Towards intelligent and empowered data-driven HR: NPA Summit 2020

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Nordic People Analytics Summit — Last week, a significant event took place, not only for HR and People Analytics practitioners but also for establishing HR as a strategic part in the data-driven business. We already see that HR is progressively going through a transformation from an intuitive and gut-based department to an empowered and intelligent function that can be a true partner of the CEO.

At the second edition of the Nordic People Analytics Summit, more than 150 attendees joined the leading experts in the HR and people analytics field who shared innovative state-of-the-art projects, products, business ideas and technologies to harness the power of data, advanced analytics and AI to maximise the HR impact to the organisational bottom line, while making smarter hiring decisions and increasing employee performance and retention.

The focus of this year’s edition was on the challenges of deploying holistic, sustainable and scalable people analytics strategies. We heard amazing talks on driving organisational transformation, setting up projects, how to evolve capabilities and talent intelligence, as well as how to execute these strategies involving practical case studies and methodologies for how to harness the full potential of advanced analytics in data-driven HR, from companies cush as Swarovski, Nokia, Qlik, Philip Morris International, Coty, Royal Dutch Shell, Trustpilot,  Philips, Swissport International and more.

In case you missed some sessions, we’ve made a short review of some of the highlights of the Nordic People Analytics Summit and the main topics discussed. 

The future of work & leader decision-making

Allireza Ghahremani, CEO of AHUM and the Chairman of the Nordic People Analytics Summit, reflected on the last edition, the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the people analytics field, as well as the role of people analytics in surviving the crisis, in his Chairman’s Opening Remarks.

Towards intelligent and empowered HR built: NPA Summit 2020

Allireza provided several eye-opening examples of what happens when a company is lagging behind in people analytics.  He highlighted the importance of hiring people with the necessary data skillset and shifting the focus of HR towards analytics.

People analytics driving organisational transformation and crisis management 

After the Chairman’s remarks, Oliver Kasper, Head of Corporate People Analytics, Portfolio Strategy & Digital HR at Daniel Swarovski Corporation, gave us an up-close view on the main steps in setting up a people analytics function and the dos and don’t to generate high business impact, in his session How to build up People Analytics with business impact in a global organisation.

Towards intelligent and empowered HR built: NPA Summit 2020
Image source: PDF presentation of Oliver Kasper at the Nordic People Analytics Summit 2020

Oliver brought up one not so widely known fact, i.e. that the most studied teams in people analytics were baseball teams in the past, and soccer teams today. Oliver described how data can bring a team’s success in the most important game.

“So if people analytics proved so effective for sports, why don’t we implement it in our companies too?”, asked Oliver.

Towards intelligent and empowered HR built: NPA Summit 2020
Image source: PDF presentation of Oliver Kasper at the Nordic People Analytics Summit 2020

Tom Ricks, Senior Director, People Systems and Analytics at Qlik, brought a real-life example of how people analytics is used to manage through a crisis relating their experience with evolving an analytics tool for mapping employees locations to deliver value to their business in the COVID-19 crisis.

Tom talked through a crucial topic of crisis management and the impact of decisions on the employee and the business.

Towards intelligent and empowered HR built: NPA Summit 2020
Image source: PDF presentation of Tom Ricks at the Nordic People Analytics Summit 2020

Richard Doherty, Senior Director Solution Marketing at Workday, brought to attention the increased pressures on organisations and people analytics functions, due to the COVID-19 crisis. He gave a detailed description of the 3 key challenges that prevent companies from scaling their people analytics practice and moving from integrated to advanced analytics: prioritisation, data literacy and scalability.

Towards intelligent and empowered HR built: NPA Summit 2020
Image source: PDF presentation of Richard Doherty at the Nordic People Analytics Summit 2020

Nevertheless, Richard referred to Augmented Analytics as the solution for these hurdles and for evolving people analytics practice from integrated to advanced analytics.

Next, we dove into Philip Morris International’s biggest business transformation based on the change in their internal culture.

