Management by the Numbers

The People Analytics Conference is a student initiative, sponsored by the Mack Institute.
The People Analytics Conference is a student initiative, sponsored by the Mack Institute.

Centuries after Socrates proclaimed “the unexamined life is not worth living,” managers have begun subjecting their routine processes for handling people to analysis. Organizations are asking questions about how effective their processes for hiring, firing, paying, and evaluating employees are, and they are looking to quantitative data for answers.

This branch of organizational science is called people analytics, and it is gaining a foothold in informing managerial decisions on how much weight to give to certain indicators when making decisions. An example of subjecting traditional processes to analyses is a study by Google which showed that interviews were not a great indicator of future job performance, allowing the company to scale back the interview process a bit and save their managers significant time in the process. People analytics are also being used in unexpected areas—the NFL draft uses them in deciding what characteristics indicate successful draft picks.

In a Knowledge@Wharton video interview, Practice Professor of Operations Management Cade Massey elaborates on the topic, emphasizing the strength of a people analytics approach in assessing untested traditional wisdom and debunking baseless intuitions.

On March 28th, Cade Massey will speak at the Mack Institute-sponsored People Analytics Conference, a student initiative that will explore this emerging field of study in more depth.

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