A focus on employee-centric metrics has been critical to the success of an HR analytics system which provides the right data for both HR and the wider business in Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, according to its senior workforce analyst, Jayshween Kumar.

There has been a steep learning curve for HR in this approach, which is now reshaping HR reporting and decision making across the business, said Kumar.

“Over the past 10 years we have had immense growth in how our HR business partner model provides support, guidance and advice to the business for HR related matters,” said Kumar.

“But it has only been over the past four to five years that we have introduced HR analytics as a component of delivering that service.”

There was a deliberate call to build analytics capability within the bank’s HR business partners, according to Kumar, who said many HR business partners are mostly HR experts in their areas of specialisation.

“Their journey has been to understand the concept of data and how the analytics framework would work within HR,” she said.

“They had to become comfortable with mining data, analysing data, obtaining insights and telling the story to the business.”

“Because we already had an existing and strong business partnering model in place, this made it easier to introduce the operational processes needed to support analytics.

“Since then, our HR business partners have been able to use insights to help the business make more informed decisions – rather than sticking to only providing the traditional HR services and advice,” said Kumar, who was speaking ahead of the 4th Annual HR Metrics and Analytics for Strategic Decision Making 2017, which will be held from 20-22 February 2017 in Sydney.

“They had to become comfortable with mining data, analysing data, obtaining insights and telling the story to the business”

While Bendigo and Adelaide Bank is currently in the middle of its HR analytics journey, Kumar said a scarcity of HR data was available to end users at the beginning of the process.

“We have since changed this and implemented systems where employees, managers, executives and HR business partners can access real-time data,” she said.

This has been made possible through transitioning to new software with a new service provider (Technology One) and the bank now has tools like employee dashboards with real-time data, which enables people to see basic information which, in turn, is improving engagement and capability.

“While this system is in the early stages, we are currently using analytics a lot more than we did a few years ago,” said Kumar.

“Leaders now have visibility and access to details about their teams all in once place.

“A great example is information requirements around diversity inclusion; this information is now available to leaders on their people dashboard.

“This is making it easier for leaders to track their diversity targets and gain an understanding of what is driving or blocking the road to success.”

A new function will soon be introduced which allows real-time analysis and data visualisation, allowing integration of financial and HRP data using data modelling.

“This means users do not have to go outside the tool – for example undertake data migration or warehousing – to get the information they need,” she said.

“When it goes live it will allow the HR business partners and leaders with access, to undertake all the tasks that would normally have to be done in an external program (like Excel).”

There was a lot of change across all areas of the business environment, technology and the bank’s workforce when the project was rolling out, according to Kumar, who said that these challenges are now part of our everyday life.

“Technology is one of the key business disruptors and enablers at the same time, and after learning how to fly with new technology, we are making analytics useful to the rest of the business.”

“Technology is one of the key business disruptors and enablers at the same time”

HR has also been flexible and willing to change, and Kumar said HR has played an active role in communicating change to its stakeholders, which allowed HR to move beyond the challenges brought about by change.

“Dealing and responding to change has been a learning curve, but we now have more leaders who are versatile, flexible and understand HR analytics and the new HR environment,” she said.

The bank has a number of key priorities in terms of what it wants to achieve in relation to HR analytics, but there are also demands from internal business partners to understand how HR analytics insights can be used for business advantage.

“Leveraging business intelligence and workforce analytics is demand-driven and based on key priorities of the organisation – for example, what is it we want to look in?

“What questions do we want to answer? Once we have that information we work with the data we have to achieve these objectives,” she said.

In the past data quality has been an issue, but with people dashboards and the soon-to-be-introduced analysis and data visualisation functionality, Kumar said this will help in better understanding what the data means, with a view to sharing this information across the bank to ensure business decisions are data-driven.

“In the HR analytics space we are trying to engage with other parts of the business that are also in analytics, and leverage and connect with their systems,” she said.

The bank uses Oracle’s OBIEE for dashboard reporting for the wider organisational business performance areas, and Kumar said there may be an opportunity to link business information with HR information to provide more insightful information to the business.

“Leveraging business intelligence and workforce analytics is demand-driven and based on key priorities of the organisation”

“Since introducing employee-centric system, the HR business partners now have the data and relative insight to discuss issues and decisions which carry more weight,” she said.

“Through workforce analytics, the business partners have gained a place at the leadership table for the business areas they are responsible for.

“This shift has been driven by HR, but it is also demand driven.

“This new model has enabled HR to become stronger partners to the business, but also stronger in the way we support the strategy we are proposing.”

Kumar also said increasing capability in workforce analytics will continue to be a key priority for HR and the broader business.

“Different people are at different stages of understanding the use of data and gaining insights from that data,” she said.

Another area of focus will be to maximise investment in new technology to support HR analytics.

“In July we went live with new HR analytics systems and we spent a lot of time getting to this stage,” said Kumar

“Our aim now is to maximise on the benefits technology can deliver to HR, and ensure HR analytics gets the most out of this investment.”

HR has also been collaborating with other areas of the business which are engaged in analytics, and there is an established group within the bank that is engaged in analytics across different domains.

“We share things about the tools we use, the different analytics programs we are working on and what the outcomes have been,” she said.

“It will be the stories and collaboration with the broader business that will continue to play a key role in our HR analytics journey.”

Kumar will be speaking at the 4th HR Metrics and Analytics for Strategic Decision Making 2017, which will be held from 20-22 February 2017 at Rydges Sydney Central. For more information call +61 2 9229 1000, email enquire@iqpc.com.au or download the agenda. Image source: iStock