Mercer’s 2015 Survey, “Inside Employees Minds”

“Brains.”  Attributed to Annabellaphoto.

In September 2015, Graham Dodd from the Canadian offices of Mercer released the results of a large survey of employees across Canada.  Amongst their findings, was that plenty of employees with high job satisfaction are still considering leaving their current employer.  It makes sense; those who are driven and talented will be both engaged and also looking for their next adventure.  Why would we presume that employees who strive are those that are easily satisfied?

The Mathematics of Love

Photo by Peter Burka.

In this fascinating TED talk by Hannah Fry, the speaker describes three mathematical algorithms that explain love.  One of her findings was that the number of romantic advances someone receives is improved if there are polarized views of whether they are attractive.  That is, you will approach someone if you think that many people other than you will think they are unattractive.  How would we apply this to human resources?  I would point out that the Oakland Athletics baseball team was successful at snapping-up rookies that they knew were great and everyone else had passed over.  Using better metrics, the team found high-performers who seemed wrong, but were factually very good.  In many cases the Oakland A’s got first dibs on diamonds-in-the-rough.  Can you apply this insight to your own workplace?

The Math Behind Basketball

Kobe Bryant, Photo by Alexandra Walt (public domain).jpg
Kobe Bryant.  Photo by Alexandra Walt.

In this TED talk by Rajiv Maheswaran, the speaker describes the translation of basketball moves into a series of moving dots, looking at games played by professional basketball players.  Using machine learning they were able to identify the difference between the baseline probability that a shot would be successful, and an individual player’s personal odds that they would make a shot. This distinction allows us to tell the difference between those who have more opportunities (or create more opportunities), as opposed to those who perform well based on what is in front of them.

The speaker invites us to consider other applications for the analysis of moving dots.  In my opinion, this means we can think of activity levels, workplace layout, and injury statistics alongside other workplace wellbeing indicators.  It might be that physical movements have a substantial impact on non-physical workplace performance.

Rainer Strack TED Talk


A Stack of Rainier, no relation.

This TED Talk is one of the most compelling explanations of why workforce planning is so important to the business success of major employers.  He takes it global and forecasts into 2030.  With jokes.