Intercontinental Hotels Group's SVP HR: How analytics have transformed our HR function

 Intercontinental Hotels Group's SVP HR: How analytics have transformed our HR function

Five years ago, Intercontinental Hotels Group's (IHG) HR function was "patched together," by its own admission. There was high reliance on HR, little self-service for managers or employees and a lack of consistency about how HR was managed across the business. 

Speaking on the first day of HR Tech World in Paris, Faye Frater, SVP Global HR Systems at IHG, explained how introducing Workday as the company's HR global system helped address this "huge burning platform" and bring about wide-scale change to the business. 

As well as "fixing the basics" such as harmonising HR policies, job profiles, and compensation grades, - and moving towards a self-service model - the hotel chain used the system to develop four HR analytics dashboards to provide real-time reporting.   

This includes a workforce summary dashboard, which shows the number of employees and contractors in the business so the HR team can track headcount and monitor labour turnover. There's also a diversity dashboard to analyse gender distribution figures on job band and organisational type. 

The third dashboard is called 'room to grow' and shows hiring numbers by internal versus external candidates, by band and promotion figures. And, finally, the performance dashboard provides knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) and performance development plan (PDP) progress summaries. 

Frater says that the use of data analytics has significantly transformed the way the business operates. "Everything we do as an HR function is to help get the best out of our people and, for our managers, that means helping them make intelligence hires, fix any talent gaps and retain the best people," she says. "The dashboards have enabled us to bring a more strategic perspective to the organisation and inform the right insights to drive business performance." 

When change management is as significant as this, Frater said its natural to experience resistance - even from within the HR function. "There has been some change aversion - people clinging onto the old world - to comfortable ways of working," she says. "We've had to work proactively with colleagues who originally joined HR to work with people, not data or technology. That includes rolling out an education programme and putting in place coaching."

Speaking exclusively to HR Grapevine, Frater told us how the biggest challenge for any transformation project such as this is around managing the complexity of change. "You need to break it down into bite-sized chunks - both for the project team to deliver and the business to absorb," she said. 

"On paper, what you're trying to achieve may look straightforward but when you start to talk about changing ways of working, you have to really consider all of your stakeholder groups and their needs. Communication is critical in all this. Look at business readiness for change, assess your comms strategy and training plans, and provide change packs to make sure the business can execute the change in a seamless way." 

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