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Ideas and insights for today’s people-centered leaders.

In this Outsmart panel, people analytics practitioners from the LEGO Group, Deutsche Bank and Unilever discuss why Visier pairs well with Workday. Sign up to watch Outsmart sessions on-demand today! 

A truly modern people-focused organization has the best of two worlds: the capacity to manage HR transactions with an HCM solution, and the capacity to answer more complex, strategic questions with a people analytics solution. 

But when deciding which of the two should be implemented first, many leaders end up engaging in a cart-before-the-horse debate.

This was a central theme in the Outsmart session, Visier & Workday: Building a Comprehensive People Strategy with Multi-Touch Solutions. In this session, Visier’s Steve Holder engaged in a lively discussion with Melissa Kantor from The LEGO Group, Rob Etheridge from Deutsche Bank, and Nicky Clement from Unilever. 

The panelists came from organizations that had brought in Visier people analytics before or during their Workday HCM implementation. The general consensus? The solutions are complementary, but there are many advantages to implementing people analytics first.

Here are five key takeaways from the discussion:

1. Use the right tool for the right job

The panelists emphasized that operational reporting and strategic people decisions are two different purposes that are served by different tools. Melissa (who is LEGO Group’s Vice President of People Analytics and Insights) explained that the analytics in Workday will provide her team with basic HR reporting, while Visier will support more sophisticated trending and forecasting analysis

“I think it’s good to keep in mind that you can talk about your system of record, your core HR system, the one that runs your processes, and that’s completely separate. It should be a separate discussion from the insights you need to get from your people data,” explained Melissa, who started off her career in IT before moving into the realm of HR.

As Rob (who holds the title of Managing Director, Global Head of Workforce Management and Analytics for Deutsche Bank) later explained, workforce management is a spectrum of activity. He also emphasized that BI tools aren’t a game changer. They are helpful for specific use cases, but in the end, provide incremental improvements in terms of data visualizations. 

With a people analytics platform, his organization can address business strategy, costs, and human capital outcomes all in the same visualization.

Quote from Melissa Kantor of LEGO Group that says: During our Workday implementation, we looked at how to set ourselves up for success and get data and information fast. Visier enabled us to do that and leapfrog our maturity level

2. Visier supports your Workday roll-out

Melissa’s organization implemented Visier in 2019 and is planning on going live with Workday in October of 2021. She stated that they will experience many advantages because they rolled out Visier first. The people analytics platform helped them understand and highlight where they have some data gaps or data quality issues that they needed to address before they embarked on the Workday implementation.

“[This] really set us up for success during the Workday implementation, and at the same time realize the strong benefits from the data we already had by leveraging the tools in Visier. And for us that was a great solution,” she said.

3. Start with some strategic quick wins 

Rob described how his organization started with their Workday implementation first–but that there are many benefits to taking a people analytics-first approach. 

“It’s much better to have a firm foundation for the decisions you’re making and then change the processes,” he said. “By implementing Visier first organizations can very easily get some quick wins by ensuring that the business is informed and is making good decisions.”

While it’s important to improve processes, he added, it doesn’t change the fact that many senior stakeholders need to make strategic decisions now. 

Quote from Rob Etheridge of Deutsche Bank that says: Implementing Visier and getting up and running is much less complex than implementing Workday for a whole company. You can get quick wins very fast. You're speeding up getting the value from your data without having to go through a huge HCM implementation

4. Think about skills and workforce planning

Panelists also discussed the value of workforce planning. With the right solution, leaders can work out the consequences of different scenarios, what is affordable, and how they can make the right investment choices. 

Rob mentioned that his team is focusing on skills, and the need to bridge current capability with future capability. Helping HR leaders translate the overall business strategy into a plan with a people analytics solution is key. 

5. Use the power of exploratory analysis 

As Melissa explained, her organization does two types of analysis: exploratory and hypothesis-based. With a hypothesis-based approach, there is a specific question in mind, but exploratory analysis is about looking at the data to see if any unusual trends emerge.

Before Visier, a lot of her organization’s people partners didn’t have a way of doing exploratory analysis. But now they can go in and do this with areas such as attrition or promotion. This kind of exploration is key: “Then you can ask if it is a good thing or not a good thing, and then it’s easy for business partners and leaders to absorb it and take it to the next level of maturity in terms of the ‘so what?’ factor,” said Melissa.

Navigating the HR tech landscape

The average HR tech landscape has about 10 systems and there is a role for people analytics within that ecosystem. Whereas analytics leaders used to have to educate their senior leaders about people analytics, the market has matured to a point where this is no longer necessary. And when deciding which piece of the HR modernization puzzle to put in place first, people analytics is a great place to start.

About the Author

People-centered ideas and insights by the editorial team at Visier.

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