How a People Analytics Expert sees the future of HR (part one)

8th Nov 2018 by Peter Anders Rasmussen
6 minute read

He has implemented more HR-solutions than most. He is a People Analytics expert, with a passion for  connecting people data, behavior and employee experience.

We are excited to bring you an exclusive interview with Benjamin Borchorst - Management Consultant at Implement Consulting Group. 

Benjamin BorchorstBenjamin has strong experience with HR Technology, People Analytics, Behavioral Design, and HR strategy.

If you have even the slightest interest in HR, Technology, Data, Management, or ... well, just human behavior in general, we highly encourage you to engage yourself in this interview. This is a massive one.

Here is a unique chance to get insight into the thinking process of an experienced Management Consultant, and learn about the current - and future trends in HR.

Our Customer Success Manager, Peter Anders Rasmussen, called Benjamin on a sunny autumn-day in Copenhagen.

The headlines in the first part of the interview are: 

  • Introduction of Benjamin
  • How HR is fitting into the digitalization trend
  • The roles needed in the future data-driven HR-departments
  • How HR can expand its influence

 

Hi Benjamin. Can you give us the classic introduction; who are you and what do you do?


"My name is Benjamin Borchorst. I am a psychologist and have worked a couple of years with psychometrics and development of digital HR-assessment solutions. I got to be part of the development of a new personality assessment from the ground up."

I now work at Implement Consulting Group. Implement is a European based strategy consulting group with offices in Munich, Zurich, Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Aarhus, and Malmö. Implement is growing rapidly, and we are around 650 consultants now, offering strategy and implementation advisory on operations, commercial, digital transformation, Innovation, People & Organization among others.

I mainly advise clients on HR-strategy, digital HR-strategy, people analytics and I am also hands-on with sourcing, selection, and implementation of HR-technology solutions.

The implementation projects are usually on the bigger HR Tech solutions, cloud-based HR Information Systems (or HRIS for short). We assist on the project management to make sure that the cloud-based HRIS implementation is a change with impact.

 

Implement Consulting GroupImplement Consulting Group's headquarter, located in Tuborg Havn, Denmark

You mentioned the focus you have on HRIS, and we know that the world is heading towards more and more digitalization. Where do you see HR fitting into this digitalization-trend?

"I think that HR is, right now, in the middle of it. Various resources document that the investment, both in the startup-world and the big HR tech vendors, has been growing for several years. In the market, we definitely see this development. I am not sure whether HR is lagging compared to other business areas on digitalization however we see much momentum here. My impression is that GDPR has acted as a supporting accelerator for a broader focus on conscious data-activation in the field of HR."

Definitely. So with the trend heading towards more and more digitalization, and also you mentioning data-driven HR, there must be a need for new roles in the HR-departments. Which roles do you think are necessary to secure adoption of data and digitalization?

"I experience a movement towards alignment on a need for five different roles to support data-driven HR.

First, the IT-architecture or data management role. This role is about making sure that there is available data that meet the necessary quality standards and that this data can be connected across systems. There is a significant advantage in combining data (e.g., in many systems offered through APIs) as this allows for data across several sources to be analyzed and integrated into the same view, dashboard or report.

Secondly, the data-scientist role or, perhaps, statistician. This role is about actually taking the data that we have and doing something with it - activating the data. Many HRIS support report functionality that is offering a plain overview of your HR data and functionality for automating this reporting. We see many organizations investing in – also – defining roles to be filled by skilled data scientist that can perform more advanced and ad-hoc activation of HR data.

Thirdly, the business role. This role is about making sure that the areas we are looking into are relevant for the strategy of the business. This role should assure that we are not (just) doing fascinating analysis that is not relevant for the company, which could be a classic pitfall. This role can ensure that the business is guided towards what is actually essential. Moreover, sometimes what you are doing as an HR-department doesn't have to be advanced to make a difference. We think that many organizations can utilize a lot of low-hanging fruits quite efficiently if well-guided on where to harvest.

Fourthly, the behavioral design role. We could also call this an HR-role. This role should assure that our analytics activities connect with the insights created by the field of behavioral science. I believe that behavioral science and behavioral design have a huge role to play in future organizations, in understanding both consumer behavior and employee behavior, performance, and engagement.

Fifth and finally, the role of consulting- or marketing the data-driven insights on the internal side of the organization. This role should assure that the ideas we have created are used to create impact. It is vital to frame the insights and activities the right way to to get the insights out in the organization: To get managers, employees, and HR business partners to understand and act upon the ideas (and avoid great insights “collecting dust” in drawers).

The five roles do not need to be different people, and perhaps some of their responsibilities overlap. However, we think these five aspects are essential in making sure that we can create value and impact with our HR technology and data."

I think that is really interesting. Especially having a kind of data-governance role is critical, if data is to be utilized.

"Yeah."

Do you believe there is a potential for the HR-leader to get a seat at the table if HR were to become more KPI- and data-driven?

"Yes, I think there is. There are different ways of framing this. This is being discussed as the G-3 with the CFO and the CEO being the classic core of the executive team and the third, and new, member being the CHRO (Chief Human Resource Officer). Depending on the business, it may make sense to also include the CTO (Chief Technology Officer). I believe that if we leverage the people data we generate and store in HR technology solutions - while keeping on helping HR becoming more data-driven - then the CHRO could move into the core role of the executive team. In our efforts to support clients on this journey, we sometimes refer to “suiting the CHRO up for the C-suit.” It is a bit corny, but we believe Digital HR and People Analytics has the potential to do just that."

Yes – it sounds corny but makes sense.

"(laughs). It definitely does. I remember a client of mine who had many years of experience heading up global rewards functions stating that: “Money walks on two legs” with reference to the fact that many white-collar, knowledge-worker organizations compensation amounts up to 70% of total expenses. Managing, developing and nurturing such a comprehensive investment should be considered core for any organization."

It relates to a statement I heard about companies' valuation. I think it was around 70% of the valuation that was tied to the non-psychical value, so the talent, the processes, and the culture. I believe that the problem for HR has been that it is tough to measure the impact and prove the results of a lot of the actions taken.

"Yes, I think that you are absolutely right. We see an interest in the M&A (mergers and acquisition) market and, specifically, in the due diligence process on analysis and evaluation of human capital.

In addition to financials, product, and the market trends, we see an increased weighting on the human capital that is being purchased. This is no easy task, and it will be interesting to see how the market develops."



This is the end of part one of our interview with Benjamin. Stay tuned for part two that will be airing soon. Be sure to follow Ontame.io, so you don't miss the next update!

The headlines in part two are:

  • The future of HR - looking into upcoming trends
  • How long time does it take to implement an HR Information System
  • Benjamin's favorite books, articles and podcasts

If you want to connect with Benjamin on LinkedIn, click here

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Tags: HR Tech, People Analytics, HR Analytics, HR Strategy, Employee Experience, Data-driven HR

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