To bring the performance of people analytics up—and in line with the hype— organizations need to do more than analyze data on demographic attributes. They need to employ relational analytics, which examines data on how people interact, to identify “high potentials,” who has good ideas, who is influential, what teams will get work done on time, and more. Companies can mine their “digital exhaust”—data created by employees every day in their digital transactions, such as e‐mails, chats, “likes,” “follows,” @mentions, and file collaboration—for insights into their workforce. Drawing from our ongoing research on space missions, as well as from a large body of other scholars’ research, we identify structural signatures to help organizations address challenges they face with issues such as team conflict, team assembly, diversity and inclusion, succession planning, team assembly, and post-merger integration.
Noshir Contractor is the Jane S. & William J. White Professor of Behavioral Sciences in the McCormick School of Engineering & Applied Science, the School of Communications and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. He is the Director of the Science of Networks in Communities (SONIC) research center. He is investigating factors that lead to the formation, maintenance, and dissolution of dynamically linked social and knowledge networks in a wide variety of contexts. He received the National Communication Association Distinguished Scholar Award in 2014 and was elected as a Fellow of the International Communication Association in 2015. He was the co-founder and Chairman of Syndio (since then acquired by Edge Analytics), which offers organizations products and services based on network analytics. In 2018 he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. He has a Ph.D. in Communication from the Annenberg School of Communication at the University of Southern California.