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Data-centric culture clash

Technology pushes us to learn every day. Data changes at the speed of light and, on top of that, the expectations are high. All industries are eagerly watching IT to find out what is next. How do we give the customer that little bit extra? What actions can we take to perform better? Jocelyn Darbroudi, CIO at Securex, and Dorien Roes, Country Manager of Belux at Workday, shed light on their ongoing efforts to deal with these challenges.

We aim to create a data-centric culture. By giving employees access to data, we empower them to make informed decisions and contribute to the organisation.

Jocelyn Darbroudi.

“We are moving towards an era in which everything is about data,” says Jocelyn. “More than ever, it is important to figure out how to gain access to the right data and ask ourselves what we can do with them. We often hear that none of this is possible without simplifying IT. However, I think that waiting until IT is simplified is an illusion. Data are a jungle, you cannot make a park out of them. We need to learn to use data in their imperfect form and still try to make sense out of them.” Dorien continues: “To manage your data effectively, you have to break down the boundaries between different applications, create a cohesive architecture and actively involve your employees in the full story.”

Appetite for structure

Many IT leaders are looking at how to manage growing amounts of data. The integration capabilities of platforms like Workday will enable Securex to streamline their finance and HR processes, eliminate data silos, and make the most of their data.

“By structuring data effectively, we can make informed decisions based on relevant and timely information,” says Jocelyn. “I actually do not worry about the amount of data, but I am concerned about their structure. Where do the data come from and how are they interpreted and consumed? Workday allows us to connect the financial and HR data efficiently, eliminating the need for multiple data integrations.”

“I am convinced that if you structure your data properly and your objectives are clearly defined, the challenge of the amount of data would become a minor one,” says Dorien. “Besides, Workday makes it possible to deliver the right data to the appropriate people in your organisation. Not only important for GDPR, but also a time-saver when making decisions.”

Data, the name of the game

Once data are structured, things get interesting. By using data analytics and predictive models, it becomes possible to make data-driven decisions in critical areas such as workforce planning, talent recruitment and employee performance management.

Jocelyn: “Securex utilises data to gain insights into workforce costs, talent requirements and skill gaps. Moreover we want to plan for the future: who do we have to hire and should we look for new talent, or is there someone internally who is suited for the job?” “Especially when it comes to skills-based projects, data and technology can support the allocation of the right employees,” adds Dorien.

“We want to be a data-driven organisation in every aspect,” Jocelyn continues. “We base our decisions on what the data are telling us. However, on top of that we care about our employees. They make the final decision. Data support them. After all, we must not forget that people are our biggest asset.”

Let employees shine

In an increasingly competitive and globalised job market, HR departments face challenges in attracting and retaining top talent. Dorien: “Today employee engagement is key, especially now Gen Z is entering the job market. When employees have the right mindset and fit into your organisation’s culture, that extra mile is within your reach.”

A well-defined culture with shared values is where it all starts, and the same can be said if you want to implement data in your daily operations successfully. “At Securex, we aim to create a data-centric culture within our organisation,” says Jocelyn. “We believe that by giving employees access to data, we empower them to make informed decisions and contribute to the organisation more effectively.

Creating a cohesive culture is not always easy with the rise of remote work and virtual teams, but employee engagement and satisfaction must be optimised.” “When employees are at risk of turnover, their level of engagement with the business will always decline,” continues Dorien. Data taken from our employee engagement platform, Workday Peakon Employee Voice, show that an employee’s engagement metrics will typically reveal warning signs nine months before they actually leave an organisation. Not only does measuring employee engagement give you an overview of the factors driving employee turnover, it also gives your people a chance to weigh in on the issues that matter to them. That creates a culture where employees feel able to speak up and take action.”

Robots and monkeys

Dorien: “AI can deliver a lot of business advantages and create a huge amount of efficiency. However it should be used the right way. At Workday, AI and ML are built into our platform, so we can easily deliver new models. It is key to be transparent about the models you implement and always keep the human being in the loop to make decisions.”

“AI can take care of lots of tasks. I would rather limit them to the so-called monkey tasks, allowing employees to focus on more creative and empathetic aspects of their work,” says Jocelyn. “Somehow, our education system pushed people to be robots but, now that robots are a reality, it is time to let human beings do what they should do: be empathic, talk to each other, come up with brilliant ideas and then let robots execute them.”

To sum up, data are here to stay. They bring a lot of benefits to HR and present a lot of future opportunities if used properly. Thinking about striking a good balance between technology and people is more important than ever. So, break down the boundaries between different applications, create a cohesive architecture for your data and actively engage your employees.