HR professionals gathered recently to discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by HR reporting and analysis in retail
Last month, Retail Week and Workday gathered a group of retail HR professionals together to discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by HR reporting and analytics in the sector.
The discussion was started by Julian Thornley, head of the HR Centre of Excellence at Travelex, who outlined the work involved in implementing the Workday HR system. Travelex is the world’s largest foreign exchange provider and retail is a huge part of its business.
The company’s work with Workday included deciding how best to digitise the employee experience using Workday’s enterprise cloud technology, integrating HR more into the business and implementing high levels of HR self-service for employees.
The starting point to more effectively understand your people, is to first decide on the data you want to collect, and how the data will be used and analysed. Simply collecting as much data as possible and then attempting to make sense of it is typically a much less successful approach.
At Travelex, one of the main focuses was on staff retention and the team wanted to better understand how to retain staff.
Managers were given access to the people data through the Workday system, and Travelex is now seeing changes in behaviours based on a better understanding of that data. If the data highlights an employee is potentially at risk of leaving, managers can now intervene earlier to find out why and potentially take actions to prevent this from happening.
Implementing new HR technology
One of the challenges that Travelex faced during implementation was changing the culture across its business in the UK and internationally to adapt to a self-service HR system. To overcome this, the HR team worked closely with the IT department and regional managers to implement the changes.
The company also focused on local needs, adapting its strategy based on regional and cultural differences internationally. There were also challenges around how the HR system was viewed by employees, and the HR team worked to show employees the value of using the system.
During the implementation process, it was useful for Travelex to focus on collecting and understanding only a selected set of data points that could be easily analysed and understood, rather than attempting to understand a huge amount of data. The selected data points were easy for managers to dissect and understand in monthly review meetings with their teams.
The right tools for self-service
The discussion then moved to giving staff the tools to use the self-service systems in store, and one of the challenges that came up was around connectivity.
In-store Wi-Fi is as useful for staff to carry out self-service HR functions as it is for consumers to enhance their experience, and definitely something worth investing in for retailers.
Workday provides extensive self-service capabilities that Travelex staff use on their own mobile devices regardless of their location.
Valued and effective
For HR systems to be useful and adopted by employees, they need to be easy to use and not require much training. One of the greatest challenges faced by several retailers in the room was the outdated and difficult-to-use HR systems in place in their businesses.
Pulling data together manually, having to create reports from scratch and dealing with dissatisfied staff who find the old HR system confusing or difficult to use were common complaints. Aside from changing systems, though, most retailers acknowledged they often needed to do the best they could with what they had available to them.
The retailers also debated how they can measure the pound value of HR functions for board members, and agreed this is one area where data can help. If people KPIs are agreed at the outset, then showing how those improved and what this means for the business is one way to prove HR’s pound value. It also helps the HR team if they can articulate how using the HR systems will make the life of employees themselves easier – it’s not just about making life easier for HR.
Looking to the future
Looking to the future of more effective HCM systems that help HR, employees and managers, the discussion turned again to data and how to use it most effectively.
Performance reviews online are difficult to get right, as it’s hard to replicate the richness of one-to-one conversations. On a system these conversations become very black and white. It ends up just being a score on a screen.
The conversation ended with some advice for all retail HR professionals who want to use data to better understand their people: decide what data you’re going to collect and then what you want to understand from that. Unless you’re clear on that, you won’t be able to make better decisions for your employees.
- To discuss retail HR systems further, contact Workday at firstname.lastname@example.org.