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




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Now displaying: 2017
Nov 27, 2017

David Green speaks with Hani Nabeel, Director of Behavioural Analytics at Alderbrooke Group.

Hani has been researching ways to quantify and measure employee behaviour, and demonstrate the causal links that contribute to - or detract from - the stated goals of the organisations. It's an elusive concept but one that is becming increasingly essential, in certain industries in particular that are facing stricter regulation and closer scrutiny of the internal culture.

Until now, these have often been largely steered by simple goals such as revenue and productivity, but more complex challenges such as social responsibility, customer engagement, diversity and sustainability.

In this week's episode, they discuss:

  • The history and nature of Behavioural Analytics
  • The research currently taking place into putting behaviours into a practical and useful framework
  • The false assumptions and contradictions that are present in a huge number of organisations
  • The relationship between behaviour and work environment
  • What you can do to identify and cultivate the behaviours that will genuinely contribute to the culture and strategy your organisation needs to flourish.
Nov 9, 2017

Max Blumberg talks with Uri Gal, Associate Professor for Information Systems at the University of Sydney. The push to use data and analytics to drive decision-making in HR - as in the wider business - continues apace around the world. To varying degrees of advancement and success, human instinct continues to give ground to algorithms in guiding business strategy.

As a sociologist as well as an analyst, Uri talks with Max about what he sees as the potential pitfalls along the seemingly inexorable data-driven journey:

  • The major assumptions behind People Analytics, and how valid these assumptions really are
  • The dangers involving bias, and whether analytics is a help or a hindrance in overcoming it
  • Ethical issues involved in People Analytics - privacy, employee isolation and the mechanised workforce
  • Practical issues - the impact on managerial skills, innovation and worker motivation.

A provocative conversation that challenges a lot of the mainstream thought in this area. Please leave your comments below - join the conversation.

Oct 20, 2017

People Analytics Podcast - Recorded live at PAWorld17, QEII Centre, London


Facilitator: Max Blumberg - Visiting Professor, Leeds Business School

- Saima Poorghobad - Head of Commercial Projects, XpertHR

- Gareth Jones - Chief Technology Officer, The Chemistry Lab


Part 2


Max talks with two people with a different perspective on the People Analytics industry, coming from the consultatant/vendor side as well as press and industry commentary.

They discuss some of the key sessions, and how they see the practice developing currently and in the future.

Oct 5, 2017

Laurie Bassi, a leading figure in HR Analytics for many years, as well as former Economics professor and co-author of the industry textbook 'The Good Company', talks with Max Blumberg about the reasons why Employee Engagement fails to find traction outside HR, and how data and analytics can transform it from an HR cost centre to a demonstrable driver of business performance.


Max Blumberg talks with Laurie Bassi, one of the most senior figures in HR Strategy & Analytics, and co-chair of the People Analytics Forum 2017.

One of the mantras in HR, especially over the last decade, has been that Engaged Employees Are Good For Business. On this basis, HR professionals have looked for ways to measure, foster and improve this metric, but outside of HR, the enthusiasm for investing in this area has been significantly less.

The challenge, as with anything in business, is to demonstrate how and to what extent this somewhat ambiguous concept connects to the much more rigid world of profit and loss, financial growth and shareholder value. And as with so many areas of business, data and analytics offers a hugely promising way to tackle this, and create a proposition for investment that will satisfy even the most skeptical CFO and CEO.

In this week's episode, they discuss:

  • The relationship between HR and Economics,
  • The common misconceptions around Employee Engagement,
  • How technology is unravelling this complex relationship, and the assymmetry between different organisations,
  • Advice for HR professionals on how to rethink the way they approach the question of employee sentiment and its impact,
  • Kinds of data that could be relevant, and how to frame everything in the context of finance and performance.
Sep 22, 2017

People Analytics Podcast - Recorded live at PAWorld17, QEII Centre, London

Facilitator: Max Blumberg - Visiting Professor, Leeds Business School

- Ekkehard Ernst - Chief Macroeconomic Policy Officer, International Labor Organisation

- Sjoerd van den Heuvel - People Analytics Researcher, University of Applied Sciences, Utrecht

- Michael Carty - Benchmarking Editor, Personnel Today / XpertHR


Part 1


People Analytics World was a very busy two days. We somehow managed to pin down two of the speakers and a key industry commentator, amid a flurry of amazing sessions towards the end of Day Two, to give us their reflections on the event and the key themes that emerged.

