Taking a data-driven approach to HR isn’t a new idea for many organizations, but it has never been more of an imperative.
Paypal is a company that knows a thing or two about how to leverage data, and it’s good to see that they practice what they preach in the HR function.
In addition to this, Paypal are also well positioned to interrogate any privacy and compliance issues, given their prominent position in the world of finance.
In this session Serena Huang, global head of people analytics, visualisation and HR technology, took a pragmatic and measured look at the advantages of being data-led.
And if you can open your talk with a reference to Spider-Man, all the better.
Huang’s line that ‘with great GDPR comes great responsibility’, felt particularly stark considering that when she asked how many in the room had had GDPR training in the last 12 months, and immediately followed up with asking how many people felt they understood it better, the room went from all hands in the air to almost none.
But – it’s good to know that for Huang, data is a solvable problem that starts with honesty. As our very own Dan Richardson wrote in his interview with Huang in the build-up to the show, she looks at data collection in a different way to many:
“I work backward on wanting to make sure the insights are useful. To make sure the insights are useful, the data has to be credible. For the data to be credible, we need to have trust from employees, and the trust from employees comes from transparency upfront.”
Next, Huang referenced the famous story from the early 2000s about Target predicting a teenage girl’s pregnancy before she even knew herself, a perfect example of the powers of early AI, equal parts impressive and invasive.
How can we use data to put the ‘H’ back in HR? That was big question that Huang looked to address, but she was confident that analytics could ‘give HR a new brand’, and that ‘data and analytics can make HR cool again.’
Any analytical approach is not without its pitfalls, but following Serena’s advice makes it possible to turn many perceived threats into possible opportunities.
If you want more from UNLEASH America but couldn’t make it to Las Vegas, check out our website and our social media channels.