Hosted by Dr. Shreya Sarkar-Barney

 A Systems Approach To Analytics

Dr. Alec Levenson

A lot of companies fuss about incorporating fancy analytics into their most current approaches. However, they can get more value by focusing on asking the right questions. In other words, focusing on the relevance of the present business conditions can be a lot more beneficial than fancy algorithms. Our guest, Dr. Alec Levenson, discusses why organizations struggle to derive value from their HR analytics efforts and offers useful suggestions for improvement. Specifically, he mentions the effectiveness of a systems approach to HR analytics. If your company has been looking for better approaches, this podcast provides some useful guidance on incorporating a systems analytics approach.


      By subscribing you receive notification when a new podcast is released and gain access to the podcast transcript

    About Our Episode on Systems Analytics

    1. The difference between HR analytics, people analytics and workforce analytics.

    2. In one of your blogs you write about a fallacy, the fallacy of data mining, and simple modeling. What are you referring to with this fallacy and and why is it a concern?

    3. What are the important questions that HR Analytics teams should be focusing on and how should they go about answering them with their data?

    4. You talked about measuring what matters. A lot of people would say that most analytics efforts are focused on what’s available in the HR state of things. But even when companies are doing their own surveys, are they truly measuring what matters?

    This podcast is on the topic of HR analytics. Our guest Dr. Alec Levenson, from the Center for Effective Organizations at the University of Southern California, discusses why organizations struggle to derive value from their HR analytics efforts.  Alec and I met earlier in the year at a panel hosted by the founder of COSI, Dr. Arti Shyamsunder. For one thing, the panel itself was a great format. We were a multidisciplinary group and were given a set of business scenarios and asked to present a solution.

    In particular, Alec’s approach caught my attention. His approach struck me as being comprehensive and yet very practical.  Since then, I have had a chance to get to know him and his approaches bit more.  In the process, I realized why organizations fail to get benefits from their analytics efforts. We dive into those issues so you can do the few things that produce the most value. Be sure to check out the links to his book and blogs on strategic analytics.

    Meet the Speaker From our Episode on Systems Analytics

    Dr. Alec Levenson

    Dr. Alec Levenson

    Senior Research Scientist, Center for Effective Organizations, University of Southern California.


    Dr. Alec Levenson is a Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Effective Organizations at the University of Southern California. Trained as a labor economist, he exemplifies what it means to be a multidisciplinary scientist-practitioner. More specifically, Dr. Levenson’s research focuses on the economics of human resources and organization design. For example; HR and human capital metrics, analytics, and return on investment; and global and emerging market talent strategies.

    Notably, Dr. Levenson has received research grants from various agencies such as the Sloan Foundation, Russell Sage Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the National Science Foundation. Additionally, he works with Fortune 100 companies to optimize job and organization performance and HR systems through the application of organization design, job design, human capital analytics, and strategic talent management. His research has been published in numerous academic and business publications, and has been featured in New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Economist, CNN, Fox News, and many other news outlets. Dr. Levenson holds a Masters and Ph.D. in Labor Economics from Princeton University

    Links to books and blogs on HR Analytics by Dr. Levenson

    • Levenson, A. Strategic Analytics: Advancing Strategy Execution and Organizational Effectiveness, Oakland, CA: Berrett-Koehler, 2015.
    • HR data and analytics manifesto: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/i-solemnly-swear-hr-data-analytics-manifesto-alec-levenson/
    • The right way to scorecard HR (don’t focus on turnover & safety): https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/right-way-scorecard-hr-dont-focus-turnover-safety-alec-levenson/
    • Beware the HR analytic barbarians: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/beware-hr-analytic-barbarians-alec-levenson/
    • Strategic analytics is a team sport: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/strategic-analytics-team-sport-alec-levenson/
    • Workforce data systems are junk food not a gold mine: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/workforce-data-systems-junk-food-gold-mine-alec-levenson/

    Listen to us on


    Certified in Workforce Planning