Ethics & People Analytics
Charline Cleraux (top) and Annelies Bartlema (bottom) are both data scientists at ING Belgium and will be speaking at the Icongroup People & Workforce Analytics Seminar in November 2018. As AnalitiQs (Gido van Puijenbroek) is chairing day 1 of the event, Gido spoke to them about People Analytics at ING, developments within the field and their interest in Ethics in relation to analytics. “People Analytics has proven its value within ING and is now considered a given in our way of working.”
Charline Cleraux – Data Scientist, ING Belgium
Charline leads People Analytics projects for ING Belgium with a specific focus on guiding the organization through business transformation.
Her vast experience includes data duplication, marketing analytics and fraud detection as a consultant, and as a statistical and IT Security Researcher for an American governmental research institute.
Annelies Bartlema – Data Scientist, ING Belgium
Annelies has a university degree in experimental and mathematical psychology, and three years practical experience as a general data scientist.
At ING, she combines her passion for data with her passion for people. Leading various people analytics projects, she pushes the people analytics practice and adds value to the business through data driven decision making.
What are your expectations for the People & Workforce Analytics Seminar?
“For us this is an opportunity to share some of the work we did. In addition, we are also going to the event to learn from other companies. We are very curious about the experiences of other People Analytics professionals!”
Could you give a sneak peek into your presentation – what will you be talking about?
“As you might have heard ING is going through a business transformation. In this transformation People Analytics is one of the key enabling elements. We will talk about how People Analytics is guiding the redeployment of people. In addition, we are planning to share one or two other cases.”
Can you give us a summarized overview on the development of People Analytics at ING Belgium?
“ING Belgium initiated People Analytics in 2015 via pilot cases. The sweetspot was to find business leaders with a burning question or believe where People Analytics could respond. At first the team was completely separated from all other reporting activities. We found this split important in order to concentrate on the development of People Analytics without the pressure of (mandatory) reporting. With 1 data scientist in the team we grew maturity by performing projects in the field of recruiting, reward and development. Last year the team expanded with an additional scientist and we merged reporting, data management and People Analytics into one bigger team. People Analytics has proven its value within ING and is considered a given in our way of working.”
Market research from AnalitiQs shows adoption of Insight Driven HR is gradually growing in the Netherlands, but the gap between leaders and followers seems to be growing as well. Does this also apply to the Belgium market?
“We can see that awareness about this topic is growing in the Belgian market. The Netherlands is probably a bit more advanced. However, the gap that AnalitiQs has identified doesn’t sound entirely irrational. In the end every organisation which aspires to be successful with People Analytics requires solid data management practices as a foundation to build on. Putting data management in place is a huge task, but once nailed, organisations can start building momentum. Since the frontrunners started earlier to now reap the benefits and can build more momentum.”
You previously mentioned that you would like to discuss the relationship between Ethics and People Analytics. Why do you find this an intriguing relationship?
“When we talk about our profession we notice people often assume we do unethical things, e.g. algorithms that suggest who to fire. Obviously, that is not what we do. Those assumptions made us interested in the relationship between Ethics and Analytics and we would like to learn from practices within other organisations.
At ING we have solid practices in place to prevent unethical applications of People Analytics and we want to use People Analytics in a positive way for the organisation and the employees. Therefore, we always do the things that the law requires us to do, for example a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA), reporting in such a way that individuals can’t be identified.
We also go beyond that. For instance, we do a ‘front page’ check: what would happen if this would appear on the front page of a newspaper? It’s an interesting way to investigate the ethical perspective of a proposed project. Also, we have declared some data as out of scope for People Analytics, e.g. marital status. As such we make a triangular judgement (legal, ethics, opinions) before we commence and before publishing insights.”
Out of the box things other organizations do to safeguard Ethics in relation to People Analytics
- Make all project output available to all employees
- Appoint an Ethics officer with whom People Analytics professionals and others in the organization can consult
- Organize an People Analytics sound board in which employees participate and assess ideas on trust and social acceptability
Many marketing departments buy data sets which are generated by companies like Experian, EDM, 4Orange, PostNL data solutions and contain many data points at household level, e.g. number of kids, age bucket kids fall in, educational level adults, property value, etc. Would it be ethical to use such data for People Analytics purposes in your view?
“First of all, we wonder if this is still allowed within the GDPR (legal check). More importantly, the suggested practice doesn’t feel right (ethics and opinion check). Lastly, Marketing is different from HR in a sense that the relationship between a company and a client/prospect is a free one and one that is easy to terminate, whereas in HR there is less of a voluntary relationship (employer – employee).”
On to a different topic, McKinsey recently introduced the role/function ‘Analytics Translator’. What is your view on such a role, do you think it is required to get the full value out of Analytics?
“The skills such a person brings are certainly required. However, we’re not entirely sure whether it requires a separate role. Ideally the Data Scientist should have strong business skills and have a solid understanding of the context (s)he is working in. Those people might not be largely available. In such a situation it is about composing a balanced team and an Analytics Translator role could be really helpful.”
What exactly is an Analytics Translator?
“To understand more about what translators are, it’s important to first understand what they aren’t. Translators are neither data architects nor data engineers. They’re not even necessarily dedicated analytics professionals, and they don’t possess deep technical expertise in programming or modeling.
Instead, translators play a critical role in bridging the technical expertise of data engineers and data scientists with the operational expertise of marketing, supply chain, manufacturing, risk, and other frontline managers. In their role, translators help ensure that the deep insights generated through sophisticated analytics translate into impact at scale in an organization. By 2026, the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that demand for translators in the United States alone may reach two to four million.”
Organizational Network Analysis (ONA) and Continuous Listening (CL) are hot topics within People Analytics. Are these topics also trending within ING Belgium?
“Yes! Continuous Listening is a big topic because of the transformation. How do people feel? What can be improved? To get a feel for what is going on we do 1 big survey every other year and we combine that with pulse checks. These pulse checks are executed at a higher pace, contain shorter questionnaires and they are being send to random samples.
Organizational Network Analysis is a topic of interest. We are for instance interested in the collaboration between teams. However, we haven’t done anything on the topic so far yet. Main challenge there is to find a practical way to do it so it that also passes the triangular test (legal, Ethics, opinion).”
Want to learn more about the experiences of Charline and Annelies?
Don’t miss their presentation ‘Business Transformation driven by People Analytics’ on Wednesday November 21st at the People & Workforce Analytics Seminar in Brussels.
Gido van Puijenbroek (AnalitiQs) will be hosting day 1 of the event. We would like to offer you an exclusive discount of 100 euros on your ticket. Are you interested? Please send us an e-mail to receive your discount code. See you in Brussels!