Summarizing the Nordic People Analytics summit 2020

The Nordic People analytics summit took place last week, offering the opportunity to listen in to what has happened within the field this year. Here are my reflections on digital conferencing, the highlights of the summit, and the speaker list.

Is digital conferencing here to stay?

A lot can be said about conferencing in the “new normal”, but first and foremost, I appreciate that the conference took place. Even though I enjoy conferencing IRL/AFK, it’s also nice to call in from your favorite sofa. What’s still to work on though, is reaching real interactivity. For the future, it will be key to not just providing a curated video (live)stream.

Highlights from sessions

Unfortunately, I didn’t have the possibility to attend all sessions. Here are some key takeaways from what I found most interesting this year.

  • Oliver Kasper from Swarovski gave a presentation on how they are working with people analytics in general terms. He also made two important points on how to approach people analytics. The first was the importance of starting in the business’ problem. We got to hear about how Swarowski had analyzed revenue differences in their shops with a people perspective. It started in a business problem, that was solved by analyzing business and people data. That way, they found important drivers for a shop’s commercial success. In addition, the presentation was a good reminder of the importance of following up on your deliveries. Evaluation of one’s owns conclusions is rare in an industry where everyone is constantly running.
  • Gerrit Schimmelpenninck from Philips gave a brilliant presentation of another often overlooked necessity, the importance of starting in established science. Gerrit presented a talent intelligence approach to handling the challenges of the new normal. Based on research within psychology and economics, Philips investigated the possibilities one has to work from home within a certain cultural context and macro economical conditions. Starting in cultural leadership principles and access to broadband is a brilliant way to find important segments, as well as a great starting point for further analysis of the WFH challenges. We simply don’t look upon work and leadership in the same way across the globe and that must be considered in a global organization.
  • Stefan Sander Grods from Danske Bank took a stance in research as well. He discussed the possibilities to increase team efficiency based on data. It was interesting to hear about their approach to self-assessment and facilitation on a team level. What I really liked was Stefan’s conclusions on basic team dynamics. As long as we continue to break up a team before they actually have had time to become performing, we will never succeed in creating high performing teams. Therefore it’s of equal importance to keep teams intact and assign them as units to tasks. That should be key before starting to think of how you can measure and optimize team performance. The session emphasized the importance of starting at the right end, before continuing with optimization and analysis.

In general, I found it inspiring to watch the sessions. As an analyst, I would also have been interested in more detailed sessions with learnings that I can apply to my daily job.

The speaker list

  • In general, I enjoyed the selection of presenters, but… CSR is key to me. That makes me a bit hesitant when see I speakers from the oil or tobacco industry on stage. There are many aspects of running a sustainable business, but I hope that we in the future will see a demand for speakers from sustainable industries in the same way as we today have a focus on gender representation on stage. Who you allow up on stage sends signals in many ways. (And this is, of course, not about the individual speakers representing the companies in question, they did a great job.)
  • Last year we also asked for more local cases. Even though it is interesting to listen to all presentations, a larger number of cases from Scandinavia would be great. That will remain on the wishlist for the next year as well!

All in all, the Nordic People Analytics Summit 2020 was a great event. I got with me lots of learnings and food for thought!

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