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Even though people analytics can be very helpful in decision-making, data integrity still remains an issue.

What are the challenges and opportunities of people analytics?

In a world of data and facts, people analytics is becoming a must to support decision-making in any organisation regardless of the industry. One of the opportunities that should expand is the usage of predictive analytics where based on several readings the technology can determine the risk of someone leaving the organisation and it can also provide some prediction on the engagement levels. In my opinion, the biggest challenge in people analytics is data integrity and the growing number of data sources. In other words, as the number of tools/applications that feeds into the different analytical tools increase, the more we face data integrity issues. One way to improve this is to minimise manual input and integrate all the sources with the PA tools as much as you can. Moreover, another key challenge is data ownership. This is the big question now – who owns the data in the analytics and other HR tools? With the global increasing concerns about data privacy, starting from questioning the need to collect data in the first place, how it will be accessed and storedꓼ and how to implement the right to be forgotten.

How can HR leverage technologies to increase employee engagement yet still keep the human touch?

Technology is an enabler to simplify things and processes for employees and not a goal on its own. Adopting self-service culture is great but this should not come on the expense of multilayer sensing and true business partnership. Technology can be great to manage life-events and make sure that the organisation is there for its employee in the moments that matter. It is debatable whether AI and ML will ever reach human level in these aspects, but until then we should not lose the edge of the human touchꓼ and utilise technology in the non-value-added activities and operational work. With this, HR professionals will have the time to focus on other activities in workforce planning, culture, talent management and total rewards spaces.

What is the biggest obstacle in achieving successful digital transformation?

I believe there are two key factors that can make any transformation work or fail:

  • The overall user experience and how both process and technology are tied in a way that makes them complement each other to deliver a service or a capability. Companies which tend to implement technologies/systems for the sake of just adding technologies to their operating model tend to fail in their transformation journey.
  • Change management is a key element in the success. Moving from off-line and paper-based processes to automated ones requires heavy and continuous change management efforts. Sending standard corporate emails informing the organisation of a new tool launch is no longer the right way to do things. It all starts from having a deep and clear understanding of the impact, risks and how to mitigate them. Also, and most importantly, involving the target population from the very beginning in listening and supporting some design decision can help a lot in delivering a product that can really work and minimise resistance. Then, creating engaging and exciting launch campaignsꓼ treating employees as target customers who need to be excited about a product launch to actually use it, can really make a difference. Consider yourself launching the new iPhone, what would you do?

Join Ahmad during our 12th Annual Strategic HR MENA Summit in October, where he will deliver his presentation on People, Process, Data and Technology.

Ahmad FATHY is currently the Director of HR Systems and Platforms in AMESA and APAC at PepsiCo. He has been with PepsiCo for the past 12 years moving between different roles within the HR function. He is originally a Mechanical Engineering graduate, and he has worked as an Engineer for a few years until he realised his passion in people development and shifted to HR. Prior to PepsiCo, he worked with Mercedes, Carrier, and LEONI. Away from work he enjoys reading, cooking, travelling and scuba diving. He is a husband and a proud father of three kids.

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