Wednesday 11 May 2016

#HRanalyticsLDN - Social Analytics and Digital Transformation at AXA

We’re currently listening to Christian Vie — Head of HR Analytics at AXA speaking about Social Transformation: How People Analytics Can Help Drive the Digital Change.

This concerns the largest analytics project at AXA supporting digital and social transformation.  We know a lot of jobs will disappear and although there may be new jobs, probably less of them.  This suggests a bit need for mobility, cross skilling and upscaling etc.  AXA have been asking themselves about how this changes their age pyramids.

Based upon 160,000 employees how is their business going to look like?  They set up some prospective sessions with business leaders - by 2020 / 2030 how are things going to change, how disruptive will things be / do you want to be?

The solution to this needed to be strategic workforce planning using quantitative and qualitative diagnosis around FTEs, skills, culture change etc.  Eg how many actuaries could they upscale to be data scientists.

This started with identifying about 80 job families,   Supporting Christian’s focus on avoiding complexity and avoiding over engineering, this was done in an Excel spreadsheet (of 160,000 lines).

They could then align HR actions with the required business targets - who do they need to let go, what do they need to offshore etc?  Skills development was a big part of this as well, which wasn't just about technology skills.  For example how could they help the business deal with increased complexity and paradox - becoming both risk averse and more innovative, customer focused when the brokers don't deal with customers etc?

Christian also spoke about the need to look at big questions like should we still be paying bonuses, as actually they tend to stop the innovation which is so important in the digital world.

AXA's transformation also needed enhancing social dialogue and transformation within the buiness.  In heavily regulated countries including France and Japan in particular there needed to be a solid, data driven discussion with the unions.

After all this they could quantify the HR investments needed for business transformation.  Previously there had been no budget for this, just a figure for training budget etc.

And also increasing the influence of HR at their Excom - possibly the most important objective.  Again the difference was having the data to underpin their discussion points.

So, an interesting case study, though in a sense less impactful than Martin Oest’s example from the Metropolitan Police yesterday where he predicted that at 20% minority recruitment it would still take 100 years for the service to match the diversity of the local population.

I guess the thing which made the case study particularly interesting was that it concerned digital transformation which is such a massive change driver for many organisations today.  Eg in AXA they identified about 30% of employees might be impacted by the change.

My only slight criticisms are firstly that for a huge change like this there are more powerful types of HR planning than workforce planning which would be worth undertaking first.  And although Christian talked about big data, this was just to show the impact of digital change - the case study was very much about workforce planning still not what I would suggest is the main opportunity for workforce analytics.

But a really important compelling case study nevertheless.

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