN - MCCOMBS SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
M.A., Professional Accounting, ‘93
B.A., Business Administration, ‘93