Prasad Setty, Vice President of People Analytics & Compensation at Google, moderated a panel on using data to make better people decisions. Google uses data and analytics to inform all its people decisions, from choosing benefits options to promotions to hiring. Setty explained Google’s methodical approach starts with looking at the existing research, developing a new hypothesis, and then testing it internally.

Google has even started its own longitudinal study on voluntary Googler participants, which will track their careers over several decades. Setty said they’ll look at a range of data points to track work performance, attitudes, beliefs, problem solving strategies, challenges, and resiliency. And while the company isn’t sure what it will find, it knows collecting this data is the first step to discovering new things about how we work.