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Phoenix Group Is Using People Data To Make It the ‘Best Place Colleagues Have Ever Worked’

Peter Meyler shares how Phoenix Group uses people data and the power of people analytics to make Phoenix Group the best place colleagues have ever worked.

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Phoenix Group, the UK’s largest long-term savings and retirement organization, needed to upgrade its approach to data and analytics for great business impact and employee satisfaction. I came on board to help Phoenix Group consolidate and leverage its people data to make it the best place its colleagues have ever worked. 

I initially joined Phoenix Group on a six-month contract to help create a people analytics (PA) strategy as part of its HR transformation. The aim of the PA strategy overhaul was to enable the discovery and delivery of data-driven insights. These insights would be used to inform and measure the impact of activities within the company so we could create an evidence-based HR function. 

A secondary but equally important aim, after carrying out the initial steps, was to use this data to evolve from a reactive approach to operational data to a proactive, predictive use of HR analytics. I prioritized these initiatives with one overarching goal in mind: to be able to deliver a clear roadmap for the business, supported by high-quality data, people, and technology. In short, we want to use our people data to make Phoenix Group the best place colleagues have ever worked.

To enable us to deliver our strategy effectively, we have recognized the importance of high quality data coverage, accuracy, quality, and integrity. This is why we have a program underway across our HR function to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our people processes, ensuring that we are clear about what the success of these looks like and that we can measure this effectively by maximizing data collection and reporting in our HRIS.

One source of truth creates business impact

What’s one of the stumbling blocks to reaching a point where you can use your data to make evidence-based decisions? It’s a lack of integration. Often, data is housed in different systems—at Phoenix Group these include a cloud based enterprise human capital management system and employee listening platform—making it difficult to bring together data for analysis and comparison. 

Siloed data streams lead to uncoordinated insights. You get value only if you can bring all of that data and those insights together. What I was looking for was exactly that: a data integration and visualization tool that would enable us to align all of our data. 

Integrating data to visualize and analyze it all in one place is the best way to develop a single source of truth within your company. And that goes for employee data, too—not just finance or customer data. Personally, I think there should be just as much of a focus on employee experience and data as there is on customer experience and data. It’s an area where really exciting and important insights spring from. For example, in my role as a consultant for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), I’ve found it’s crucial to have accurate and informative diversity data regarding staffing. Data like this helps you to enact positive change.

Phoenix Group wasn’t lacking data: the consistency and quality of the numbers they had were good. The problem was that data was siloed. This meant that certain insights were inaccessible to us without a great deal of manual compilation of data sets, which is not a particularly efficient way to operate. That’s where Visier comes in. 

The Visier difference

In my mission to create a solid data strategy for empowering data-driven business decisions, I found Visier to be the most promising solution. With Visier, we can use data in an evidence-based way to understand and improve our employment proposition and discover its strengths, as well as its areas for improvement. It will also enable us to identify the real, quantifiable reasons and root causes behind the strengths and weaknesses within the employment proposition. Knowing these causes, we can prioritize investments and improvements for the greatest impact.

Visier enables you to address the what, the why, and the how. Using Visier, one pressing challenge we want to address is the expense and loss of value and talent caused by preventable employee turnover. Exit surveys are often used for this purpose—but the problem is that these happen after the employee has already left, when it’s too late to prevent a departure. 

I’m interested in measuring and understanding the point at which the person in question goes from being happy in their role, to less happy, to thinking “I might leave,” and then ultimately to handing in their notice. This is one key area where we see great potential for being able to intervene with Visier.

Getting off on the right foot

A key focus for my team is making a tangible business impact where it matters the most. For example, we’re seeking to better understand what can be done to prolong the ‘honeymoon’ period of new Phoenix Group employees, using data-driven insights to make meaningful interventions and adjustments to policies that impact onboarding. 

We know that turnover is higher for less-tenured employees, typically within the first year of employment. Finding ways to extend the ‘honeymoon’ period could benefit the business by reducing the hefty costs of hiring replacements for employees who never fully ramped up to full productivity. This focus on understanding the drivers of attrition also extends beyond onboarding and opens up the potential for addressing other regrettable turnover scenarios across the employee lifecycle.

Building long-term impact

Traditionally, HR has taken a rather short-term view—looking at the present to, at best, the next 12 months. I want to enable the HR function at Phoenix Group to look further into the future—think five years, not one—in terms of, for example, structure, practice, efficiencies, hybrid work, etc. This is where predictive analytics comes in. 

Predictive analytics is something I’m really passionate about. I’m especially interested in how it aligns with workforce planning. I want to be able to use predictive analytics to assess the significance and impact of business decisions, and use evidence in a predictive manner for planning. Upskilling in one area where this will be important—for instance, helping to anticipate which skills will be necessary within the company, and who should be learning these skills. It’s truly an exciting time to be working in data analytics, and I can’t wait to see the insights that we glean with Visier as our partner for people analytics. 

Learn about how other companies are using people analytics:

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