Helping NASA’s Employees Reach for the Stars

Season 4 blasts off with a conversation Chris Bjorling and Bill Banham had with Dr. Ben Slade, Branch Head, Langley Workforce Planning, Development & Analytics Office at NASA.

Listen to People and Performance Podcast

Questions Include:

  • You and Bill previously talked on the HRchat show back in 2018. When you introduced yourself, you began by saying “If I were to distil my job description into a single sentence, it would be: Helping NASA make better decisions, particularly about workforce and people strategy”. Talk about the challenges of doing this at NASA.
  • You’ve spoken about your pride in your team, your love for what NASA stands for, and your faith in what the agency strives to achieve. What does it mean for collaboration and productivity levels when employees are super-engaged and aligned with the mission of their employer brand?
  • You’ve talked at events such as the People Analytics Canada Summit in Toronto about why you suggest investment in People Analytics tech doesn’t have to break the bank to achieve the results a company needs. Why do you believe this?
  • What are your suggested 4 areas where you can seek out collaborators with the needed knowledge, skills, and capabilities? (internal HR allies etc)
  • You are a big proponent of partnering to access more data points. In the wider world of work, how has the job of attracting and engaging skills not available ‘in-house’ changed as a result of The Great Resignation and the rise of the Gig Economy?
  • From a culture and people processes perspective, what does a high-performing company mean to you?
  • We’ve recently seen the launch of the James Webb Telescope, which will find the first galaxies that formed in the early universe and peer through dusty clouds to see stars forming planetary systems! What upcoming NASA missions most excite you?

About Ben Slade

Ben holds an M.S. degree in Applied Psychology and a PhD in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Clemson University, with a focus on applied judgment and decision-making. His responsibilities at NASA have included business performance measurement, strategic workforce planning, data-driven program analysis, and predictive forecasting, including attrition modeling.

Ben started as an intern at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and has been working as part of NASA’s core HR function since 2013 in various workforce planning and HR research roles. In 2021 Ben transitioned to an HR supervisory role at Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA, managing the research center’s training, workforce planning, data analytics, organizational development, and student program functions.

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