Article: Tackling COVID-19 with workforce analytics: Nokia's journey

HR Analytics

Tackling COVID-19 with workforce analytics: Nokia's journey

In his session at People Matters TechHR 2020, Nokia’s Head of Workforce Analytics & Organization Management, David Shontz, talked about Nokia’s journey in people analytics, the capability evolution of workforce analytics that supported the company through COVID and more.
Tackling COVID-19 with workforce analytics: Nokia's journey

"Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion" -  W. Edwards Deming

Having evolved from a mobile handset manufacturer to a global network infrastructure provider, Nokia has been through its share of transformation in the last decade or two. While the global pandemic accelerated the need for such business transformation across the globe and across industries, Nokia had a powerful tool that they leveraged to navigate the crisis and safeguard business and people, this tool was - People Analytics.

In his session at People Matters TechHR 2020, Nokia’s Head of Workforce Analytics & Organization Management, David Shontz, talked about Nokia’s journey into people analytics, the pillars of HR digitization for Nokia, and capability evolution of workforce analytics that enabled the team to support the company through COVID.

Read on for highlights from the session.

Focus areas for HR digitization

Kick-starting the session with the framework of HR digitization followed by Nokia, David discussed the three guiding pillars in their journey so far:

  • People Analytics: To create data with insights for better workforce and business understanding, decision making and predictions
  • Digital assistants: To improve employee experience, service availability and effectiveness
  • Robotic Process Automation: To Improve HR process quality, speed and effectiveness

Diving further into the four phases of Nokia’s people analytics journey, David touched upon how the organization has experienced evolution within the analytics function over the years, from the stage of data consolidation four years ago, to exploring data visualization and scope of analytics to today, experimenting and leveraging advanced analytics. 

David shared that in the quest of deriving more value from data consolidation, the organization began exploring data visualization.

“This was a huge leap forward. We were able to view and create different metrics on request and had the capability to slice and drill through it as well.”

He emphasized that this proved to be a huge insight advantage for users as they were able to see through trends and actuals about what’s going on with the workforce. 

The gradual evolution of people analytics for Nokia was visible in three pockets:

  • Strengthening alignment and role clarity between CoE and workforce analytics team
  • Expanding analytics use cases, and capabilities of the analytics team
  • Co-creation of people analytics operating and governance models

With such evolution and experience, Nokia was in a position to piece data together while also further bifurcating its scope into three HR domains as below:

  • HR Workforce analytics: HR workforce analytics entails workforce metrics & KPIs, workforce planning and design and advanced analytics projects
  • HR CoE analytics: HR CoE analytics focuses on domain-specific KPIs, HR Program management, and Program planning and design.
  • L&D analytics: L&D analytics taps into learning metrics and KPIs, tailored offerings and competence management

How analytics helped Nokia navigate the crisis

By crafting an analytics strategy covering different segments of the business that demanded attention in times of the crisis brought on by COVID-19, Nokia was able to not only navigate the immediate concerns but also build on a sustainable strategy for the mid-term. The onset of the pandemic brought with itself chaos that led to the need to readjust priorities. “There was a clear redirection of priorities for the analytics group, that was to start answering a lot of questions the global leadership team started having,” said David.

“This was quite an olympic effort, thinking beyond HR and bringing all the views to the forefront,” expressed David, as he spoke about the five focus areas that Nokia catered to as an organization in the early response days to COVID-19. 

During the pandemic the organization was able to bring together data on different aspects of safety, security, location, virus spread, headcount across regions, and response levels, equipping both leadership and the workforce with data on prevailing circumstances, enabling them to prepare better for the uncertainties that awaited them.

Coronavirus dashboards proved to be quite beneficial for Nokia’s workforce, in making timely decisions on the way forward, implementing safety policies, and putting people practices in place.

The analytics dashboards also helped the team with insights on employee pulse through surveys on employee sentiment and well-being, leveraging insights from COVID-19 employee pulse surveys and use of personal support services. While the questions evolved in the last few months, staying updated with the spread of the coronavirus, they focused on understanding how employees feel about the support from Nokia, how do they feel about the support from their manager, how well are they coping, and how much disruption are they experiencing in their work. The surveys also included open text questions, which then with the help of analytics were pieced together to decipher relevant insights.

David shared that with the help of data visualization, it was easy for the team or the capabilities to bring these data pieces together, and visualize and monitor them.

The power of data especially with the majority of the workforce working remotely is beyond imagination. As David suggests, connecting the dots and providing this information for better decision-making,evidence-based decision and new ways of insights that we didn’t have before truly changes the game.

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Topics: HR Analytics, #TechHRIn

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