Tucana People Analytics Podcast | Insights & Interviews from the World of Human Resources

Weekly interviews with leading practitioners, thought leaders and pioneers in the field of People Analytics, drawing in Workforce Planning, Employee Insight and game-changing technology. Find out what you can be doing to push ahead with your own work in People Analytics, and how your company can get a real cometitive edge by using the latest methods and technologies as they emerge. Chaired by Max Blumberg and David Green
RSS Feed Subscribe in Apple Podcasts
Tucana People Analytics Podcast | Insights & Interviews from the World of Human Resources




All Episodes
Now displaying: 2016
Nov 21, 2016

This week, Max Blumberg chats with Niall Cluley, former Global HR Director of Fitness First, about the critical link between culture and employee engagement, and how this ultimately impacts on business performance. Hear his thoughts on why it’s critical to get to grips with the links between engagement and performance, along with his approach and lessons learnt whilst at Fitness First.

In this week’s podcast you’ll hear Niall and Max discuss:

  • Why it is critical to get to grips with the links between behaviour and performance
  • How HR teams approach this challenge
  • A case study of the approach and lessons learnt at Fitness First
  • HR and data – what the challenges and opportunities are
  • 5 tops tips for measuring and linking engagement to business performance
Oct 26, 2016

Ian Bailie speaks about his personal journey in becoming a People Analytics leader at a global tech company, as well as the company’s journey in becoming a leader in this space, using analytics across the talent lifecycle.

Cisco Systems is one of the most recognisable brands in the technology industry, and Ian plays a very senior role in ensuring they are able to capture the very best talent in a notoriously competitive industry. He talks with David Green about:

  • Why People Analytics is important for HR and the business
  • The journey so far at Cisco, and what’s on the horizon
  • Some of the challenges that have been overcome
  • How the People Analytics team is organised
  • Advice for practitioners and organisations looking to get started
  • What the next trends are likely to be in the People Analytics space
  • A preview of Ian’s session at the upcoming People Analytics Forum in November.
Oct 11, 2016

What if publicly-listed companies had to report their HR metrics like talent capability and training costs in the same way that they reported profit-to-earnings and material investment?

It might sound unrealistic to some, but that view is not shared by the UK government, which has been working with the CIPD, CIMA and several other organisations on a project that aims to achieve precisely that.

The ‘Valuing your Talent’ initiative was the brainchild of Dr. Anthony Hesketh, professor at Lancaster University, and Peter Cheese, head of the CIPD. Dr. Hesketh went on to write the seminal paper that gave birth to the movement, which is slowly gaining momentum among businesses and professional associations.

Max Blumberg talks with Anthony Hesketh about this project, and also with Krysta Gough, who has been working with the CIPD, along with several others (Max included), to help design and implement this coming shake-up in how business views and measures its human capital.

Key questions they will answer:

  • Why is a human capital framework important, and who benefits?
  • How did ‘Valuing Your Talent’ arise as a concept?
  • What has been the response from industry so far?
  • What kind of challenges/obstacles/resistance are being faced?
  • Will we achieve standardisation when it comes to people metrics?
  • Why should companies get involved with VyT? And how can they get involved?
Oct 6, 2016

The challenges that HR faces in launching a sustainable People Analytics initiative, from gaining support among key partners and building influence around the organisation, to demonstrating value for them and proving the value of HR as a data-driven function of the business.

A People Analytics project – like any project – that doesn’t have external and senior support is unlikely to get off the ground. It’s essential to identify the key partners and build trust and support around the organisation.

Linda Kennedy has worked in senior HR roles in several major organisations, including SIG plc and T-Mobile. She has successfully launched several such initiatives, and is well-versed in the politics and psychology of lobbying, building influence, and convincing others of the actual and potential value of data-driven HR.

In this episode, she speaks with Max Blumberg – himself a qualified psychologist – about:

  • Identifying key partners
  • How to get them onside
  • The art and science of lobbying
  • The role of technology in driving change
  • Advice on how to become a more influential player in the organisation.
Sep 30, 2016

In this week’s episode, Max Blumberg spoke with Andrew Woolnough (at the time, Value Proposition Director, Willis Towers Watson) about the concept of People Risk – what it means, what role HR needs to play, and why it is critically important for the finances of the business.