Mark Howarth, Global Head of People & Culture Analytics at Philip Morris International, narrated how he has built a People Analytics function and in particular, an Employee Listening program to help business leaders listen to the aggregated sentiment of the organisation and pinpoint where to take action, to help drive this transformation, through the team’s use of technology and people analytics.

Towards intelligent and empowered HR built: NPA Summit 2020
Image source: PDF presentation of Mark Howarth at the Nordic People Analytics Summit 2020

Dr. Raul V. Rodriguez, Dean at Woxsen School of Business, Woxsen University, brought us closer to the future of HR in his session Future of HR from 2020: Machine Learning, talking about how AI and machine learning are transforming Human Resources. He gave a comprehensive overview of the variety of advantages that Artificial Intelligence can bring to transform HR Departments and will identify the key areas where algorithms play a vital role.

Towards intelligent and empowered HR built: NPA Summit 2020
Image source: PDF presentation of Dr. Raul V. Rodriguez at the Nordic People Analytics Summit 2020

Dr Raul outlined several use cases where AI and Machine Learning would have great impact in talent acquisition and management, such as AI-driven assessment, social candidate discovery based on CNNs, facial recognition, voice analysis and sentiment analysis of candidates and in-house employees, chatbots for candidate and employee engagement. He also proposed several ways AI can enhance the employee experience in aspects of career development, training and personalised learning, machine learning-based team formation on similar skill sets, psychological profiles, etc, win prediction, as well as employee attrition, smart compensation and appraisal model.

Towards intelligent and empowered HR built: NPA Summit 2020
Image source: PDF presentation of Dr. Raul V. Rodriguez at the Nordic People Analytics Summit 2020

Gerrit Schimmelpenninck, Senior Talent Intelligence Manager at Philips, narrated an application of Talent Intelligence in times of massive work from home and the future of office use as well as location strategy, in his talk Talent Intelligence in uncertain times.

He also highlighted important culture considerations and different employee personas when designing remote work. Remote work is such a complex organisation of the workforce with all the aspects and nitty-gritty details that need to be sorted for all employee personas.

Gerrit also provided such an in-depth presentation of what all companies have to consider when creating their WFH rules and policies.

Towards intelligent and empowered HR built: NPA Summit 2020
Image source: PDF presentation of Gerrit Schimmelpenninck at the Nordic People Analytics Summit 2020

Karin Inga Timcke – Manager Rewards & Analytics & Joël Outry – Manager Global Performance & Analytics – Business Intelligence at Swissport International, walked us through the roadmap and challenges of successfully implemented HR-Analytics in a global 70’000 company from scratch and added value to their people-driven business.

Towards intelligent and empowered HR built: NPA Summit 2020
Image source: PDF presentation of Karin Inga Timcke & Joël Outry at the Nordic People Analytics Summit 2020

“Swissport is a people-driven business. So the biggest added value comes from people, and their talents, performance, innovation, and goals make a significant contribution to our company success,” emphasises Karin. Taking this perspective in mind, it’s important for them to have proper navigation in place in the form of HR analytics.

Case studies on the successful execution of people analytics strategies

Søren Kold, Head of People Analytics at GRUNDFOS, opened the presentations on the second day, describing the impact of COVID-19 on their employees and challenges they faced in the crisis, in his session How COVID-19 framed the need for speed in People Analytics. He gave an overview of the Employee listening programme they established.

Towards intelligent and empowered HR built: NPA Summit 2020
Image source: PDF presentation of Søren Kold at the Nordic People Analytics Summit 2020

Søren remarked that the most important things they learnt on their journey are the importance of leadership and that it is difficult to lead without having insights to make better decisions, especially in times of crisis when decisions should be made efficiently and effectively. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work, but it has also speeded our ability to work with technology and new dimensions for the workforce and customers. People analytics was propelled to drive more value at a faster pace and as such data-driven HR has a stronger foundation for the future.

