Rich Deal

Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer at FICO

People Success Insight

Using metrics to build an emotionally effective employee value proposition that is universally compelling

Rich Deal’s HR career journey is anything but traditional. The conventional HR career success story begins with the epiphany, “There’s a role in the corporate world for people people!” But Rich’s story begins with his discovery that he is fascinated by numbers—specifically, how metrics can help leaders quickly understand what makes people “tick.”

“If you can measure something, you can be a lot more confident about how you interact with it,” Rich says. FICO’s business is founded on the use of predictive analytics to help its customers around the world make better decisions. “Data, science, and math support a positive narrative around the people experience. When we don’t understand how to predict or manage human behavior, that’s the place where all kinds of negative things—like stereotypes, prejudice and bias—can happen. That’s really powerful stuff… When we can identify and reinforce the drivers of positive behaviors, engagement and quality performance, we can open the world to you.”

This passion for numbers has led him and his team to jettison outdated assumptions and to refine FICO’s performance management and recruitment models in ways that have helped contribute to strong company performance.

His proudest story takes place in Bangalore, India, where the local FICO office had been operating under the assumption that the most desirable engineering candidates came with many years of experience. But the data told a different story—one that would benefit the organization’s aspirations for stronger gender diversity.

“The most successful leaders in the future of work will have a solid understanding of the connection between employee experience and business success. They will be committed to creating great work environments for their people above all else.”

“We realized that in India, the candidates with many years of experience were going to be predominantly male,” Rich says. “But the current male-to-female ratio of recent software engineering and data science graduates was 50-50. So we revisited our assumption about the length of experience required and discovered that these high-quality new graduates can learn very quickly and become fully productive within only a couple of years on the job.”

The result of this revelation? FICO has made significant strides toward achieving its diversity goals among its new hires at its Bangalore location—which accounts for one quarter of the company’s 4,000-person workforce. The employee experience is vibrant and cohesive, as evidenced by strong retention statistics, especially when compared with the rest of the country. That division’s regrettable attrition rate hovers around 11%. Across India the regrettable attrition rate for this demographic is 20%.

And yet, Rich knows better than to expect them all to stick around. He recognizes that each individual must follow their own destiny – and this opens opportunities for new talent to join FICO. To that end, Rich and his team are creating an environment and career development system at FICO that encourages each individual to fully own their career.

“It all comes down to how each individual experiences the value of his or her daily impact,” he says. “Ask yourself every morning how you’re going to make a difference that day. On the way home in the evening, ask yourself if you made an impact. When you take responsibility in that way, you’ll find all kinds of positive change is possible. It’s hugely empowering.”

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