Fireside Chat with Prasad Setty, Google's Vice President of People Analytics and CMU-SV Professor Stuart Evans Held on Campus-Silicon Valley Campus - Carnegie Mellon University

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Fireside Chat with Prasad Setty, Google's Vice President of People Analytics and CMU-SV Professor Stuart Evans Held on Campus

Prasad Setty discusses Google's Project Oxygen while remote participants ask questions.
Prasad Setty discusses Google's Project Oxygen while remote participants ask questions.

Carnegie Mellon University and the San Francisco Bay Area Alumni Chapter recently hosted the first Gateway to Silicon Valley Fireside Chat with Dr. Stuart Evans, CMU-SV Distinguished Service Professor, and Prasad Setty, Google’s Vice President of People Analytics & Compensation, at the CMU Silicon Valley campus in Mountain View, California. The event brought together Carnegie Mellon students and alumni from the San Francisco Bay Area. Many more CMU alumni and students from the United States, Australia, Japan, India, and China tuned in and participated remotely.

The Fireside Chat dealt with several initiatives of Google’s People Organization, including Project Oxygen, an effort to build a better manager and identify what makes a good leader. Setty also touched upon other people analytics projects undertaken to debunk HR myths and forecast the future organizational structure of Google based on current hiring and promotion practices. Of particular interest to the CMU audience was a discussion of Google’s approach to attracting and retaining employees. Setty advised that an ability to handle ambiguity is the principal capacity Google seeks when hiring.

Prasad and Dr. Evans also discussed creating nimble organizations capable of undertaking big idea projects, improving systems using employee feedback obtained through 360-feedback processes such as those used at Google, and the resilience required to handle the unavoidable mistakes made when companies and employees move at high speed.

“These traits are hallmarks of human resource organizations that are creating super-flexible enterprises where real-time leadership is exercised,” explained Dr. Evans.

The overarching theme of the discussion centered on "empiricism with emotion,” in which analytics are combined with insights about the human condition in the world of HR. “People look for meaning in their work. People want to know what’s happening in their environment. People want to have some ability to shape that environment,” said Setty.

“There was positive feedback on the event from both attendees on-site and from around the world,” said Krishna Bheemanadham, co-president of the Bay Area Alumni Chapter and event organizer. “We got a lot of requests from alumni for the Bay Area Chapter to host similar events in the future.”