Analytics: The Golden Ticket to HR Success

By Gary Winant, Assistant Vice President, Human Resources Information Services, L'Oreal USA

Gary Winant, Assistant Vice President, Human Resources Information Services, L'Oreal USA

Recently, I heard a speaker describe operational reporting like good hygiene: everyone expects it, but nobody pays much attention to it. Many companies are already doing operational reporting well, but in my 20 years at L’Oreal USA, I’ve found there is a huge opportunity to translate this data into legitimate business value. Here, we’re working to answer a critical question: “How do we become more of a business partner and show value from the wealth of HR data we have available?”

The Journey to Obtain Business Value

We are lucky to already have a large amount of well-audited data, which is a huge opportunity for us to capitalize on to inform the business. Our company also has a strong internal entrepreneurial culture so you can take suggest projects, opportunities, and solutions and act on them. The first step was reaching out to Caroline Flandrin, Senior Vice President of People Innovation, to discuss how to leverage our data. Together, we galvanized a group of highly engaged experts in HR to initiate a new taskforce to combat this challenge: the People Analytics Innovation Task Force or PAI Squad. Our goal was to identify how we can use big data to inform data-driven ideas within the HR functions of engagement, career advancement, benefits and the creation of positive corporate culture with a specific focus on L’Oréal USA’s most important asset: our employees. The PAI Squad is responsible for brainstorming new ways to approach the operational data and pull direct business value from it. A year later, we’re still refining our ideas and learning how to turn the available human capital data we have into business value for the decision makers at L’Oréal USA.

The Journey to Obtain Business Value

One of the PAI Squad’s first tasks was to collaborate with our Finance team to use predictive analytics and identify a solution to a retention problem. However, we quickly ran into a roadblock: we needed specific technical resources to complete the analysis. The team leaned into L’Oréal USA’s existing partnerships and joined forces with the people analytics and business intelligence programs at Wharton School of Business and the Stevens Institute of Technology. Their expertise and learnings are now helping our team gain a better understanding of how to best structure our HR processes.

“We’re in a golden age for new technology and advanced analytics. It’s exciting that L’Oréal USA is taking advantage of this data to become a better business partner and gain new insights to inform all of our HR efforts.”

Data Holds the Key

One of the HR industry’s biggest challenge is the retention and engagement of employees. We found that just surveying employees was not enough; we had to find better and more innovative ways to elicit feedback. Performing quantitative and qualitative analysis to track and assess employee engagement is challenging, but we soon learned it is a must-have, especially when trying to solve issues around engagement and retention.


L’Oréal USA runs a number of task forces and does an excellent job of getting employees involved to provide a more collaborative, employee-centric and engaging workplace. We’re lucky to have the support from Stephane Charbonnier, L’Oréal USA’s Chief Human Resources Officer, who strongly believes in the power of analytics to make better people decisions. The PAI Squad is now setting their sights on finding new ways to measure and improve employee engagement down to the department and team level.

Technology and HR Must Go Hand in Hand

It’s exciting to see how technology is continuing to drive the HR function forward. Human Resources must become more analytical, it’s just a matter of using it to provide real business value and competitive advances for your organization.

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