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People Analytics: HR Transformation through Data

Program Overview

People analytics is the most radical change to affect human resources in the last 30 years. Until recently, HR decisions have generally been guided by tradition, perceived best practices, and gut instinct. But today, world-class organizations are increasingly turning to sophisticated analytical approaches to determine which candidates to hire, to retain, and, ultimately, how to manage them.

In People Analytics: HR Transformation Through Data, you will learn how to fully engage in your organization’s analytics and positively impact the way you manage talent. The program covers the basic statistical and analytic approaches that allow companies to transform people data into useful insights, and surveys the different ways in which leading edge organizations are using data to change the way they manage people. Designed for HR leaders and senior-level hiring managers, this program will give you the insightful knowledge and tools you need to harness the power of data to make better HR decisions and change the way you manage people.

Academic Director Cade Massey says People Analytics: HR Transformation through Data is about making more rigorous decisions.

Program Experience

Highlights and Key Outcomes

In People Analytics: HR Transformation through Data, you will:

  • Discover how and when data can be used to make key employee decisions
  • Become an educated and savvy consumer of HR data, recognizing the good and the bad in terms of data collection and applications
  • Understand how leading companies are using people analytics
  • Consider relevant legal and ethical issues in HR decisions
  • Become an agent of change toward an HR analytics culture and position yourself as a strategic partner in your company’s talent management

Experience & Impact

People analytics began as a technical human resources function that focused narrowly on engagement and retention. Today it is increasingly applied across global organizations to solve a wide range of business challenges. Some of the world’s most successful companies (such as Google, Nissan, and Goldman Sachs) are using people analytics to improve hiring and promotion, performance evaluation, job design, compensation, and collaboration. But while many companies say tapping into their employee data is a priority, only a minority of organizations has usable data, and even fewer are putting it to use. That means developing the knowledge and tools needed to exploit this fast-growing field can give your career and your organization a serious advantage

People Analytics explores data-driven techniques for managing people, and for making more strategic, systematic decisions that affect the organization as a whole. It will help prepare you to take a leadership role in building an analytics capability in your organization, as opposed to learning the number-crunching skills of data scientists. Taught by the directors of the Wharton People Analytics initiative, the program examines the topic on three levels — data collection, analysis, and application — and offers state-of-the-art research and applications for each. By gaining greater insights into your workforce, you will be able to help them engage more positively and productively, and reduce risks.

Because merely having data is not sufficient, better and worse uses of HR data are explained using real-world examples. You will learn methods for avoiding decision biases, including employing machine-based algorithms. Finally, best-practice approaches to drawing rigorous conclusions based on collected data from some of the world’s most successful companies are explored.

This dynamic, hands-on program is a true learning laboratory, leveraging the latest insights and best practices to help you and your organization move to the analytics forefront. In addition to lectures, case studies, an industry panel, and exercises, you will work throughout the week in small groups on a real-world issue, making recommendations based on your findings. You will also discuss specific challenges with faculty and fellow participants as you begin to explore how people analytics can be applied in your organization.

Session Topics

The theories and applications of People Analytics will be examined as they relate to:

  • Internal and External Hiring
  • Promoting, Retaining, and Engaging Talent
  • Team Building
  • Legal and Ethical Questions
  • Decision Biases
  • Network Analysis: Measuring and Managing Cooperation
  • Emerging Technologies

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Who Should Attend


Professor Cade Massey on who should attend.


People Analytics was designed for executives responsible for hiring and managing talent. Those who want to build analytics capabilities, improve the quality of talent, and learn better tools for managing and leading organizations will also benefit. In particular, the program attracts HR professionals, business unit and general managers, and leaders of mid-size to large companies.

Fluency in English, written and spoken, is required for participation in Wharton Executive Education programs unless otherwise indicated.


Group Enrollment

To further leverage the value and impact of this program, we encourage companies to send cross-functional teams of executives to Wharton. We offer group enrollment benefits to companies sending four or more participants.

FAQs

What is human resource analytics (HR analytics) about?

Human resource analytics is the use of existing data and analysis to make better decisions about human resources topics. Common areas of interest include: hiring; increasing employee engagement; and gauging and improving productivity, collaboration, and diversity. Without analytics, those topics have been traditionally addressed through a mix of judgment, best practices, and prior experience.

What is workforce analysis?

Workforce analysis is the use of data and analysis to better understand the characteristics of a current workforce and to optimize the makeup of that workforce by hiring the right people and managing them so they deliver value to the organization. Workforce analysis is also another name for human resource analytics.

Why are analytics important for HR?

