Anglo American unified fragmented data for a global workforce
Anglo American’s people are at the heart of its business. As part of its organization-wide Technical Sustainability initiative, it committed to using analytics not only for mining operations but for finance and HR. Given Anglo American’s global economic environment, it faced a number of difficult challenges with recruiting, hiring, and managing its workforce. Among these include:
- Attracting and retaining talent in a highly competitive labour market, especially in London, UK, where Anglo American is headquartered
- Enabling assignments of the workforce in an agile way
- Providing expertise and workforce to joint ventures with governments and other partners
- Configuring projects with the right skills at the right cost and time
- Responding to unpredictable economic cycles (Anglo American has been involved in a number of merger or divestiture activities in response to the economics of mining)
Anglo American’s human capital management systems landscape was fragmented, making it complicated to combine data together and get the full picture of its global workforce. The HR technology ecosystem includes six distinct SAP Human Resources management systems, one Employee Central (SuccessFactors) HRMS, an internal database, and an SQL data warehouse.
For reporting, it had a few solutions, considered to be clunky, complex, and no longer fit for purpose. One was the SQL tool called “Insights” that took data feeds from the multiple SAP environments and was used to manage global headcount reporting and other ad hoc HR reporting requirements.
Lastly, the company has a number of distinct business units with distinct workforce data needs and with different levels of expertise with reporting and analytics. Each unit has a unique way of managing and analyzing its data, making it difficult to act in unison or share information and generate consistent and aligned reports and analytics. Obtaining reports from these different business units, each with varying levels of reporting capability could take days per report and, if a different question needed answering, analysts had to start anew.
In 2017, Anglo American chose Visier to support improved decision-making about workforce availability and costs, serve as a mechanism to progress the organization towards a more data-driven culture, and provide a single unified platform that enables effective data analysis.
Francesco Turchetti is Anglo American’s Global Head of Talent and the champion for this people analytics initiative. Turchetti, who had experience with the Visier solution at a previous organization, was responsible for putting together a team to lead the implementation.
Currently, the team is composed up of two people whose focus has been on implementing Visier across the business through a structured change management approach, ensuring key data sets are available to the business, and providing the right governance framework to manage the implementation and elements around master data accuracy.
Moving forward their focus will be on insight discovery to enable action through storytelling with data and upskilling the HR function around the utilisation of analytics.
People analytics implementation leads to greater data accuracy
As it began implementing people analytics, Anglo American saw that it needed to achieve alignment across all business units on metrics covering data elements like headcount, contractor management, diversity, and even geographic designations. To work through aligning its data, the organization created a data governance council to meet and address variations in naming conventions and data attributes across the organization. Today, as they do weekly data loads into Visier, they have greater visibility into the data that enables them to quickly validate and fix it as needed.
“We are looking to grow the team in 2019 to include a data scientist to help drive the generation of insights for our business.”Dominic Podmore, Head of Information System, HR
Building demand with champions
The HR leadership team mandated that each business unit nominate and sponsor an HR person to be the analytics champion for its unit, thereby acknowledging and making a visible commitment to the people analytics project from the top.
Seven primary champions, as well as additional people, were chosen to act as Visier super users for each business unit. Many of the super users work extensively with the data and are familiar with it. These champions are made up of HR business partners, specialists, and people with rewards expertise.
These super users also helped to validate workforce data during the implementation, which was part of the data accuracy and alignment initiative mentioned previously.
Enabling improved decision-making
Turchetti recognizes that it’s important to let Anglo American’s senior executives know that HR data and analytics are readily available and their support is needed to continue to create and drive demand. Furthermore, until now, line managers have never had easy access to HR data, which limits their ability to see early indicators of workforce issues and dig deeper to understand the trends behind these so they can address these challenges.
To enable the leadership team, the analytics team had one-on-one demos with each executive team member, which raised visibility and awareness of analysis opportunities. Anglo American has also grown the people analytics community to over 100 people within the business units.
Additionally, change management and training initiatives have been run via webinars, calls, and face-to-face engagements in London, Johannesburg, Singapore, and Brisbane.
Today, Anglo American has a much better picture of its workforce, enabling them to establish realistic goals and meet these goals using analytics practices. For example, prior to Visier, the HR team did not have visibility into its attrition of high performers or talent pipeline diversity. It used to be quite painful to pull the necessary data together.
“The beauty of Visier is it gives you information easily and it makes people stop and think.”Dominic Podmore, Head of Information System, HR.
With people analytics, it is now able to show female and minority ratios across bands. From this information, as well as Anglo American’s commitment to change, the organization assigned a Diversity and Inclusion person and is working to improve these ratios. Anglo American is now able to provide periodic data on its progress and sustain conversations about its goals.
Anglo American now has common definitions and data standards for employee master data. For example, during data validation, they found that some units called some of their workforce “externals” and some called them “contractors.” Any inconsistencies have been reconciled such that business units can now access common workforce data.
For the first time, they can effectively aggregate data—and they can do this faster and better.
What once took days to compile is now done in less than 30 minutes with Visier, which also provides an easy-to-use environment to develop reusable metrics through slideshows that are easy to understand.
While Anglo American’s HR has not always been seen as critical, it now has the capability to deliver data-driven decision support to all levels of the business thanks to the combination of one data source to integrate all data, alignment activities to achieve common data standards, and enabling business leaders with training on how to ask better questions about the workforce.
“HR was not always seen as critical partner, but now as we start to add greater value through the use of data and analytics to support the business and the decisions they need to make around our people, we are changing the way the business sees us and the value we can add. We now have a stronger voice!”Dominic Podmore, Head of Information System, HR
The broader rollout strategy for people analytics is to continue to onboard more data to enable more analysis topics and to progressively reach more and more users—through HR to people managers—as the right data is incorporated.
Roll out data plans include adding data from performance and talent management, compensation, attendance, safety (including benchmarks), productivity, and business outcome data. Shortly, they will roll out Visier to all of HR—about 600 to 700 employees—and from there, they will further roll out to line managers, and then deeper into the business to encompass 3,000 to 4,000 employees. Turchetti likens this process of acceleration to a data-driven culture to being like “going from riding a bike to driving a Ferrari.”