People

Using data analytics and tech in HR

Data analytics can help boost productivity and create better collaboration within the HR team, says Mr Jason Ho.
At OCBC, attrition can be predicted with an accuracy of 75 per cent using data analytics. About 10 factors are used to help OCBC forecast which staff members might leave in six months. ST FILE PHOTO
Data analytics can help boost productivity and create better collaboration within the HR team, says Mr Jason Ho.
Data analytics can help boost productivity and create better collaboration within the HR team, says Mr Jason Ho.

Digital strategy not just about technology, but people as well: OCBC's head of group HR

Data analytics and technology play a huge role not only in OCBC Bank's operations but also in its human resource practices, said a top executive.

Mr Jason Ho, OCBC head of group human resources, told The Straits Times recently: "A digital strategy is not just about technology, but also people, and how they adapt and use technology, and a mindset to embrace changes in the organisation.

"At the end of the day, we've to put everything together and need the information system to capture the data (we need)."

Mr Ho recalled a case study from the bank using data analytics "to provide insights on executive resourcing".

"The team discussed coming up with a dynamic dashboard with colours like amber and green, to show the readiness of a candidate as he moves along the pipeline.

"The business partners, or those who support business divisions in hiring, can log in to the system to know the progress, instead of the traditional reliance on spreadsheets and conversations."

The system can help identify if hiring managers are taking too long or the status of candidates' applications, and help hasten processes and improve candidate experience.

TRAINING ON THE GO

It's about learning anywhere, anytime. Eventually, because of the data analytic capability we've built, we can drive learning initiative to certain colleagues who need it more.

MR JASON HO, OCBC head of group human resources, on the learning management system, which is being added to its existing HR in Your Pocket mobile app.

"By using data analytics in a simple way, you can improve productivity and create a better collaboration within the HR team.

"The reason our HR team can do this is that we started our data analytics journey way before. Our former CEO David Conner asked what else we can compete on besides pricing. That's how we started 12 years ago, and took at least three years to clean up our enterprise data, among other things."

Data analytics usage in HR really came together in 2015.

An early project was creating "a model to predict attrition in the next six months". Attrition can be predicted with an accuracy of 75 per cent with data analytics at OCBC. About 10 factors are used to help OCBC forecast which staff members might leave in six months.

The bank also looks at what it calls regrettable attrition or "people we don't want to lose, and a conversation takes place on concerns and how the business manager can engage you".

He said: "We've done these and showed it to the management who likes it. There is acceptance by the bank that is important for HR to go on doing and we've other projects."

The firm is also adding what is called a learning management system to its existing HR in Your Pocket mobile app, for learning or training on the go. The system will be ready next year.

"It's about learning anywhere, anytime. Eventually, because of the data analytic capability we've built, we can drive the learning initiative to certain colleagues who need it more," added Mr Ho.

He noted the bank underwent an intensive one-year assessment on getting the right system, and nothing is spared in the five-year IT road map he has laid out for HR.

OCBC is also looking at using data analytics to come up with customisable benefits for employees of all age groups.

"The challenge of HR is that people view it as fluffy because it's based on experiences. HR is actually the most independent source in the company, and we present the most objective view of what's happening in our business to the CEO.

"Data analytics is another tool we can use to enhance on-the-ground information as it confirms certain things. Without that, we're relying only on the relationships we've built on the ground."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 25, 2017, with the headline 'Using data analytics and tech in HR'. Print Edition | Subscribe