Risk is a huge business issue, and considering the financial commitment that a company makes to Reward, Training, Recruitment and other People-related costs, the financial implications of analysing and controlling People Risk are immense.

As an insurer, Willis have been working extensively in this area, and Andrew gives a behind-the-scenes look at what they are finding. He explains how a Risk- and data-savvy HR department can have a direct and significant impact on a company costs, which is a prime concern of the C-Suite.

Ideas covered this week:

  • What is People Risk?
  • Who owns People Risk?
  • Risk mapping: what stage is HR at?
  • How does cross-functional collaboration enable better People Risk management?
  • What do insurers look at when assessing People Risk?
  • The new research currently taking place at Willis Towers Watson
  • The role of Health & Safety, and how this is being redefined
  • The link between General Insurance and Employee Benefits Insurance
  • How to identify, analyse and mitigate People Risk at your organisation.

Andrew Woolnough

Value Proposition Director
Willis Towers Watson
(at time of recording)

Sep 23, 2016
People Analytics presents one of the greatest opportunities HR has ever had to become a chief driving force in business, but HR has largely not realised this potential. Despite CEOs across the world saying publicly that they need an assertive and data-driven HR department, few HR leaders claim to be making significant progress in this area.

Mark Berry has built People Analytics functions at several companies, and has been recognised as one of the world’s top influencers in HR and in People Analytics. He was recognised an HR Trendsetter by HR Magazine, as well as receiving several other accolades over the last few years.

He talks with David Green about why HR is not delivering on it’s potential in analytics, how the internal dynamics of HR can hamper progress, and what skills and attitudes are needed in the CHRO to allow HR to fully grow into the data-driven organisation the that business desperately needs it to be.
Sep 15, 2016

David Ulrich and Max Blumberg discuss the idea of quantifying the value that both leaders and employees bring to the business:

  • What creates the value for a company?
  • How do we define this value?
  • Which are the companies that are doing the best work in this area?
  • What are the metrics of successful leadership?

They discuss Dave’s concept of the Leadership Capital Index, and how companies are now quantifying the aspects of good leadership.

They discuss measuring the contribution of employees across the organisation towards business success in financial terms:

  • What workforce metrics can be directly related to business success?
  • How do we justify to investors the investment in developing leadership and people management?
  • How do you convince investors of the value of people analytics?

Dave Ulrich outlines three ways to value a firm, and raises the question: how able are you to measure these things? And how do you communicate these values to investors and shareholders?

Finally, they discuss the challenge of focussing HR endeavours on business challenges, and putting HR investment into the context of business performance. They cover the cultural transformation required for HRDs to step up and speak on a level with the CFO and CMO in addressing the concerns of the CEO and investors.

Dave Ulrich

Read about his book, “The Leadership Capital Index: Realizing the Market Value of Leadership:

Max Blumberg

Sep 7, 2016

Received wisdom tells us that an engaged workforce is more productive. But how do we quantify this ‘engagement’ in order to measure its effect on performance? How does a company know what to measure, when and how often to measure it, and what value to put on various indicators, in order to be able to analyse this information about the workforce?

In order to demonstrate the ROI of Employee Engagement initiatives, it must be shown that there is a direct impact on business performance. Doing this may be easier said than done.

Peter has worked in senior, global roles at two of the world’s largest companies. Here he shares his perspective with Max Blumberg on where the concept of engagement has come from, what it means in the age of big data and analytics, and how companies can get commercially-useful insight into their workforce that justifies investment in engagement and motivation.


4 key questions:


1. If people are important to organisations, why is the media so full of stories about companies removing performance reviews (like the Big 4)? Surely it makes sense to review one’s most important assets?

2. Why do companies spend so much on engagement/opinion surveys, but so few seem to act on them? 

3. Are pulse surveys a fad, or something real that we should look forward to in the future?

4. Who really benefits more from a highly engaged workforce: the employees or the people that own the company?



Peter Wilde

Managing Director, Employee Research
Former Global Head of Employee Insight, Unilever
Former Global Head of Employee Research, UBS
Former Research Executive, Ipsos MORI


Max Blumberg

Research Fellow, University of London
Executive Advisor to CIPD
Founder, Blumberg Partnership