This year was my first year at PAFOW East - the mind child of the incredible Al Adamsen and David Green. It’s been absolutely mind-blowing to see the field of People Analytics grow so quickly. Personally, I felt a “home coming” for the 2nd time in my professional career. The first time, was as a PhD student when I stumbled upon tech entrepreneurship. I was doing some field research on “creativity under pressure” with a bunch of startup founders. I felt this feeling of “finding your tribe” for the first time. Today I felt it again: I entered people data nerd land and I was as happy as a child in the candy store. I will never forget as a consultant  when I worked with a partner that did not understand the difference between r (Pearson correlation coefficient) and Rsq (Determination coefficient), even though related, they are definitely conceptually a very different thing. Getting carried away, my 10 take aways from the PAFOW East 2018 are:

  1. Team Design is a thing! Alignment between Job & Role design, team design and organisational design, is key to successfully structuring your organisations work. Read more about team design here
  2. “Every business problem has its algorithm” Good place to start to find out which one you might need is to follow Cassie Kozyrkov (Chief Decision Engineer @Google Cloud) or talk to us :) 
  3. Every successful people analytics initiative starts with a business problem, not the other way around. Even though people analytics is a diagnostics field, it’s a much better approach to focus on “patients that feel the pain” instead of trying to hunt behind people and point out unhealthy behaviour. Pragmatism and stakeholder management is key.
  4. Most focus is still on “continuously measuring” organisational health KPIs. At the same time a gap still exists: There is a lack of systematic & scalable change management solutions.
  5. Automated data collection about how you work is the new hot topic. It’s already happening, but still in its infancy. People continue to use surveys and the market rewards them: check out the acquisition of Glint by LinkedIn!
  6. People analytics is not HR. No-one is really HR in the future. We are employee experience specialists, talent & leadership analysts, organisational designers, and developers, and so on.
  7. Data literacy is a thing and pioneering companies (like ABNAmro - thanks Patrick Coolen for the insights) take it very seriously. They are finding engaging ways to train their HR teams. 
  8. Structure is important in your people analytics efforts: Some problems are better solved in-house, but many of the people analytics challenges should be solved with partners that specialise in particular areas (see Emsi for talent economics or Bunch for team collaboration & company culture data).
  9. GDPR is not a thing - or is it? We are all GDPR compliant. Everything else is unclear, not even Facebook knows, and they kinda have to.
  10. We gotta do it together! I was mind blown by the support and offers to help and collaborate during PAFOW East. First, Al who fit us into the program literally 1 week before the conference to Chris Butler at OneModel to Bruce Evans at Emsi and the amazing founders of Worklytics (shoutout to Philip). It is very clear: The future of work is bright and collaborative.

It’s a wrap. Thanks to all the amazing speakers and I hope to see you all again at the next people data nerd fest in 2019!

High Five from New York.