They cover:

  • Cole Nussbaumer, and her showstopper presentation on Data Visualisation
  • Ross Sparkman of Facebook discussing the marriage of workforce planning and comon sense
  • True North Analytics, and their excellent report on analysing the impact of the Gender Pay Gap
  • The long term ROI and competitive advantage afforded by People Analytics
  • Standardisation of HR definitions and indicators
  • The shift in skill sets in HR
  • Career progression as an HR professional in analytics
  • Employee happiness as a corporate asset
  • Automation and the future of work
  • Collaboration and long-term strategic planning

Among many other topics. Listen to this pacy recap of just some of the fascinating highlights of this world summit.


Jul 20, 2017

David Green chats with Laurence Collins, Global Lead for HR Transformation and Workforce Analytics Consulting at Deloitte, for the final episode of thie season.

As People Analytics gradually becomes part of the workings of HR departments around the world, the concept of decision-making based on employee data has growing implications for people’s working lives.

As co-author the People Analytics chapter in the recent Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report, Laurence is more in touch than most people with the global strategic direction of analytics in HR. The report is in many ways a go-to point for professionals around the world for learning about the current business landscape and where they stand in relation to other organisations. There are few areas more fast-changing than analytics and data-crunching technology, and the knock-on effect can often be that the long-term questions are sidelined in favour of more immediate operational challenges.

This was a fascinating conversation between two people advising global businesses at the highest level – a great opportunity to hear about opportunities and challenges that are likely to affect all organisations at some point in the future, if not already.

They cover:

  • The main trends in the market
  • The common obstacles that companies typically have to overcome
  • What separates those companies who are successful from those that aren't
  • Innovative projects that are taking place around the world
  • Advice for HR and Analytics leaders on growing their capability
  • The old vs new rules of People Analytics, and recalculating the route (as alluded to in the GHCT Report)
  • AI and cognitive technology, and the likely impact on employee experience
  • The changing expectations of employees
  • Trust and privacy
  • The outlook for People Analytics, and advice for leaders on Digital Transformation.
Jun 1, 2017

Max Blumberg talks with Kevin Moore, Head of People Analytics at Gannett, home of USA Today.

Kevin shares his experience and lessons with us, describing how he built this new function to serve customers across the enterprise.

  • What is the roadmap for creating cost-effective yet highly effective analytics function
  • Finding the right balance between what to insource and what to outsource
  • How to decide which analytics projects to monetize and how to approach this
  • How effective is predictive analytics in the real world.

Kevin Moore is the Head of People Analytics at Gannett, publisher of the USA Today newspaper. He developed the HR analytics and reporting programme to serve all levels of clients across the organisation consisting of standard reports, ad-hoc reports, predictive analytics, special studies, and surveys.

Prior to Gannett, Kevin spent the majority of his career in HR Consulting serving clients across industries with HR analytics, change management, workforce planning, employee survey, and process improvement efforts.

Kevin holds a Masters in Human Resources Management and is a Certified as a Strategic Workforce Planner.

Dr Max Blumberg is founder of the Blumberg Partnership, a Top 50 analytics consultancy which provides innovative analytics consultancy to organisations including Nestle, Lloyds Register, the BBC, Rentokil Initial, Barclays Corporate and the CIPD. Max is also a Visiting Researcher at Goldsmiths, University of London, a Chartered Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society.

May 12, 2017

Episode 14: Strategic People Analytics

Max Blumberg talks with Alec Levenson, Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Effective Organizations, University of Southern California. He conducts research and consulting with companies on strategy, organisation design and talent management, and is a thought leader in HR analytics. His recent book is titled Strategic Analytics, which is the subject of this discussion.

In this week's episode, they discuss:

  • What causes gaps between HR and the business?
  • Building causal models which link people investments to strategic outcomes
  • Which HR processes require analytics focus and which do not
  • When people analytics ROI can be a dangerous thing
May 4, 2017

Within global Fortune 100 organizations, executives heavily rely on the rich analytics to inform business decisions about the products they create, the markets they serve, and how operations are run. But what about measuring managers, one of an organisation’s most vital assets? 

A Gallup study found that at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores is driven by manager behaviours. While executives can quantify discrete business outcomes like revenue generated, the actions that drives these results is often unclear, unmeasured and unseen.

Microsoft has identified the tacit connection between workplace behaviours and employee engagement and survey responses. In this presentation attendees will learn specific behaviour changes that can make managers more effective based on insights from within Microsoft as well as best practices based on research conducted by Microsoft for Fortune 100 companies.

Max Blumberg talks with Becky Thielen, Director for Global Workforce Data Insights, and her colleague in the new Workplace Analytics division, Jeremy Tyers.

In this week's episode, they discuss:

  • How Microsoft uses analytics to transform HR both internally and at its clients
  • Where the people analytics industry is heading
  • Competing technologies
  • How to measure the impact of managers behaviour on business performance and culture.
Apr 7, 2017

Episode 12:
Strategic Enterprise Analytics - Keeping HR Relevant

As People Analytics is growing in data quality, capability and scope, so other departments are beginning to draw workforce data into their own analytics programmes.