Analytics are important for human resources because talent management involves hundreds of important decisions, and we know from elsewhere in business that decisions are improved with data and analysis. Instead of guessing, analytics allows HR to analyze in a structured way what has worked in the past. This informs decisions on who to hire and promote, and how to pay, retain, and assign jobs to employees. For example, you get a better understanding of who to hire if you know who is already performing well in the organization.

What is HR data?

The most fundamental kind of HR data is basic information about who you employ, in what jobs, how they perform, and what you pay them. Another layer of human resource data involves recruitment, and includes applicant tracking systems to collect information on who applies, who gets interviewed, who gets an offer, and who is coming. For some positions, HR data can also include detailed individual performance data. For example, at a call center, HR may know how many calls someone makes, how long they are at their desk, and how many sales they make.

What are the HR metrics?

Metrics are the basic measures used to evaluate the health of HR management within an organization. The most common human resource metrics include: turnover rate, employee engagement scores (self-reported), ratio of jobs filled internally versus externally, number of open vacancies and time to fill each job, how the organization is viewed in the external market, number of people hired through referrals, and pay raises (average pay per employee, increase in pay per employee).

What is recruiting analytics?

This is the application of analysis and data specifically to the process of recruiting people. There are two areas that analytics can help with. The first is optimizing the recruiting process. Analytics helps better determine who to recruit by using data on the performance of existing employees to understand which candidates are most likely to be successful. The second area is using recruiting analytics as a scorecard, tracking the success of the recruiting function. Key data points include time to fill, number of interviews per offer, offer yield, and cost per hire.

What is an HR scorecard?

This is a set of metrics used to assess an organization’s HR function. It can include topics such as engagement, turnover, growth in headcount, growth in pay, and vacancies.

What does KPI mean in recruitment?

KPI is the abbreviation for key performance indicator. It is used to track how well the recruiting function is working, and can include time to fill, cost per hire, offer yield, quality of hire, and number of people who stay in the job for a specific amount of time.

What is external hiring?

When a company fills a job, it can find someone to work for them who is currently outside the company (external hiring) or look to candidates already working for them in other roles (internal hiring).

What are the benefits of internal recruitment?

There are four key benefits to hiring an existing employee.

  • First, internal hires know the organization and culture already, and have established relationships. They therefore tend to perform better than external hires over their first few years on the job.
  • Second, little or no effort is required for training and onboarding internal hires.
  • Third, because so much is already known about the employee, it is less likely that a mistake will be made when hiring internally. This is because decisions are based on actual performance rather than on a resume.
  • Finally, because other firms may not consider internal candidates, they tend to cost less than external hires.

What are the advantages of external recruitment?

Important benefits to hiring externally include bringing in skills and capabilities that are currently absent in the organization, adding diverse perspectives, and keeping the culture more open and dynamic.

What is the internal recruitment process?

Internal recruiting is finding existing employees to fill job openings. This may begin with the posting of jobs on internal job boards or through word of mouth. The process can also begin by identifying existing employees who need experience in other roles or who would do well in other roles. Then, the employees apply for the open jobs and a selection process takes place. The final step is acceptance of the job offer.

How do you improve employee retention?

Improving retention begins with recruiting: hiring people who are most likely to succeed in the job and stay with the company. During the interviewing process, be realistic about what the job will be like, rather than trying too hard to sell the company. This results in self-selection, with those wrong for the job dropping out. There are also many factors that can improve retention post-hire. Effective onboarding, creating a positive relationship with the manager, providing opportunities for growth, and communicating what a career path looks like can all improve retention. The job itself may also be redesigned to prevent boredom and to allow the employee’s strengths to be better utilized.

What factors affect employee engagement?

People tend to be more engaged when the demands of the job roughly match their abilities. Being stretched too far can create burnout, and not enough challenge can create boredom. Variety in work, helpful feedback, being able to see the results of one’s efforts, and being given autonomy also create engagement. Other factors include good relationships with coworkers and managers, and having a culture in which leaders are able to inspire people with a vision that resonates with their values.

Faculty


Matthew Bidwell

Matthew Bidwell, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Academic Director

Associate Professor of Management, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Human resource management, knowledge workers, worker mobility


B Cade Massey

Cade Massey, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Academic Director

Practice Professor, Operations, Information and Decisions, The Wharton School

Research Interests: People analytics, judgment under uncertainty, organizational behavior


Zeke Hernandez

Exequiel Hernandez, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Max and Bernice Garchik Family Presidential Assistant Professor, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Global networks, internationalization, immigration, innovation, knowledge management, mergers and acquisitions


Prasanna Tambe

Prasanna Tambe, PhDSee Faculty Bio

Associate Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Economics of IT labor, technological change, and labor markets


Kevin Werbach

Kevin Werbach, JDSee Faculty Bio

Professor of Legal Studies & Business Ethics, The Wharton School

Research Interests: Business, legal, and social implications of the internet and communications technologies

Testimonials


I work in employer branding and talent acquisition at Bertelsmann in Germany. Bertelsmann is a media, services, and education company that operates in about 50 countries around the world. It includes the broadcaster RTL Group, the trade book publisher Penguin Random House, the magazine publisher Gruner + Jahr, the music company BMG, the service provider Arvato, the Bertelsmann Printing Group, the Bertelsmann Education Group, and Bertelsmann Investments — an international network of funds. Over the past year, I’ve specialized in focusing on employer branding and talent acquisition in the data analytics and data science space. So I had two reasons for taking the Wharton course: to be able to better converse with my target group and additionally to understand how I can use data analytics in my own job.

