There are three core pillars of Adidas’ people analytics strategy which help drive measurable outcomes across both the HR function and the broader business globally, according to Stefan Hierl, senior manager people analytics, Adidas Group Germany.

These three pillars: data, metrics and the employee experience, help provide valuable insights into employee behaviour, skill-sets and talent in Adidas – the second largest sportswear manufacturers in the world, said Hierl.

The first pillar: define what success means for HR
Adidas introduced a new business strategy with a corresponding new people strategy three years ago.

For HR, this was the first time there was a strong connection between the business strategy and the people enabling it, according to Hierl, who was speaking ahead of the HR Metrics and Analytics for Strategic Decision Making 2017 conference.

Adidas’ people strategy is based on four areas: talent, leadership, diversity and culture, and Hierl said this strategy is being championed by HR but is owned by the whole company.

“Therefore when we think about how to measure the success of this people strategy, our aim is to steer away from using traditional HR metrics because there is no single HR metric which can adequately measure success across the whole company,” he said.

“Our aim is to steer away from using traditional HR metrics because there is no single HR metric which can adequately measure success across the whole company”

As a result, the HR team implemented new KPIs based on a business point of view to measure the impact of the people strategy.

“It was very important for us that these measurements are not totally influenced by HR, but rather by different business functions.

“Having these new metrics means it is something the whole company can influence on a day-to-day basis,” he said.

Pillar 2: Using data and insights to improve the employee experience
The second pillar of Adidas’ people analytics strategy is to use data and insights systematically to improve the employee experience.

“In the past, there has been disparity between the interface between business and IT,” said Hierl.

“While we were using data and consumer feedback systemically to improve the customer experience, we were not approaching it the same way on the employee side – something which not many companies do very well.”

Both employee and customer experience should be approached in the same way, Hierl added.

“People are a business’ most important asset,” he said.

“Strategy and products don’t matter if you do not have a talented and enthusiastic workforce.

“A business cannot provide a great customer experience if great employee experiences do not exist.”

“Strategy and products don’t matter if you do not have a talented and enthusiastic workforce”

Hierl is currently looking at how to improve the employee experience based on employee feedback, and this involves a mix of capturing the voice of employees via traditional data capture methods like surveys, as well as methods ways to understand and capture insight into the full employee journey.

“One of HR’s most important data sources is not the figures we get from our SAP HR system or external channels like LinkedIn or Glassdoor,” he said.

“Similar to our business approach on the customer experience, HR needs to offer good experiences to the employee and then collect feedback on how they rate the experience and what we can do better to improve the overall employee experience.

“We’re starting to use data to understand the entire employee journey. We’re systematically collecting standard feedback worldwide during different stages of the employee journey.”

This includes collecting feedback on the day of onboarding, 30 days into the job and then again 90 days into the job – as well as other key points of the employee lifecycle.

Pillar 3: Supporting broader strategic decision-making
The third pillar of Adidas’ people analytics strategy is using HR data to better support the broader business, and Hierl said the foundations are currently being laid to help resolve business challenges with the support of HR data and insights.

“We are currently in the process of implementing a new KPI framework for strategic management of the whole company,” he said.

“This framework doesn’t focus on only traditional metrics like operating and market share, it now also focuses on the non-financial metrics – such as consumer and employee net promoter scores (NPS) and how they view the Adidas brand.”

As a result, decision-making at the top level is now being made taking these new KPIs or metrics into account.

“We’re systematically collecting standard feedback worldwide during different stages of the employee journey”

Every decision across the business will not only factor in the bottom line, but also how it impacts people, sustainability and consumers, Hierl added.

“These types of metrics are now ingrained in the complete decision-making process,” he said.

“It is early days as we have only recently introduced this, but we are fully committed to making strategic decisions with this new framework.”

Stefan Hierl and his colleague Aki Ben-Ezra, senior director HR strategy & diversity, Adidas Group (Germany), will be presenting at HR Metrics and Analytics for Strategic Decision Making 2017. For more information visit www.hrmetricsandanalytics.com.au.