Stefan Sander Grods, Project Manager at Danske Bank, brought concrete insights into how your organisation can create a higher-performing organisation by delivering data-driven performance insights to teams to improve team dynamics, trust and ensuring higher customer-centricity.

Towards intelligent and empowered HR built: NPA Summit 2020
Image source: PDF presentation of Stefan Sander Grods at the Nordic People Analytics Summit 2020

More specifically, Stefan’s session covered the empirical approach used globally across Danske Bank and provided hands-on guidance on:

  • How to use HR data as a tool for dialogue instead of a performance determinator
  • How to enable a cross-functional global team to deliver better collective results
  • How to enhance HR data to deliver sustainable behavioural changes
  • How to transform your organisation from having high performing individuals to more mutual accountable high-performance teams. 
Towards intelligent and empowered HR built: NPA Summit 2020
Image source: PDF presentation of Stefan Sander Grods at the Nordic People Analytics Summit 2020

We looked at the employee as a human being, and not as a resource”, said Stefan describing the core of their assessment framework for developing high-performance teams.

The value does not come from the data and number, but rather it comes from the open and honest conversations on decisions, stated Stefan explaining how they use HR data as a tool for dialogue instead of a performance determinator.

It’s important if we want to have a high performing organisation with high performing teams, we need to have a stable team core, where we allocate teams over allocating individuals, pointed out Stefan concluding his session.

Next up, we saw Uma Ranganathan, Senior HR Leader at Equinor and her session on Making people analytics matter. Uma explored how People and Leadership can strengthen their impact on business goals and truly drive business value. She provided 3 concrete illustrations with people analytics they have undertaken at Equinor based on safety, diversity and inclusion and workforce optimisation, as well as and the lessons they’ve learnt along the way.

“We’ve achieved a journey with people analytics, and not a destination”, emphasised Uma, as they continue to iterate and improve upon it.

Towards intelligent and empowered HR built: NPA Summit 2020
Image source: PDF presentation of Uma Ranganathan at the Nordic People Analytics Summit 2020

People are a significant enabler that helps Equinor shape the future of energy, and therefore having the right people analytics to drive business value is critical to their success, pointed out Uma.

Equinor is on a journey to becoming an international energy company, strengthening their position in mid-stream and marketing and entering new renewable business value chains – people are very central to this journey, for which they need them to be empowered to help them transform into the broader energy company that is their aspiration.

What they’ve learned on their journey so far is:

  • You need to start with the end goal in mind and what the business goal is. 
  • Making data available is just the starting point – it needs to be integrated into processes and outcomes. 
  • Every people analytics initiative is a journey.
  • What gets measured, gets done.

Himanshu Saxena, HR Director – Northern Europe at Coty, presented a case study of a consumer business facing a huge challenge of multi-channel evolution and business moving online from traditional channels. 

Himanshu described how HR analytics played a huge role in driving business strategy and influenced overall strategy, capability plans, compensation plans and overall culture to enable this change and help Coty achieve its goals.

Towards intelligent and empowered HR built: NPA Summit 2020
Image source: PDF presentation of Himanshu Saxena at the Nordic People Analytics Summit 2020

“People become the biggest assets. Especially in today when a lot of companies rely on service-oriented mindset, whether they are into products or services, people do end up becoming the make or break situation for the companies’ success”, stated clearly Himanshu.

Their case study revealed that the areas in which they were spending their investments, focus and discussions were not the areas which typically strongly correlated with the sales performance of their people, narrated Himanshu. This gave them an impetus to review how they did things and the aspects of the customer journey they prioritized. As a result of the interventions was a 10% increase in sales and complete redirection of management efforts.

Laurien Adriaenssens, Data Scientist at Royal Dutch Shell, shared how to Get the best from your people: Data-driven approach in talent management, talking about their practice at Shell of using HR Analytics to get the best of their people.

Specifically, Laurien presented their flagship project Project Spark dedicated to driving sales performance using people data.