I really liked the program. First and foremost, it helped me move past the buzzwords that surround data analytics and data science into an understanding of the technology, as well as the greater implications of using that technology. Additionally, what I found fantastic — and that I didn't expect — was just how quickly the professors got the group together. I felt that everyone spoke extremely openly about the challenges that they're going through, their corporate culture, where they're at, and where they want to go. Hearing the unguarded opinions of about 20 other people in top positions in major industries really helped me better identify where the core challenges and opportunities are in my company.

In terms of timing, the course was the perfect length. Especially during my company’s recruiting season, I don’t have two weeks to spare. I looked at other schools, but their programs were either too long or too short. This one was long enough that you really did a deep dive, but not so much that you’re out of the office for too long.

I thought the program was phenomenal and flawlessly organized. The content was amazing, and all of the faculty were top-notch. They had a really nice way of talking with everybody and making even highly complex technical subjects understandable. I also liked that there were faculty members from different countries. Overall, I was very satisfied."

Pamela TaylorDirector, Employer Branding & Talent Acquisition, Bertelsmann SE & Co.


I'm a director of expeditionary warfare for the Navy. I’m very interested in Big Data, and there’s a major push here in the Navy to look at artificial intelligence and machine learning and how it can be applied to our work.

I thought Wharton’s People Analytics program was phenomenal. I previously attended Penn’s CLO program, and I felt like this was an extension of the fantastic experience I had at the Graduate School of Education. The format, and the people you meet, were great. I came back to work energized.

The course really gave me good benchmarks with which to judge the quality of proposals I might get from outside companies on artificial intelligence. It gave me insight into the kinds of questions I need to ask. A lot of people throw around the terms ‘machine learning’ and ‘artificial intelligence,’ but the course helped me realize that it’s not a black box, it’s not magic; there actually is a set of algorithms you need to understand. So I found that very useful.

The course also helped me explain to my leadership the value of people analytics. There’s a war for talent these days, and the more you can use analytical tools to help you rather than leaving it to chance or personal testimonials, the better talent you’re going to get.

The participants were almost a Who’s Who of corporations — people from Microsoft, Coca-Cola, eBay, banking, and management consulting firms, and they were from all over the world. Our discussions were invaluable to me. I work in the Pentagon, so we are kind of single-mindedly focused on defense, but going to the course and getting different perspectives — especially from people in commercial industries — gave me a great inside view of how they see things and where they’re headed.”

Frank DiGiovanniDeputy Director, Expeditionary Warfare Division, U.S. Navy


I work on military and civilian talent management and human resource support. I have 30 plus years in human resources both in uniform and out of uniform, and I think I’m someone who understands that you need to move forward. There are new ways of doing business; people analytics and how we manage people is changing. And if you don't get on board this fast-moving train you're going to find yourself way behind.

I thought the program was exceptional. I especially liked the case studies and the predictive models. The faculty were true professionals. Professor Matthew Bidwell was really helpful in showing us how to use the models in human resources and personnel hiring. I also enjoyed the panel, hearing about their experiences in the field as they applied analytical models to their day-to-day business including hiring, selection, and recruiting.

We do a lot of data analytics in the Joint Special Operations Command, but we haven't yet leveraged that against our personnel side. The course gave me a framework to go forward, to start applying and integrating this into human resources, which was very beneficial for me.

A few of us in the class were government employees. We really learned from the civilian sector and how important it is to apply people analytics in the competitive markets. There was also a large contingent of international participants and it was great to get their perspectives.

Everything was first-class, from the instruction and information to the coordination, meals, and staff support. It was an exceptionally well-run program. I absolutely would recommend the course and thought it was very valuable.”

Mike CopenhaverDeputy Director for Personnel, Joint Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg


I lead the people analytics function at H-E-B, a Texas grocery retailer with stores in major U.S. cities such as Austin, San Antonio, and Houston, and in Mexico. We have about 100,000 employees. My team partners with different departments within human resources, and with business leaders, to help them better understand their populations. We’re also working toward doing some predictive analytics in the near future.

