How Bosch Used Gamification to Build People Analytics Skills

At Bosch in North America, we recognize that it’s possible to effectively use analytics in HR practices to support positive business outcomes. While leadership was eager to bring data analytics into the day-to-day work of HR, we knew that simply introducing an IT tool would not be enough to achieve the desired results. To succeed, we needed to change the culture in HR and build the skillset to better leverage data and impact HR topics in a new way

To enable HR to use data and analytics to drive business results, we needed to build the skillset in analytics and change the mindset to evolve the human capital strategy for the organization.  An effective change management plan would be critical to success and there were three pillars to our approach: gamification, sponsorship and communication. All three pillars played an equally important role in this critical organizational change.

Making Data Fun

To build confidence in working with data, we created a gamification system to guide HR partners through a structured learning process. 

To start, we set up a scorecard that outlined the path to becoming an HR analytics champion. The scorecard identified the activities an HR business partner (HRBP) should complete to move our organization toward an ideal target state.  Along the way, there were small prizes and recognitions to celebrate learning. Some examples of the activities included:

  • Participating in discussion forums with other HRBPs to learn and share best practices
  • Discussing specific workforce concerns with business leaders to identify opportunities for HR to positively impact business results
  • Building a self-sustaining community of practice by sharing their learning with the entire HR organization

In addition to creating a scorecard with targeted tasks, we established diverse teams of HRBPs from different countries, locations, divisions and experience levels to participate in a business case simulation. The teams focused on a common pain point such as talent retention or succession planning. They worked together to learn about data analytics, share best practices, and challenge each other. Each team developed an action plan based on their insights and presented how to approach the business problem with an HR action plan. The HRBPs enjoyed this approach, sharing that “this was a dynamic way of learning” that enabled them to “partner together to creatively problem solve and find common solutions.”

“To enable HR to use data and analytics to drive business results, we needed to build the skillset in analytics and change the mindset to evolve the human capital strategy for the organization. “

The teams presented their use case to a panel of HR and business leaders, who acted as judges. They were scored on how well they were able to apply the different components of the People Analytics methodology to their business question, as well as their storytelling and collaboration ability. The winning team received trophies and had the opportunity to present their case and findings to a group of global leaders. 

Sponsorship Supports Learning

A key to success has been the involvement of an executive sponsor. Charlie Ackerman is Senior Vice President for Bosch in North America and sponsor of the data analytics efforts within HR. Mr. Ackerman’s support was instrumental to the change management strategy, as he established clear prioritization and guidance of the program. Among other key attributes, he is energetic, enthusiastic and respected. He established people analytics as a top priority and promoted it both within and outside of HR. Our executive sponsor provided guidance and support to the HR team and celebrated the successes. He periodically joined conference calls to provide his input and advice to our HR population as we moved along this transformation.  

This involvement and encouragement demonstrated his vision for the organization and the importance of everyone buying into actively participating in our people analytics journey.

Providing Robust Resources and Transparency 

 A robust and transparent communication strategy is the third pillar to our success.  We used an internal social media platform as a one-stop shop on a variety of HR analytics topics. From training guides to newsletters to external research, the platform offered a wealth of information to empower HRBPs with everything they needed to learn the ins and outs of applying data analytics in business. 

Within the platform, HR associates could view a full list of those participating in the program and highlighted achievements and success stories. This simple step enabled cross-organizational learning and sharing. 

To further reinforce learning, the platform also offered interactive activities like polls and quizzes. Discussion forums provided a place for HR practitioners in all functions and levels to share best practices, collaborate, and ask each other questions.

Bringing It All Together

All three of these program pillars played an equally important role in evolving HR to an organization focused on making decisions that are future-oriented and data-driven. We were intentional about intertwining the strategies for these three program components to reinforce our vision. 

“Each team developed an action plan based on their insights and presented how to approach the business problem with an HR action plan. “

For example, employees had the opportunity to earn badges while progressing through their scorecard. We displayed these recognitions on our members’ page and highlighted individual  accomplishments in our newsletter and spotlight awards.

Creating a gamification tool around data analytics resulted in strengthening the skillsets of our HRBPs to better link their efforts to business outcomes. According to a study by LinkedIn, the number of HR professionals in North America who listed analytics skills in their profiles has increased threefold. We’re proud that our HR employees can count many of our HR associates among this community of data-driven leaders.

About the authors:

Preeti Lokam has 5 years of global work experience across multiple industries, from finance to consumer goods to automotive – all of which are driven by a deep curiosity in people and analytics. She has spent the last 2 years at Bosch, implementing Visier technology while simultaneously leading a cultural transformation. She supports HR across North America and liaisons with external vendors, wearing multiple hats such as project manager, change leader, in-house solution expert, coach, writer, video director, and unofficial therapist. She is also the founder of a People Analytics Consortium in Michigan, working to accelerate HR from being reactionary and data-shy to being proactive and analytical partners to the business. Preeti’s ultimate goal is to equip HR with the tools, skillset and mindset necessary to tell remarkable people stories through data, enabling them to drive measurable results throughout the organization.

Steve Rinvelt has more than 20 years of experience leading transformational Human Resource initiatives for large multi-national corporations, applying his passion for utilizing technology to remove waste, drive out inefficiencies, and reduce costs in operations. He currently serves as Manager of Human Resources Information Systems at Robert Bosch LLC, where he is responsible for delivering real-time HR Reporting and Analytics to support the 34,000+ Bosch associates in North America.

This article first appeared in Digital HR Tech.