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Top Questions about 3n Strategy and the HR Analytics ThinkTank

Nigel Dias answers questions about the data-driven vision behind people analytics specialists, 3n Strategy and research body, the HR Analytics ThinkTank.

Over the last few years, 3n Strategy and the HR Analytics ThinkTank have grown significantly. As we have grown, we have been asked certain questions over and over. Some of the questions are about our services, some are about our research, and some are about the team.  

To kick off 2022, we collated the top questions we get frequently asked and Nigel Dias, Managing Director (and founder) of 3n Strategy and Chair (and founder) of the HR Analytics ThinkTank, answers them here in one article for once and for all.  


1. What does 3n Strategy do?

 3n Strategy is a consultancy firm whose mission is to enable organisations to make better people decisions by using their HR data to answer HR questions. We provide a full range of strategy, adoption and technical services to accelerate, scale and sustain data-driven HR in enterprise organisations. We work predominantly with SAP SuccessFactors customers, and our customer base are usually enterprise size customers within North America and Europe. 

2 . Why did you start 3n Strategy?

In 2012 I started 3n Strategy on the assumption that people analytics was a growing space and I would be able to sell interesting analytics projects. As of 2022, this ambition has grown, as our (my) primary motivation is not to just do interesting project, but to work with customers that truly want to make better people decisions. If we help them to make better people decisions, then HR will power businesses to be more successful, and businesses will make better decisions about the way employee’s experience their careers. 

3. Does 3n Strategy build any technologies?

No, 3n Strategy has no technology offering of its own. We partner with other HR technology and people analytics vendors if required. 

4. Does 3n Strategy make money from people analytics vendors?

3n Strategy has contractual partnerships with a selection of people analytics vendors, in particular SAP SuccessFactors, but also including technology vendors such as Visier and One Model. Whilst in theory some of our partnerships might allow us to claim referral fees, we have never done this, preferring to stay neutral and unbiased when our customers are choosing their technologies.

However we do provide technical and functional services to configure tools and build dashboards and so on, after they have been purchased.

5. What is the HR Analytics ThinkTank?

Nowadays the ThinkTank is a research partnership, a global community and a collection of free assets and resources dedicated to the use of analytics within HR. It is a collaborative private-academic partnership between 3n Strategy, the University of Leeds, Utah State University and University College Dublin. We are fortunate to have this level of academic expertise at our fingertips. 

Our mission is to provide free evidence, content and connections so that organisations can make better decisions about the people analytics functions they are building, and people analytics practitioners can make better decisions about the career choices they make. 

6. Why is the ThinkTank content ‘free’?

The ThinkTank content is not ‘free’, it just does not have a financial price tag to it. The ThinkTank is run almost as a crowdsourcing exercise – by sharing their experiences (in the form of data) with our research team, we will give participants ‘free’ access to the outputs of our research and other activities. 

7. What makes the ThinkTank so unique?

Our research is unique because of our community, our data and our research team. Our community is represented by 100s of people analytics practitioners around the world who want to help us answer questions about the HR and people analytics industry. Our data is unique as it is extremely specific to the industry, meaning we can provided fact-based evidence about analytics in HR that others cannot.

Our research team is special because it is powered by recognised professors and universities – Professor Andy Charlwood and the University of Leeds, Professor Mike Ulrich from Utah State University, and Assistant Professor Maria Belizon from University College Dublin – and backed up a board of industry leaders.

8. If the ThinkTank makes no money, why do it?

In my mind, the ThinkTank began as a passion-based project of my own, and it will continue to grow within 3n Strategy as everyone’s passion project.

What do I mean by that? Every 3n Strategy consultant is required to spend 80 hours per year answering a question about HR and people analytics that they are passionate about finding the answer to. They can analyse existing data or use the ThinkTank’s channels to capture more data. I believe this to be a unique company perk, and a solid foundation for scaling 3n Strategy’s cultural DNA.

Additionally, this focus on data and research gives 3n Strategy consultants a unique skillset and perspective which can inform advice we give to our clients. We are not in the business of opinion, we pride ourselves on a consistent data-driven approach based in rigorous research.

9. Why do you support the global People Analytics Meetup Ecosystem?

I have been attending meetups since joining a photography meetup whilst working in Australia in 2010. Since then I have run or supported the running of 300-400 meetups, mostly within the London tech startup scene. In short, I understand the value of meetups and the role of community. In a similar way to the ThinkTank research, there is no strong commercial value to supporting the meetups so it too is a passion project.

We know for a fact that in every city in the world, there are people using HR data, and that some of these people are energetic potential community leaders who just need a small bit of support to get going. We also know that if more people know about analytics in HR, then more organisations will make better people decisions, and more employees will have a better careers. I can’t think of any reason that we wouldn’t want to scale and support the global meetup network for HR and people analytics. 
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