Alexis Saussinan – Using Big Data in HR Effectively

Alexis Saussinan Merck

By Alexis Saussinan

Global Head of Organization Development and People Analytics at Merck

Leandra Griep_Merck

By Leandra Griep

Organization Development and People Analytics Expert at Merck

Anna Lena Fritzsche_Merck

By Anna Lena Fritzsche

Organization Development and People Analytics Expert at Merck

Big Data is one of the buzzwords of digitalization, and seems to be here to stay. In the industrial sector, people, machines, systems, logistics, and products are communicating and collaborating with one another – a revolution known as Industry 4.0. Everywhere, applications are accessing data from a wide array of sources such as social media, credit cards, customer loyalty cards, smart metering systems, and personal aid devices, all for the purposes of data analysis.

As Merck’s Executive Board Member Kai Beckman mentions on his blog around People Analytics, Merck has also launched multiple digitalization initiatives, such as the Connected Labs project within our Life Science business sector, which takes a holistic approach to intelligently networking laboratories.

Beyond our businesses, we are tackling the digital transformation within Human Resources too and, in doing so, has taken on a pioneering role – a fact confirmed by Merck receiving the 2016 HR Excellence Award from Human Resources Manager. This requires validated, standardised data from HR information systems that is on par with the data available for the finance and quality management sectors. At Merck, we now have a globally uniform digital platform enabling some 3,000 managers and HR employees to compile real-time data for their units, making it easier for our leadership to reach decisions.

Actions based solely on gut instincts are a thing of the past. Managers and HR can access information within a cloud solution in an intuitive and interactive way based on strategic organisation and people management questions (e.g. “How are demographic developments impacting our organisation?”) and then if relevant slice, dice and compare the data with the company as a whole and transparently. Coupled with the individual experience and insider knowledge of our managers, the results provide firm footing for making decisions on a wide variety of issues. For instance, we can track how staff turnover is impacted by targeted feedback from our performance assessment process.

To make the use of people analytics as practical and relevant as possible, we have created a dedicated and combined Organization Development and People Analytics team, working together with our Managers and HR colleagues to apply analytics to real business situations and leverage it to define and implement differentiated solutions to our current and future businesses’ objectives.

Introducing and applying people analytics systems like these obviously has to comply with all data privacy requirements. And the appropriate bodies and committees need to be involved in advance. As our Executive Board Member, Kai Beckman stresses, close collaboration with our Works Council, for instance, has been crucial.

Once the framework is in place and big data meaningfully deployed in HR work, nothing will stop people analytics from breaking into the new world of work.


We at Merck are pressing boldly ahead in pursuit of this trend.

This article was originally posted on LinkedIn

Alexis Saussinan will be speaking at the People Analytics Forum 2017 in London on 29-30 November, click here for more details - or book your place now.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of Tucana.