Driving world-class talent management with data analytics at AB InBev

In this article we explore AB InBev’s talent management strategy, highlighting its objectives and potential impacts on organizational growth.

talent management Ab InBev

In this AG5-sponsored Digital HR Leaders podcast, David Green talks with AB InBev’s Global Vice President for People Continuity, Toon van der Veer, about the opportunities that data is providing HR professionals. Copied

AB InBev has seen two major benefits of making their HR department data-driven: management has become more empowered to do their work effectively, and decision making has become much more strategic. This article runs through the major talking points of the podcast, and covers the following three topics:

  • Empowering and strategic: the benefits of being data-driven
  • The three steps AB InBev took to make their HR data-driven
  • Why measuring skills is so important for AB InBev

This article is a must-read for anyone who has recently made their HR data-driven, or is thinking about the shift.


Empowering and strategic: the benefits of making HR data-driven  Copied

It’s true that data collection has always been part of HR, but the difference now is that there is just so much more of it. As AB InBev discovered, this brings many challenges: how to organize, how to process and, most importantly, how to make sense of it all. And as Toon explains, the company’s shift to being more data-driven has even had the knock-on effect of breaking down some of its silos in HR.

By combining its blocks of data into meaningful and insightful points of reference, AB InBev’s HR is able to get out of the “day-to-day machine work” and become even more strategic. The decisions being made are unbiased and reflective of the company’s actual needs.

What’s more is that by being data-driven, AB InBev’s line managers are more empowered as they have a better understanding of both their teams and their organization. This empowerment deserves a closer examination:


How data can empower managers in their decision making 

When HR at AB InBev started to procure and process more data, it could pinpoint exactly why a certain decision would work when a different one wouldn’t. By handling data well, HR had information to hand that could be embedded into its key decision-making.

AB InBev noted that it wasn’t long until even those struggling to see the benefits of running AI in HR became happy with the results. They could see how well individuals in their teams performed at tasks, and could easily track skill developments. Data provided this information. Information is not easily captured by human eyes alone.

By incorporating machine-learning into its decision making, HR at AB InBev saw a boom in accuracy from 50% to 92%. By having a good understanding of their data, more meaningful conversations sparked between managers and employees. 

How data can help managers understand the impact of their behavior 

Combining different data sources also enabled AB InBev to bring data into its conversations about talent. The company conducted surveys and peer group studies to get a better understanding of where each individual excelled. The results from these surveys prompted training where necessary, as well as insight into where each employee should be placed. AB InBev had the data to make sure the right person was doing the right job.


The three steps AB InBev took to make their HR data-driven  Copied

Centralizing data proved a game-changer for HR at AB InBev. By bringing siloed data from different departments into one usable data lake, they could get rid of multiple spreadsheets and improve their decision-making. Here is how they did it:


Step one: create a data lake

The data lake that AB InBev created serves as the brain for all workplace analytics. It is the main data hub that can be referenced for all workplace analytics. It also helps AB InBev ensure that everyone stays GDPR compliant at all times. It is also the place for all core HR data, engagement data, and 360 data. So whenever any data is needed, it can be found easily.


Step two: data input & AIML

This is the techy part! In order to fully capitalize on all this data, AB InBev translated it into an Artificial Intelligence Markup Language (AIML). As the software used is so advanced, the company recruited some amazing data scientists and mathematicians to handle the processes. AB InBev needed to make sure they got all the input right, because otherwise their new data lake would go to waste.


Step three: using the data 

Trust is so important here: AB InBev had to really trust the data they had. The company found it best to explore and be experimental. Toon stressed the importance of not getting too bogged down in the specifics. Rather than approaching the data with a planned outcome, they found it best to let the data speak for itself.

skills tracking software

Why measuring skills data is so important Copied

Measuring skills data has been an exciting journey for AB InBev. It’s also been an important one as it prepares them for any challenges the future may hold. AB InBev can already see that their employees are not only looking for fast career paths but are also looking to become masters at their tasks. Tracking skills developments is the best way to align their staff with the targets they want to achieve.

When it comes to future challenges, by knowing precisely where skills lie and where they need developing, safeguards the company from audits. Every staff member will always be GDPR compliant, and if they’re not the data lake highlights when training can be put into place. Without such an overview it’ll be hard to keep such strong tabs on everyone.


How to measure HR data with a Skills Management Software  Copied

With AG5 Skills Management Software you can visualize and close your staff’s skills gaps by clearly mapping their competences and tracking progress towards learning new skills for effective learning management. Moving away from unmanageable spreadsheets, with AG5 you’ll be able to have a clear overview on your staff’s skills and hence keep your organisation at the forefront of the reskilling revolution.

AG5 ensures that your skills data is always accessible and readily available when you need it. Our software provides HR, Training, and Operations Managers with a clear overview of their staff’s skills and qualifications. By running our software, companies also ensure compliance and audit readiness. So not only do we drive operational excellence, but we also strive for safety.


You can take a look at the entire episode here.


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Original version | September 9, 2021

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