HR Analytics at Google, 8 tips from Prasad Setty

Luk Smeyers, with iNostix is our guest blogger. Thanks Luk for continuing to provide great content!

No HR background

Prasad Setty, a self-described "numbers guy," never expected to find himself in HR, says Andrew McIlvaine in a 2010 article in HREonline. "If you'd asked me in business school if I would be spending time in HR, I would've laughed, because I thought HR was soft and fluffy and that I had no intuition for people issues," says Setty, who holds an MBA from the Wharton School and a master's degree in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

VP of People Analytics

And yet today, Setty is happily ensconced in HR at Google Inc., albeit in a numbers-driven role, serving as the company's VP of people analytics. "Google is a great place to try a data-driven approach to HR," says Setty, who joined the Mountain View, Calif.-based technology behemoth in 2006 after stints at McKinsey & Co. and Capital One.

At Google, Setty's mandates includes:

· finding better ways to determine what's on the minds of "Googlers," as the company's employees are called

· making sure top performers stay with the company and continue to innovate throughout their careers

Setty’s 8 tips for HR Analytics

· understand what's important to the organization on a people level (and start measuring it)

· determine what's on the mind of your employees

· measure the impact good managers have (and develop more of them)

· build a decision-making system that avoids cognitive errors

· measure the intention to stay or leave (and not a long satisfaction survey)

· compare retention scores of high performers versus low performers

· be very transparent with results of surveys

· identify low performers and give them the opportunity to course-correct

Not copying best practices

In so doing, he's found a way to match numbers and HR in exciting new ways, encouraging his HR staff to push the boundaries of what can be done within the profession. This is partly out of necessity: Given its unique culture of constant invention, Google simply isn't interested in copying best practices from other large companies, says interviewer McIlvaine.

You can read the full article here.