Towards intelligent and empowered HR built: NPA Summit 2020
Image source: PDF presentation of Laurien Adriaenssens at the Nordic People Analytics Summit 2020

During their Project Spark, they looked at individual sales performances and used it to identify the key drivers of performance and understand how different levels of those drivers increased or decreased sales performance.

Towards intelligent and empowered HR built: NPA Summit 2020
Image source: PDF presentation of Laurien Adriaenssens at the Nordic People Analytics Summit 2020

At the end, Laurien shared the most important key factors in getting the best out of your people with a data-driven approach: collaborating closely with the business to generate business value, having the commitment of your senior stakeholders and integrating change management at an early stage.

Louise Kragh, Rewards & Analytics Specialist – People Analytics at Trustpilot, delivered a practical case study on how a Cost of Attrition Analysis helped convince conservative and highly revenue-driven parts of the Executive Leadership Team, that the people agenda has a significant influence on achieving ambitious growth and cost targets. 

Towards intelligent and empowered HR built: NPA Summit 2020
Image source: PDF presentation of Louise Kragh at the Nordic People Analytics Summit 2020

She shared useful insights into how the utilisation of people analytics can drive the people agenda beyond the HR function and help accelerate change.

Louise explained the fundamentals of calculating the true cost of attrition, the importance of partnering with the business and strong stakeholder management. She provided advice on how to leverage a data-driven approach to building strong business cases to support HR initiatives.

“The cost of attrition analysis didn’t help us uncover an issue we didn’t already know was there. But it helped us communicate it in a language that the rest of the business speaks,” affirmed Louise. People analytics and the insights are valuable, but using them as a tool to communicate with the rest of the business and senior stakeholders is when you really start to drive change in the organisation, she concluded.

Towards intelligent and empowered HR built: NPA Summit 2020
Image source: PDF presentation of Louise Kragh at the Nordic People Analytics Summit 2020

And as the final session of the Nordic People Analytics Summit 2020, David Shontz, Global Head of Workforce Analytics & Organization Management at Nokia, delivered his session on Combining Data and Analytics to Help Companies Navigate through the Pandemic.

Image source: PDF presentation of David Shontz at the Nordic People Analytics Summit 2020

David talked about how Nokia quickly brought multiple functions and data sources together to help leaders answer many questions arising from the COVID-19 crisis. The people analytics platform, capabilities and models they were using enabled them to effectively support the company during the COVID-19 pandemic.

His session also provides a summary of the creative views provided to Company leadership needed for assessment, planning and decision-making during the pandemic.

Image source: PDF presentation of David Shontz at the Nordic People Analytics Summit 2020

Roundtable Discussions

This year, the NPA Summit agenda was enriched with Roundtable Discussions moderated by some of the speakers at which they discussed fundamental questions for today’s people analytics field. 

Some of the discussions that attendees could participate in were on the topics Setting your People Analytics project up for success by Søren Kold, Head of People Analytics at GRUNDFOS; Getting Started, Evolving Capability and Adoption, Operating Model, & New Use Cases by David Shontz, Global Head of Workforce Analytics & Organization Management at Nokia; Scaling your People Analytics practice by Richard Doherty, Senior Director Solution Marketing at Workday, How are companies using people analytics to deliver business value? by Uma Ranganathan, Senior HR Leader at Equinor, as well as several open roundtable discussions on People Analytics Strategy, Application of ML and AI in people analytics, Data Management and Ethics and Accountability working with employee data.

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Although the Nordic People Analytics Summit has ended, we will continue to serve you by working with you as a community to define your most pressing challenges to solve and find practical case studies of HR and People Analytics across the world to help in by example solving those challenges.

And don’t forget that you can go back to Agorify to rewatch this year’s sessions or catch up with the ones you have missed until 8th of October 2020.

Until the next edition, replay, network and stay safe.

Chief Editor at Hyperight Read. Reading and writing are her passion. Claims typing on a keyboard calms her down. Enthusiastic about Data Science, AI, Machine Learning and all things digital.

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