The philosophy behind “Decoding the Workforce” is that the proper application of data and analytics can be used to answer some of the most intractable questions about the workforce and ultimately to unlock the potential of countless employees across every single industry and vertical. I’ve seen first-hand how data-driven insight can lead to dramatically better decision-making than gut feel and intuition, which is subject to the biases that we all inevitably bring to our work. I use this website to help promote ideas that will ultimately yield a more evidence-based approach to workforce management.
My background is a little unusual in that I’m trained as an Economist but I’m a Data Scientist at my very core. I studied health care management and organizational behavior in graduate school and eventually joined a start-up company called Pascal Metrics, Inc. that is focused on measuring, visualizing, and improving patient safety culture in hospitals. I learned that when doctors and nurses work well together, there is a significantly lower incidence of infections, readmissions, medication errors, and even “never events” like wrong site surgeries and retained instrument post-operation.
I left Pascal Metrics to take a sabbatical from health care and joined another early-stage company called Evolv, Inc. where we use data and analytics in order to optimize workforce profitability at all stages of the employee lifecycle: (1) hiring; (2) development; and (3) plateau / separation. What I’ve learned from my time at Evolv is that most companies still manage their workforce on the basis of gut feel and intuition. By injecting big data and predictive analytics into that process, there are huge opportunities to optimize these decisions and improve workforce profitability.
Starting with health care and studying organizational culture in hospitals taught me that medicine is one of the most complex institutional, political, social, and economic environments that there is. If you can make it work there, you can make it work anywhere. But even as I’ve moved afield from health care, I’ve found certain themes that are present regardless of what industry you’re studying: when you bring in better raw talent, train them well, build positive workplace relationships, and create a strong organizational culture, you inevitably see significantly better workforce outcomes that can be a significant driver of workforce profitability for large companies.
“Workforce Science” is the nascent term that people have given to this line of study and I am proud to consider myself a Workforce Scientist. I’m pretty sure that I have the coolest job in the world because I get to study what makes people engaged at work, what keeps them longer, and what allows them to reach their full potential. Through the use of big data and predictive analytics, my ultimate goal is to create a happier and more engaged workforce.