Similarly, technology is developing and further permeating business on all levels - from internal messaging to AI-driven insight to the Internet of Things.

All of this is leading some more advanced organisations to begin combining analytics and technology across domains, blending the tools, expertise and initiatives to form a strategic Enterprise Analytics function.

As departments like Marketing, Procurement and Finance are often further ahead in terms of analytics capability and sophistication, the challenge for HR is to step up and assert the importance and usefulness of workforce data in this new, integrated analytics approach.

One of the most recognisable names in HR and Business Analytics, Bernard Marr discusses with Max Blumberg several topics around the outlook for HR and Enterprise Analytics:

  • The main trends in Enterprise Analytics, such as fog computing, data minimisation and analytics democratisation
  • The application of AI in day-to-day business operations
  • How companies apply Enterprise Analytics in practice
  • How to maximise the value of data as a strategic asset
  • The four pillars of value creation as they apply to HR and the people function.
Mar 30, 2017

If this is what your organisation is doing now, what will you need to do in 10 years’ time? If your strategy is to be operating at 50% or 500% of your current size, how can you know what people and skills you will need, and where?

Strategic Workforce Planning is in many ways one of the most complex - and also most essential - fields of HR. Having an optimised workforce that is properly positioned and skilled to handle emerging and anticipated business challenges is of immeasurable benefit to the success of a business strategy. And of course, the converse is equally true.

It is therefore a massive opportunity to demonstrate a real, practical and commercially-beneficial use for workforce data, which delivers exactly what the CEO needs from HR.

One significan challenge in Workforce Planning is for rapid growth or downsizing, since it introduces a lot of unknowns into the equation. How do you anticipate the needs of your organisation when your whole operational structure has transformed entirely?

Clearly, one company that has experienced - and continues to experience - such change is Facebook.


In a relatively technical discussion, this week's episode sees Max Blumberg discuss the intricacies of Workforce Planning and its place within the wider People Analytics function of one of the world's most successful enterprises.

  • Workforce Planning for high growth
  • How Facebook structures its People Analytics function
  • The concept of an "optimised workforce" for strategy execution
  • Understanding the concept of 'critical workforce segments'
  • Understanding internal/external talent supply and demand
  • The role of deep statistics and optimisation in People Analytics
  • Top tips for setting up advanced People Analytics
Mar 24, 2017

Episode 10:
Building Global Enterprise Analytics at Nestlé

This week's episode was recorded live at the People Analytics Forum 2016 in London last November.


Being the world's biggest food company, with operations in more countries than the United Nations, Nestlé is never going to be the easiest organisation at which to oversee a global transformation of any kind.

Jordan Pettman led a development team at company HQ to create People Analytics and Workforce Planning tools and methodologies. The success of this project led to the need for a global roll-out for over 300,000 people in 194 countries.

Recorded on camera in the media lounge at People Analytics Forum 2016, Max Blumberg got an unmissable chance to speak in person with Jordan Pettman, and hear his own personal experiences of being at the helm of a project of jaw-dropping scale:

  • Creating an enterprise analytics function when you're one of the world's largest companies
  • Managing data privacy across regional boundaries
  • Dealing with vastly different levels of people analytics maturity and appetite around the world
  • Best practices for IT and people analytics collaboration
  • And much, much more.

Full video footage coming soon!

Mar 9, 2017

Does your organisation have a standard set of definitions for all concepts, relationships and interventions related to your workforce? Does your employee data all fit neatly into pre-defined boxes, with all interconnectivity already clearly mapped out?

No? Well, unsurprisingly, you're not alone.

The goal of standardising HR can seem mirage-like at times, and one could be forgiven for wondering if attempts to impose a framework of logic and statistics on every aspect of Human Capital Management is futile at best.

Nevertheless, most other areas of business operate in precisely this way. As we all know, dealing with humans is very different to dealing with materials and financials. But if the uncountable can be rendered countable, it would mean an immense operational - and consequently strategic - advantage. Effective real-world analytics of any kind relies on precisely this.


For the opening episode of the second season of the People Analytics Podcast, Max Blumberg talks with John Boudreau, one of the most recognised names in HR globally.

As Professor of Management at the University of Southern California, and Director of the Center for Effective Organizations, John's work has appeared regularly in the Harvard Business Review, among other similarly prestigious platforms, and his writing and teaching has influenced HR and Organisational Development around the world for decades.


In a fascinating interview, they discuss:

  • What HR standards really mean for a business

  • How HR practitioners and analysts can use HR standards to improve human capital effectiveness in their organisations

  • Linking people activity to organisational outcomes

  • How you can use supply chain concepts in the recruitment, development and retention of your people.


For more information on People Analytics, visit