I loved Professor Cade Massey’s focus on using data to make decisions. That was very helpful from an influencing perspective: how to get others to buy into the analytics ideas you’re presenting. And the subjects that Professor Matthew Bidwell discussed were really helpful from a technical standpoint. So the course took some of the statistical analysis with which I’m familiar, and combined it with ways to leverage my expertise and help the company make informed decisions.

Through this course, I was glad to discover that that my group at H-E-B is headed in the right direction. I’m much more confident about our ideas than I was before. Ever since I completed the course, I’ve really ratcheted up my level of effort toward pushing these ideas in front of our executives.

The ability to have productive conversations with the other course participants was really important to me, and that feature was well integrated into the program by pretty much every speaker. You gained a lot from hearing what other participants thought about certain issues. Plus, having breakfast, lunch, and dinner together was really helpful to get to talk to people a little more. Getting to know everyone made the in-class conversation better.

One of the biggest takeaways for me was understanding that my company’s challenges aren’t super unique. I was put at ease by discovering that a lot of people face similar problems and they all have creative ways to approach them.

The faculty were fantastic. One thing I especially appreciated was how interactive the course was. When the professors would ask questions, you never felt like they were restricting how you could respond. They took what you said and played off it, made it more of a discussion and asked even more probing questions. The faculty were genuinely interested in learning from us, which I thought was phenomenal. I highly recommend the program."

Adrian M. Pérez Statistician/People Analytics Leader, H-E-B, San Antonio, Texas


I am a tenured professor at the University of Houston, and I work in the area of faculty engagement and development. I am also a certified organizational ombudsperson (CO-OP), and my office consults with individuals and organizations on conflict resolution strategies. We provide interventions to help faculty become more productive, happy, and balanced. We are interested in finding ways to help our faculty flourish. We have lots of data, which we need to turn into insights. Turning information into insights was one of the things that initially attracted me to the People Analytics program.

I loved the program. In four days, the professors were able to teach us the basics of people analytics, as well as take a deeper dive into blockchain technology, data privacy, and networking theory. My educational background includes law, analytics, and human resources management. Thus, every single lecture was useful to me. I feel the program design was spot-on for bridging these three important areas.

The faculty were excellent. Dr. Bidwell was very easy to talk to, and he really brought industry perspective. There were some technical concepts that were new to me and the other participants, and Dr. Tambe did an amazing job of explaining them. I think it was the first time we all understood blockchain.

Drs. Bidwell and Massey drove home the point that you need to be purposeful and intentional with the questions you ask to ensure you gather the right data. I’m now putting this to use as I design new programs, interventions, and experiments.

The participants had a nice balance of skill sets that made it easy for us to work together in teams. We enjoyed meals together as a group, which built community. Moreover, there is really no need to leave the conference center, which is first-rate. I made some great contacts and friends during the program, and we are all connected now through LinkedIn.”

Je’Anna AbbottProfessor/Ombudsperson, University of Houston


I decided to enroll in People Analytics to get an overview from a practitioner point of view. In particular, I wanted to find out about the changes that people analytics is causing in the structure of human resources departments, the outcomes produced by these teams, and the skillsets of the people involved. I also wanted to find out about leading-edge and experimental concepts and how they are shaping the HR function.

I had a very good experience with the program and learned a lot. I really appreciated the breadth of content. We dealt with areas that I had wanted to learn about: the recruitment field, engagement, retention, predictive analytics, and some of the data traps that one encounters along the way. So not only did it give me a kind of user guide for how to approach analytics, but it gave me some warning signs about the pitfalls, which I thought was fantastic. There was also very good coverage of the legal considerations.

I really appreciated how the content was carefully positioned to be useful to both executives who shape decisions and want to introduce people analytics into their portfolio, and people actually involved with data analysis. It wasn’t a statistics course and it wasn’t overly high level. I thought that was a really smart choice.

The core faculty were spot-on. Cade Massey was very good and brought in a lot of sports science which was very relevant. Matthew Bidwell was very knowledgeable in aspects of retention and engagement and how to use analytics for that.

A few of my colleagues from Coca-Cola and my professional network have asked me about the program, and I’ve recommended it. I think it’s an excellent program for people responsible for making better HR decisions in companies. I would say even for general management this could be very helpful.”

Jozsef BlaskoGlobal HR Talent Strategy Consultant, Europe

Date, Location, & Fees

April 14 – 17, 2020Philadelphia, PA$9,375


Download the program schedule, including session details.

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Fees for this program include accommodations and meals. Prices are subject to change.

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Contact Us

Schedule a personalized consultation to discuss your professional goals:

 +1.215.898.1776

 execed@wharton.upenn.edu


Prof. Cade MasseyWharton People AnalyticsUsing data to advance how organizations make decisions about people. Learn more about the inititative »

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