Wednesday, 11 May 2016

#HRanalyticsLDN - Day 1 at HR Analytics London - Nestle, Shell, ABN AMRO




Nestle - Their Analytics Journey

There have a been a few really good sessions in the HR and Workforce Analytics room yesterday.  One of my favourites was delivered by Ralf Buechsenschuss — Global HR Manager, People Analytics at Nestle.

Ralf represents a team of 5 people in Switzerland reaching 189 countries, meaning strategic partnering is difficult as they don’t have much contact with the business.  Prioritising what they do, they focus on providing people analytics around:
  • Business strategy - supporting execution through strategic workforce planning (useful though I suggest HR can contribute at a higher level of value than this
  • HR strategy [“People 2020: winning through people and teams” focusing on culture, leadership, talent and a high performing organisation] - defining strategic priorities and execution plan for HR strategy; development and cascading of balanced scorecard; descriptive analytics root cause analysis and sometimes predictive analytics (all good points though I’d worry if this means Nestle are developing strategy based on analytics which I think is stepping over the mark)
  • Mega trends - identification of mega trends which could impact the workforce and business of Nestle eg decentralised organisation, workforce diversity, international career development
  • HR transformation - supporting the HR transformation to build the future people analytics capabilities; machine learning, artificial intelligence and potential from wearables plus other new technologies - “eg if we could record health data and notice an impact on an employee thes send a notification which suggests taking a day off, showing that the company really cares about their people.” (really?, or would it be seen as crossing the ‘creepy line’?)


One of the other things Ralf noted was that there are few external references of HR analytics.  That fits with my views as well - I don’t see many good examples around either (and we weren’t provided with any by Nestle, though they are back on today, so there may be some to come).  Therefore I’ve been looking for some impressive case studies from the other presentations at the summit.


Shell - Aligning HR Analytics to Business Objectives

I had thought we might be in for some good examples from Esther Bongenaar — Manager, HR Analytics at Shell and I did like her suggestion that evidence does not replace but supplements intuition, experience and beliefs (assuming that a lack of data means you need to rely on just one person’s judgment, intuition and opinion is barmy not brilliant!).





However most of Shell’s examples were relatively pedestrian - correlating leadership to engagement to performance (and I did like the way they’ve developed measurement mechanisms to fit the measures they need rather than the other way around  here developing a second survey focused on leadership), engagement and safety, and cyber risk exposure.

Not that’s there’s anything wrong with these just that they don’t live up to the future of HR is analytics hype you often here associated with this agenda.  Shell’s analytics means that they don’t need to email everyone with reminders about security just those they have analysed as most exposed, hence reducing annoyance.  Not that big a deal.



There was one interesting example correlating team composition and leadership with diversity and inclusion using fault line theory - measuring distances between groups of people to other groups - something I need to find out more about.


ABN Amro - Being Right Isn't Always Enough: Towards Fact-Based HR

ABN Amro’s session was delivered by Auke IJsselstein — Lead for HR Analytics.  I liked her reflection that the advice for HR analytics is often something like to sit down and stare really hard at your data and develop your HR strategy - but it doesn’t work that way.  Instead you need to start with the business strategy, not your HR data.

I thought the firm might have taken this point a little too far however, repeating the need to always start with the business strategy (as with Nestle I’d suggest the bigger need is to inform the strategy).



Like Shell, ABN Amro have identified a number of correlations.  However, for me at least this isn’t really analytics, it’s just the basis for analytics work.  That’s also the real answer to the question from the professor at the University of Twente who asked about why you need to do engagement analysis when everyone knows engagement produces business results.  The reason is you still need to do your own analysis on this so that you can start to do analytics work based upon it.



So I really liked Auke’s examples about KPIs it would be useful to measure and the strategies which might emerge from doing this, including how valuable they are (the triangle in the slide - though I don’t think this related to the difference between descriptive and predictive analytics in the way they described).

Good stuff and I'm looking for more of the same type of examples, and ideally even more compelling ones today.  What I'd really like to see is an example like ABN Amro's, but has actually been done, and has generated business results as well (eg has succeeded in meeting the KPIs and contributing to market share in ABN Amro's case).

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