The LEGO Group People Analytics Journey
Expanding people analytics capabilities seemed daunting to an overworked team at The LEGO Group. Find out how the right solution made it easy.
The LEGO Group has come a long way on their people analytics journey. But in the beginning, expanding to an all-encompassing people analytics solution seemed insurmountable. “At first, I thought . . . please don’t!” says Matias Hviid, Manager, People Analytics & Strategic Workforce Planning. “The tools we had and the way we worked couldn’t scale. We could barely deal with the amount of basic requests.”
Matias joined The LEGO Group in 2015 and has been part of the people analytics team since it was created in 2018. The new-in-post function leader made it clear that he wanted to demonstrate value to the business as a whole and create a ‘pull’ effect, so that people would begin to come to the team for data and insights.
Upgrading unfriendly and unpopular BI
The old business intelligence (BI) solution had never been popular due to a combination of user unfriendliness and the way the data was structured. Technical issues meant a lot of downtime due to errors and updates, plus the end data was raw, which meant a bottleneck of further work before users could gain any insights. Worse, there was a lag of several months from onboarding the data to the point it was available for use.
The people analytics function had a high demand for its work and got great reactions when they presented findings to teams. These findings would often mean teams requested even more details and information to share with other teams, leaders and business partners. The people analytics function had to learn to say yes only to selected projects. Each investigation meant pulling the data, cleaning it, enriching it and then visualizing it in a PowerPoint presentation.
A slicker people analytics experience
The answer to this heavy production lift was to automate the cleaning and wrangling data phases, speeding up the process so they could spend more time analyzing and presenting.
“If we wanted to make analytics part of everything we do in HR, as we said we did,” says Hviid, “things needed to be slicker.”
The LEGO Group partnered with Visier in 2019, choosing Visier for its swift implementation times, user-friendliness and its intuitive nature.
“Some companies invest in tech like this for a specific business problem,” says Hviid, “whether that’s to improve workforce planning, or higher efficiency in recruiting. For us, it was an important step in a general HR modernization journey to achieve data analysis maturity and inspire a data-driven culture.”
Building a rollout strategy one brick at a time
The LEGO group people analytics team began with the rollout to HR Business partners (HRBPs) in 2019, as they are the link to the business. The HRBPs needed to be confident and comfortable with the data so they could effectively begin conversations with others.
The rollout began holding sessions focusing on key questions. While this helped initially, and led to high interest, usage declined. The people analytics team tried to keep it up with ad-hoc support and more office hours, but it didn’t work out. The COVID-19 pandemic changed all that and the group was faced with hectic days where people needed answers fast.
Dashboards and a good security model increased engagement. The LEGO group teams worked with Visier to make a people dashboard where we integrated COVID-19 data and it updated daily. It was super flexible at drilling down and slicing and dicing data, and in just one dashboard shared with all the stakeholders and HRBPs. Setting permissions allayed privacy concerns and empowered people to find the answers they needed securely. The interest was back and growing fast.
The rollout and the dashboard still wasn’t easy enough to understand and didn’t closely enough target the needs of the HRBPs. The breakthrough here happened when we teamed up with a partner community which told us through feedback how to improve the tools and their relevance.
Engaging HRBPs and business units leaders
Data such as turnover and headcount and movement weren’t enough. It was good information but left people asking, “how will it help?” Integrating performance data, compensation data, and position management helped leaders to look at turnover and headcount but also dive deeper into the data during discussions like quarterly business reviews.
“Around this time,” says Christian, “the team realized what a long journey it is to excellence, and how painful it is at times. You have to take people by the hand and simplify it as much as possible.”
At the beginning of 2021, the company’s internal learning program (called “Power Up PO&D”) included data-driven insights as one of its key pillars, indicating there was a push from the very top of the organization for more data-driven decisions. In this context, HRBPs became more comfortable navigating the platform and the people analytics team rolled it out to senior leadership groups.
To keep usage high, the team showed leaders specific data available and drew attention to the digital solutions that HR could access and create to quickly react to business needs. Through talks and one-on-one sessions, the team built trust in the data.
Later that year, the people analytics team had a shared KPI with the partner community for usage. This target unlocked more resources for training and interaction, but the team always wanted more than people just clicking into the platform now and again, skeptical of the data. “We spent a lot of time matching their needs to Visier functionality, to help them understand how the platform and the data could help them,” says May. These sessions and training were the most effective step along the journey, yielding tangible engagement.
With Visier, The LEGO Group established a “single source of truth” and a way of improving data literacy.
From people analytics foundations to insights
The LEGO Group still has plans for improvement. Switching to a software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider reduced reliance on internal IT resources and smoothed processes, supported by the solution’s predefined analysis and metrics.
“We have good vision on usage stats but don’t know exactly how the data is being used beyond clicks in the application,” says Matias, “We believe it’s not being used to the full potential, but it’s up to us to build the competency of the users to enable more sophisticated analysis.”
With usage up, the data-driven culture the company was aiming for is continuously developing. As users access and analyze more data, the ability to centrally control permissions to the analytics software has helped reduce risk of data breaches or misconduct and has encouraged the use of fewer spreadsheets. Users focus on understanding the data, what they want from it, and the output they’re striving for.
The evolution of analytics queries
As faith in the systems has grown, the number of questions and queries the team are asked remain steady, but the type of query has changed.
Encouragingly, there are no more “What is my turnover?” or “What is the headcount?” type of requests. Parts of the HR function where data wasn’t widely used before now demand data and analytics. This increased the perceived value of the work the team delivers.
The new solution now has at least twice the number of active users as the old BI platform and on average more than 90% of the HRBPs are monthly active users. Monthly analysis views increased to more than 1000 a month. With the new processes in place, the team has been able to more than match the demand. “Where our previous operations would be quite arduous and time-consuming,” says Matias, “our new processes now have the speed to deliver efficiently and effectively.”
“In the beginning,” says Matias “a big question was whether we should focus on the foundation and build the data maturity and culture, and then invest in the tech. Or, should we invest in the tech and let that drive the journey? We’ve shown you can successfully and effectively do the latter.”
The future of people analytics at The LEGO Group
With demand on the rise, the team must continue to scale, or else they may face the risk of people looking elsewhere for insight and seeing them as no more than a data delivery function, rather than a fully-fledged people analytics function.
“We’re launching a survey, to get a better understanding of the users and move the focus from usage to value-add,” says Matias. “We want to move from building the habit, to growing the competency and upskill the users in terms of functionality and data literacy.”
The people analytics team is now able to deliver more data to other functions and make that data exchange benefit both sides. And there are plans to further increase awareness and add value to the system by rolling it out to managers in other teams, such as finance – ultimately creating a wider scope and an even greater platform for people analytics.
“The journey is a maze with many turns and bumpy roads,” says Christian. “But it did more than save us time in the end. It raised awareness of the capabilities of data analytics and the people analytics team. It changed the way we worked.”
Getting usable people analytics capabilities doesn’t have to be a huge undertaking or expense. This checklist breaks down what to look for in the right people analytics solution for your team and organization.
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On the Outsmart blog, we write about workforce-related topics like what makes a good manager, how to reduce employee turnover, and employee burnout. We also report on trending topics like the Great Resignation and preparing for a recession, and advise on HR best practices like how to present headcount data to your CEO, metrics every CHRO should track, and connecting people data to business data. But if you really want to know the bread and butter of Visier, read our post about the benefits of people analytics.