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Sydney Based HR Leaders Discuss HR and "Big Data"

Hosted by: Credit Suisse Morgan Stanley

Two groups of 25 of Australia’s top Regional HR Leaders met at the offices of Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse in Sydney last week as part of The Chapman Consulting Group’s 2014 Global HR Networking Series. With magnificent views of Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Opera House as the backdrop, HR Leaders from the likes of Deutsche Bank, Energizer, Kimberly Clark, Optus, Telstra, Pfizer, Qantas, Schneider Electric and many others were joined by Felicity Gray and Fiona Jury from ChapmanCG to discuss HR and the use of ‘big data.’

The morning session kicked off with thought provoking presentations from Jillian Rezsdovics, Executive Director HR at Morgan Stanley; Alison Hancock, GM OD Client Engagement at Telstra; and Tony Martin, Regional HR Director at Energizer. In the afternoon the scene was set for engaging and robust discussions by Ronan Carolan, Head of HR Consumer Australia at Optus; Kirby Grattan, VP Human Resources Global Industry Sales at Schneider Electric; and Kristine Minter, Director Compensation Asia Pacific with Kimberly Clark.

The Journey Towards Advanced HR Analytics

The organisations in attendance were at varying stages of development regarding the collection and meaningful use of HR data. In terms of analytics, some company’s systems were in their infancy or early implementation stages, whereas others had progressed further towards advanced reporting, to provide meaningful insights. There were a number of common themes and learnings which arose in both sessions:

1) Data Insights Enable HR to be a Trusted Advisor to the Business

It was agreed that robust HR analytics will enable many parts of the HR function to move up the value chain. Instead of maintaining a strictly transactional focus, analytics can enable HR to place more emphasis on providing strategic advice, adding value and influencing key business decisions. Armed with not only the hard data, but the analytical capability to turn the data into meaningful business advice and actions, HR Leaders will have more ‘clout’ to drive strategy and cultural change through their organisations.

2) HR Needs to Develop More Analytical and Consultative Capability

There was agreement from many HR Leaders on the need to create not only ‘data-driven thinking’ in HR, but also to bring new skill sets into the HR domain. Kimberly Clark has benefited from bringing sales and marketing talent into the HR team, and similarly Mastercard has enjoyed success bringing finance talent into its HR analytics function. Training was also taking place to teach HR ‘How to be effective data consultants.’

One HR Leader mentioned that whilst the business was embracing the new technology, there was surprising pushback from employees in HR about automating parts of their role. Cultural change and upskilling will be required in some HR teams to help shift the focus from the tactical, to a broader strategic and commercial outlook.

3) HR Data Insights — Success Stories

Whilst it is still early days for many organisations, some identified that HR data had already been successfully used to:

  • Profile and recruit top performers;
  • Enhance rewards programs;
  • Increase internal mobility;
  • Reduce the number of management level hires;
  • Reduce the time taken to fill management roles;
  • Benchmark to the external market.

A number of HR Leaders in the room had used data to identify a strong correlation between employee satisfaction and customer advocacy, which was a promising sign for those organisations investing heavily in customer experience and engagement. In addition, with employees now demanding a more customised experience, and up to four different generations all working together in many organisations, HR now has the tools to provide an enhanced employee experience. One HR Leader shared an exciting glimpse into the future of HR by mentioning a success his organisation has enjoyed with the gamification of online recruitment processes for certain roles.

4) How Much Data Is Too Much?

With all of the data now available, the HR Leaders agreed on the importance of prioritising the business imperatives, and turning the insights into action. There is a need to focus on key deliverables, so as not to get lost in the data. As Tony Martin from Energizer put it, “We need to ask ourselves – what are we doing differently as a result of the insight?”

The HR Leaders across all industries were looking forward to using HR data in a more sophisticated manner in the future, as the capability within their organisations develops. Workday came up as the software of choice across many organisations, and there was mention of setting up a ‘Sydney Workday User Group,’ so that HR professionals could share experiences and ensure optimal usage of this powerful tool.

Many thanks go to Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse for hosting these meetings, and we look forward to reconvening with these groups later this year.

Here’s What People are Saying…

“I enjoyed the opportunity to meet other HR professionals and learn from the experiences of others. The format allowed an opportunity to exchange views and make new connections, which is extremely valuable.” Tony Martin, Regional HR Director, Energizer

“A very interesting session allowing HR professionals from a range of industries to share best practice methodologies.” George Kanaan, HR Country Management Australia, Credit Suisse

“Fantastic meeting! Taking time to connect with peers from other organisations is a great way to stimulate new ideas and approaches to common HR challenges.” Kristine Minter, Director Compensation Asia Pacific, Kimberly-Clark Australia

“These sessions are always great for strategic insight. For me, the changing world of our businesses — connectivity, real time satisfaction, customer needs, the digital world, etc. – means that workforce planning and identifying our skill sets and capability for the next two to five years is critical for the ongoing success of our businesses. We have one of the biggest HR jobs to do!” Cathy Doyle, Head of Human Resources, APAC Diversity and Inclusion, BNP Paribas

“The meeting was fast paced and highly interactive – good level of HR leadership around the table. The exchange of best practice and experience was thought provoking and provided several good ideas and leads to bring back to my workplace.” Kirby Grattan, VP Human Resources, Schneider Electric


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Key Contributors:

Fiona Jury
Fiona Jury

Senior Director, Global Research and Market Intelligence

Consulting Team
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Fiona Jury
Consulting Team

Fiona Jury

Senior Director, Global Research and Market Intelligence

Fiona Jury is the Senior Director, Global Research and Market Intelligence at ChapmanCG. She is passionate about excellence in search delivery and leads ChapmanCG’s global research and market intelligence team in identifying top-quality HR talent.

Fiona’s executive search and recruitment career spans over 20 years, working across multiple markets including Asia Pacific, the United States, the Middle East and Australia/New Zealand. A search consultant at heart, Fiona understands the unique needs of clients. During her time with ChapmanCG, Fiona has delivered on CHRO, Global HR Director, Regional HR Director, Global Talent Head, Global Head of Reward and many other high impact searches.

Prior to joining ChapmanCG, Fiona held a variety of leadership and senior consulting roles at Talent2 and at Morgan & Banks/TMP. She possesses broad industry experience across pharmaceuticals, FMCG, financial services, media, professional services and IT & Telecommunications.

Fiona originally qualified as a Chartered Accountant and spent her early career with Coopers & Lybrand. She holds a Bachelor of Economics (Accounting) from Monash University in Melbourne. Outside of work, Fiona enjoys spending time with family and her three children. She enjoys all sports and is fascinated by human ingenuity and positive psychology.