“Intuit believes in the power of the individual. The power to do more. To make more. To be more.”

This statement applies to not only Intuit’s vast customer base, but to its employees. (Light bulb moment!) 

In partnering with Intuit’s HR Analytics team on its people-centric engagement strategy, we’ve had the unique opportunity to learn about and experience its company culture from the inside out. Working closely with Michelle Deneau, Director of HR Business Intelligence, has been an incredible journey full of data revelations, inspiring insights, and a whole lot of action across Intuit!

Michelle is on the panel of a webcast (appropriately named!), The New Talent Relationship: Putting Employees at the Center to Drive Organizational Outcomes. On June 27, she’ll be sharing her experience and insights on “creating a systemic relationship with talent.”

Given the exciting topic and the work we’ve done with Intuit, we chatted with Michelle about everything possible—from how she was able to generate energy for HR analytics to what “people success” means at Intuit.

Check out our two-part dialogue and the webcast that’s surely filled with lots of great ideas on how you can adopt a people-centric mindset in your organization!

Part 1: The inside scoop on Intuit’s HR analytic capability

Sneh, Glint: What does it mean to be the “Director of HR Business Intelligence”?

Michelle, Intuit: It’s my team’s prerogative to understand our company’s strategy and workforce needs. Across all the different HR areas, my team gets involved with “How do we set up systems, processes, and practices to get the kind of data we want to drive the insights we’re after?” To that end, I am responsible for end-to-end data reporting and analytics when it comes to worker data at Intuit.

A portion of my team is responsible for supporting our specific business units with workforce metrics and insights. Their goal is helping these units understand various issues or topics, such as their voluntary attrition pattern. They also help define the focus areas for the retention strategy or share tools like Glint to get ahead of that attrition problem.

Our mission statement is: Better, faster business decisions enabled by credible data and insights for our leaders.

We’re very thoughtful about driving smarter business decisions with the data and processes that we provide to enable and empower our leaders.

Sneh, Glint: When building and growing your HR analytics team, what capabilities and skills were you looking for?

Michelle, Intuit: This has been a 7 year journey! Early on, we were very focused about our team’s roadmap—we knew we needed to get to predictive analytics, and we knew we needed to get to meaningful insights. With that ideal state in mind, there was a lot of data governance and clean-up work to do initially. And from there, the focus had to be standardization of metrics and building dashboards to get key stakeholders onboard.

Given that foundation, we met HR at its point of need and our point of maturity in our analytics journey across the organization. The goal was to hire for an analytical mindset, along with great communication skills and high business acumen. We first hired entry-level and senior-level analysts, mainly new college graduates, with the intention of bringing in talent with those characteristics that we would then grow into higher, broader roles overtime. 

Obviously the preference would have been both great with data and HR knowledge, but we prioritized data capability before HR experience. A truly great analyst should be able to work with data on a variety of different topic areas, and we could teach the HR mindset.

My advice on building teams like this: don’t start with too much firepower. Bringing on talent who can grow with the maturity level of your functional team is really critical. It gives them a great understanding and foundation of the data — and they get to know your business really well. With that, we are now finally adding Data Scientists adding to the team because we are at that stage where we can finally make use of that skill set.

Sneh, Glint: How have you been able to integrate employee data/insights into your business strategy and make this a priority at Intuit?

Michelle, Intuit: There was no overnight success here. We were steadily working away at it. Once we got to a place where we had our arms around the data and built our credibility with data quality, we started providing metrics as part of an annual organization review of the workforce. Through that process, we were able to identify HR leaders that were data-savvy, comfortable with data, and who had an appetite for more data.

We found people that we could partner with to develop new metrics, test prototypes, and iterate on how we can get the data and insights they needed to drive the business forward. This work began to spread, and enabled us to grow the team. We got more internal customers who were using the data and getting excited about it.

Eventually, we were asked to work on quarterly KPIs at the company level for our CEO. I never wanted our team’s output to leadership—or really anyone—to be just metrics and data. Our key success was sharing: here’s the data and here’s what we’re seeing in the data. We provided commentary and insight, as well as connections to other datasets like Glint sentiment data, to tell a more predictive story.

We also needed to figure out how to scale because we were doing all of this work manually. Building the demand and appetite for the data got us to a point where we were able to make a significant investment in dashboarding and reporting tools—that enabled us to publish metrics more frequently and less manually.

Sneh, Glint: What’s the future of HR analytics?

Michelle, Intuit: It’s being able to take advantage of all the great technology, techniques, and tools that we now have at our disposal. What can we do now that we don’t have technology limitations? How can we use data science now that we have access to the data?

My goal is not to put a person on a task when we can use machine learning and technology instead. It frees my team up to do more strategic, value-adding work.

How can we harness technology to tell us what we didn’t know or couldn’t understand before — and we don’t have to guess anymore? This takes away blind spots to help us help our employees thrive.