Experian is known for helping consumers find out their credit rating based on their financial data, like how in debt they are, how often you apply for credit and whether you pay your bills on time.
Therefore, Experian is by definition a data and analytics organization, around 7 years ago, “from a HR perspective, there was a real pull to be much more insight led and data driven as an organization” and to use data and analytics to “really inform the decisions we were making around our people”, explains Experian’s global head of people strategy, tech and analytics Olly Britnell.
Now Experian has a “strategy across the whole employee lifecycle” from “candidate sourcing through to retire”.
It was at this point, at the end of 2013, that Britnell joined Experian in order to really drive this data and analytics strategy forward and derive benefits in areas like talent retention and diversity and inclusion.
Having good insights and data is also useful for figuring out the skills Experian needs for the future, and then to “inform out talent acquisition and candidate sourcing strategy”, notes Britnell.
He is very clear that data and analytics is something that all employers should prioritize. “The reality is that for most organizations their people are their biggest cost base. So why wouldn’t you want to understand and take decisions based on evidence on your biggest asset?”
Data and analytics allows you to “drive a culture of making informed decisions”, according to Britnell, rather than relying on assumptions and anecdotal comments about what people want and need.
Experian teams up with Visier
As part of the move to having the HR team laser focused on data and analytics, Britnell led the rollout of data and analytics-focused tech platform Visier at Experian six years ago.
Experian was one of Visier’s first European clients and, for Britnell, Visier’s product stands out from the data and analytics tech crowd for a few reasons.
The first is Visier’s “ability to take disparate data sources, combine them and transform them in an easy simple way”.
So that takes work away from Britnell’s team in Experian; “we send nine different piles of information [from different HR systems] to Visier and within a couple of days it is consolidated”. “This basic data transformation [and] warehousing layer is incredibly valuable”.
Britnell also notes that the solution is purpose built for HR and people professionals. “There are lots of good visualization tools out there like Tableau and Microsoft Power BI that allow you to visualize data”.
But then Experian would need to manually build out dashboards, “whereas with Visier we get out of the box suit of metrics and KPIs are contextualized to HR people perspective and to an industry standard”, explains Britnell.
Therefore, Visier is a real time saver for Experian. “It allows the team to focus on the right activities, rather than churning out data and producing charts [on Excel]”, which “was a hugely laborious process, time-consuming and wasn’t value-adding”, “they can use Visier as a true analytics tool to produce insight” not just visualize the data.
The fact the tool is built for HR also means that Visier has been widely adopted by the HR department at Experian. A major challenge Experian has faced with data and analytics is “the HR function not necessarily getting it or not seeing it as part of their role”.
But since “Visier is easy to use…and access, it made it a lot easier for people to get access to the data…without being reliant on a central team to produce a chart for them.” Now they can go into Visier and do the work themselves.
“The mindset shift within the broader function has been incredibly important”, explains Britnell. However, it came as a result of lots of work by Britnell and his team to train, educate and slowly implement the tool to get buy in from HR business partners.
“We spent a lot of time doing various education exercises [like] lunch and learns or workshops about how to get the best out of Visier”, notes Britnell.
But, one of his main tips for other companies implementing a new data and analytics tool, is to make sure the education and training element is not a “one time exercise”.
“You have to keep the drumbeat going around why we are using [the tool] [and] what the benefits are”, states Britnell. “If you keep driving forward, you will get real benefit from the tool from the wider population”.
Predictive solutions around attrition
The ‘Great Resignation’ is a major concern for companies at the moment. But, of course, using data and analytics can really help companies to stay ahead of the game in terms of retaining their talent, as well as attracting new talent in the competitive job market.
To build on the visualization and analytics piece that Visier helps Experian with, Britnell explains that the credit company has created its own forward-looking predictive solution. This product is similar to its credit risk scoring tech, but rather than relying on financial data, Experian’s attrition prediction tool relies on people data to figure out people’s flight risk from organizations.
It allows companies to have “real insight around the factors driving attrition”. For instance, it can track if someone has had multiple managers in the last year or they haven’t had a promotion or pay rise for three years, and then figure out the likelihood of them leaving the organization.
As a result, HR leaders and mangers can identify the risk profile for their department or team, as well as “drill right down to the employee level” and understand what might be pushing them to leave and then proactively tackle it before they actually resign.
If you want to hear more gems of insight from Olly Britnell, as well as Visier’s vice-president of people analytics Ian Cook, then sign up here to attend an upcoming UNLEASH webinar on 14 October!