Electronic Arts reinforced value of campus recruiting
At the start of its HR transformation, EA was using a combination of an old HRMS and a custom front end to provide transactional services to users. While the company had no shortage of data about its workforce, reports were limited and difficult to produce.
To begin its journey towards data-driven workforce decision making, EA’s people analytics team began delivering extensive, hard-coded, monthly workforce reports to HR and business leaders, prompting both an extensive data clean-up effort and a better appreciation of HR data. The lengthy reports were a hit with leaders who were looking for basic workforce facts to help them understand and plan for their talent needs.
Over several years, the number of complex weekly, monthly, and quarterly workforce reports that the team produced grew exponentially—encompassing a variety of trends for hiring, talent movement, terminations, demographic shifts in the workforce, and other employment factors. The people analytics team could not keep up with the demand for data and spent its time manually creating reports instead of building deeper analyses into underlying trends, risks, and predictive models.
Building reports was a reactive exercise, and because the team lacked a flexible reporting environment, it limited its ability to slice, dice, and drill down to the right level of insight needed to move from workforce observation to diagnosis.
To address these challenges, EA began to look for a flexible solution optimized for workforce data. Because it had recently implemented Workday as its new HR management system, the team wanted a complementary tool that would help HR produce deep, trended analytics about its workforce. Following a thorough due diligence process, HR chose Visier.
After going live with Visier, HR’s initial challenge was to scale workforce reports to business leaders and HR business partners. Part of the challenge was to deploy enterprise workforce measurements across different organizations while allowing for “mass customization” that allowed leaders to select additional measurements that were most meaningful for their lines of business.
Insights at scale
As part of the onboarding process, data from Workday was set up to load automatically into Visier, allowing the HR analytics team to begin slicing and dicing workforce data immediately. Visier subject matter experts were appointed across the HR function to champion this work within each business unit. The teams then worked to replace all the standard, manually generated monthly and quarterly workforce reports with online Visier presentations that leaders could access on demand.
Leonard Dandurand, group director of HR information services and workforce planning at EA, conservatively estimates that Visier has saved the company about 24 weeks of labor per year—half of a senior analyst’s work year. The time savings, he says, is due to Visier’s ability to automate manual report generation and quickly deliver analytics that would otherwise take much more time to produce.
Dandurand says that as they expand the use of Visier across EA, the time they save will increase in direct proportion to the number of people that use it—by automating the analysis his team would have had to do for them in the past. So far, he says, Visier is available to everyone on the HR team, allowing them to see workforce trends and click through to the underlying data.
One quick and highly visible initial win for HR analytics was using Visier to create detailed sensitivity analyses related to average hiring and termination trends— showing the probability of either exceeding or meeting fiscal-year headcount plans. With recent work to add applicant tracking information to Visier, the EA analytics team will begin delivering headcount management reports across company leaders, HR business partners, talent acquisition, and finance/planning partners to better integrate cross-functional headcount planning processes. Ultimately, the team would like to empower all EA leaders with access to Visier.
As more HR business partners and business leaders become accustomed to using self-service analytics, Dandurand and his team expect Visier will help cultivate a data-driven mindset for talent decisions.
“On my team alone, Visier has conservatively saved us about 24 weeks of labor per year—a half a year’s time of a senior analytical resource. More importantly, we have given HR the ability to self-serve and gain insight into the workforce where there may not have been the bandwidth to do so in the past.”Leonard Dandurand, Group Director of HR Information Services and Workforce Planning
Shaping high-impact HR programs
Another direct benefit that Visier provided was in justifying the value of its University Relations program, Dandurand says. By analyzing performance, promotion, and cost data from hires over the past four years, EA was able to prove that hiring new grads was a smart investment.
Visier helped the people analytics team illustrate that after two years of tenure at EA, new grad hires were consistently being promoted at a higher rate, were more likely to be rated as high performers, and cost the company less than their more experienced peers. Using this information, the University Relations team encouraged business leaders to commit to a more aggressive new-grad hiring target for the following year.
With the significant amount of time they saved by using Visier, the team will be able to do predictive analysis on attrition. They also plan to begin analyzing the workforce factors that predict success for the teams that develop EA’s video games.
“With Visier, we showed that new grads acquired through the University Relations program cost the same or less than their experienced peers, yielding a better performer with more potential at the same or lower cost.”Leonard Dandurand, Group Director of HR Information Services and Workforce Planning
Great talent is at the core of every game EA creates. In an extremely dynamic marketplace, having insight into that talent has never been more important to HR and business leaders.
Going forward, Dandurand says his team plans to analyze workforce data alongside business data to help discover the best predictors of success for each game. Attributes of the teams and team members that develop, market, and support each video game—such as their engagement scores, performance level, cost, manager, and span of control—will be compared with product data, game quality, financial results, and customer satisfaction to discover which paths lead to the best results. As the gaming industry evolves, Visier will be at the forefront, helping HR and leaders at EA shepherd the workforce toward an exciting future.
For organizations that are just getting started with people analytics, Dandurand recommends several best practices:
- Make sure everyone uses the same data for their reports and analytics.
- Establish a consistent schedule to provide workforce reports and use it as a rallying point for your analytics team.
- Create a center of excellence for people analytics within your HRMS service center.
- To ensure that your team remains unbiased, staff it with team members who are unaffiliated with compensation, performance, or other talent management areas.
- Hire a data scientist who can tell good stories with your workforce data.