Keeping People at the Forefront of People Analytics

Prasad Setty, WG’99
Prasad Setty, WG'99, leading how organizations leverage data-driven people solutions.

Prasad Setty, WG’99, has pioneered what we know today as “people analytics.” In his 15-year career at Google, as vice president of People Analytics, he helped the organization attract and retain top talent and infused rigor and objectivity in how people are hired, rewarded, and recognized. Setty reflects that data and analytics are not a substitute for human judgment but instead are best used to help people make better decisions.

“In the people arena, analytics certainly helps illuminate the behavior of populations at large,” said Setty. “But when making decisions that affect individual lives — who you should hire, who you should promote, how to review performance — analytics can help us be better decision-makers. People analytics can help us understand and correct for our own biases and preferences.”

On campus, Wharton People Analytics is focused on the future of work, with research as its intellectual backbone. Setty has donated his support to Wharton in the form of a gift supporting People Lab, a collaboration between People Analytics and the Anne and John McNulty Leadership Program. People Lab is a research-based assessment and development ecosystem that fuels personal growth, helping individuals and researchers identify and develop qualities vital to long-term success. By inviting learners to use the lab’s resources, Wharton aims to support ongoing growth and development for employees at various life stages.

Additionally, Setty provided a gift to fund the prizes for the Wharton People Analytics Case Competition, which gives students an opportunity to put their people-analytics skills to the test by tackling a specific real-world challenge faced by a nonprofit partner. This year’s competition will be a part of the 10th People Analytics Conference.

“It’s great to see much broader interest from students in the organizational and social sciences compared to the past,” Setty said. “Our relationship with work is changing. What people want from work is not just a paycheck. They want meaningful, satisfying jobs that help them have an impact in the world. Using analytics to help everyone have a positive relationship with their jobs and their workplaces is good for us and for society.”