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Mastering The Phenomenon Called Hr Analytics In Organizations

1556 words - 6 pages

Mastering HR analytics with technology Accountability is now a critical issue for all HR directors, and providing detailed analysis to back up plans and programs is essential. Angus Kidman looks at how technology can help HR to produce better workforce analytics and how HR professionals can get the rest of the business on board One clear incentive for improving workforce analytics is to drive business growth. "We are a double-digit growth company, and the competitive landscape is a lot tighter than it has been in the past," says Michelle Thomson, Asia-Pacific vice president for human resources at financial services giant American Express. "The biggest challenge for us is enabling our workforce and driving business success through our people. As an HR function, one of our key measures is how we drive success by driving value." Measurement has become central to American Express' HR activities, which stretch across 83 countries throughout the world. In Australia, the company has around 3,000 employees spread over 85 sites. "Everything that we touch has a metric attached,"Thomson says. "Whatever we do we use globally consistent processes, measurements and databases. We do things in a methodical, thought out, consistent manner, and we have consistent platforms." However, Thomson acknowledges that it hasn't always been this way. Building a consistent platform began in 1999, when the company began a global rollout of PeopleSoft as its core HR system. At the time, even PeopleSoft itself hadn't done a single rollout for global operations. "It was a huge challenge."The final system used a PeopleSoft backend and a user interface developed by Mellon HR Services. "Some of the things we needed PeopleSoft couldn't do," says Thomson, who served on the global committee supervising the rollout. "Like any investment, a business case had to be built and the return on investment had to be set," she adds. Indeed, the project had to go before American Express' global investment committee a couple of times before being approved. "It was about building the case in terms of business financial measures." A key goal from the rollout was to improve data quality. "If you're doing analytics, you need data. What's important for us is that we've got consistency in data." Another critical step in maintaining data quality is to shift responsibility for maintaining key information from the HR department to business divisions. "The data's owned by the business - HR doesn't own it,"Thomson says. "And the business is accountable for the data." To make that task easier, American Express enthusiastically embraced online service delivery. "We moved the firm from a transaction-based environment to a self-service model. We web-enabled just about everything we do. A lot of the things we did ten years ago we don't do today." As a result, the HR department is now confident that quality data on key measures is available, and is involved in business planning for all new initiatives. What advice...

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