Peter: Hello Tom. Thank you in advance that you give me some insights on your activities.
Tom: It is a pleasure.
Peter: Could you tell some facts about yourself? I know that you are a well experienced HR Manager. And it was very interesting to hear that you were the HR Manager of Arcadis - a big Dutch multinational engineering and design company which has acquired the successor of my former employer Acerplan/Hyder Consulting - so we have „asynchronous" junctions of our professional careers.
Tom: My professional background is in international HR, in companies as Philips, KPMG, Aon and as you mentioned Arcadis. I like to work internationally. Besides working I like running.
Peter: What have you done after leaving Arcadis?
Tom: I left Arcadis mid-2014, after more than 30 years in HR in corporate positions. I have always liked innovation, and my believe is that the impact of HR can be a lot bigger. By being more focused, by operating more in the business, by using the opportunities of HR Tech and by being more leaders than followers. In Arcadis I was able, with a super team, to implement some great innovative talent programs. The most iconic program was Arcadis Global Shapers. We have just written a book about this: "Building Powerful networks; the Arcadis Global Shapers story"(link to the book). I wanted to work more cutting edge, and I established the HR Trend Institute. The HR Trend Institute detects, follows and stimulates trends in the area of people and organizations. We are now with a couple of people, focusing on inspiring people with the opportunities created by the trends. Students, mainly from the University of Applied Sciences in Amsterdam, conduct research for the institute.
Peter: Could you describe your role in the context of the HR Trend Institute?
Tom: Through the Institute I conduct workshops, I give keynotes at conferences, I blog and tweet, and share our findings as wide as possible. Through the institute I also get in touch with many innovative organisations and suppliers, of HR Tech start-ups. Crunchr was one of the most promising companies I met. I was impressed by their offering, there was a good connection and they asked me to become a partner.
Peter: Now you are partner at Crunchr - an HR analytics company. HR analytics seems to be an important trend of HR, but only few HR Professionals know opportunities of HR analytics in detail. Could you describe general objectives of HR analytics and specific strategy of Crunchr?
Tom: At Crunchr we provide a SAAS (Sofware as a Service) solution for HR reporting and analytics.
In many organisations HR data is in different systems, or in one system, but not easily accessible. We collect the data out of the different systems, validate the quality, and load it in the Crunchr database. Crunchr is aimed at the HR professional, and we make sure organisations are up and running within weeks. Crunchr as various modules: Organisation, Talent, Succession, Workforce, Preference and Next (is coming soon). With Crunchr you can analyse your HR data in various ways, in a simple way. Our philosophy is: start with the data you have, and even with a limited dataset you can already create surprising insights. In Organization you can look at things like headcount, staff turnover and layers in the organisation. With Talent you can identify talent, and analyse where talent is at risk. In Succession you can slice and dice your succession data in various ways. Workforce analytics and Preference are more advanced. Too much too tell, I realise. In summary: HR analytics can be simple, start with available data, and report your insights in a visual attractive way.
Peter: German HR Managers see a lot of threats of HR analytics. What arguments would you bring forward to convince these managers? Maybe you have some suitable examples?
Tom: I see a lot more opportunities than threats, as you can imagine. But: HR analytics is not the holy grail. It is interesting that many insights I learned when I studied experimental psychology (long time ago...) are still not used in many organisations. Example: the unstructured interview is in may organisations still the most used selection instrument, while we know this instrument is very unreliable. Many organisations have implemented individual bonus schemes, while it is difficult to find evidence that bonus schemes lead to the desired results. So one key message is: HR, work more evidence based. HR analytics helps HR to work more evidence based, and to build the HR programs more on thorough analysis than on gut feel. Organisations like HR to be data driven. HR can increase its impact by creating surprising insights with the help of HR Analytics. With the insights the impact and the efficiency of HR can be increased. Still a lot of money is wasted on HR programs and processes that do not really add value. An example: an organisation made a talent risk map of all their global talent. On the X-axis: the risk that someone will leave (as estimated by their manager, and also looking at years in the job), on the Y-axis the estimated impact of the departure. In the right upper corner: the talent with the highest retention risk and the biggest impact if they would leave. With this analysis and visual representation, they were able to focus their short term talent actions on the most critical areas. With good analytics you are able to be a lot more specific and granular.
Peter: I am very grateful that you offer participants of the HR Innovation Day 2016 a workshop of HR analytics. Could you say something about contents and aims of this workshop?
Tom: The workshop will focus on: How to create surprising insights with a relative limited data set. We will show some examples what other organisations did, but the focus will be to get some practical experience. Our aim: inspire the participants, by showing that starting with HR analytics can be simple. The workshop will be highly interactive, and we will tailor the content to the level and wishes of the participants.
Peter: Thank you very much for this insightful interview. I will be very happy to welcome you on the 28th of May 2016 at the HR Innovation Day 2016 in Leipzig.
Tom: I am really looking forward to the day!