Using People Analytics to Build an Equitable Workplace


People analytics, the application of scientific and statistical methods to behavioral data, traces its origins to Frederick Winslow Taylor's classic The Principles of Scientific Management in 1911, which sought to apply engineering methods to the management of people. But it wasn't until a century later -- after advances in computer power, statistical methods, and especially artificial intelligence (AI) -- that the field truly exploded in power, depth, and widespread application, especially, but not only, in Human Resources (HR) management. By automating the collection and analysis of large datasets, AI and other analytics tools offer the promise of improving every phase of the HR pipeline, from recruitment and compensation to promotion, training, and evaluation. Now, algorithms are being used to help managers measure productivity and make important decisions in hiring, compensation, promotion, and training opportunities -- all of which may be life-changing for employees. Firms are using this technology to identify and close pay gaps across gender, race, or other important demographic categories.