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🚀 How to Double Employee Engagement Without Doubling the Work: The AI Mastery Behind NTT Data's Triumph! 🚀

ai talent management Aug 23, 2023
🚀 How to Double Employee Engagement Without Doubling the Work: The AI Mastery Behind NTT Data's Triumph! 🚀

🎉 Discover the AI Secret Behind NTT Data's Talent Management Success! 🎉

Ever wondered how NTT Data amplified their employee referrals by a whopping 109% and self-nominations by 128% using AI? Unfortunately, I can't spill the beans, but in this video, Vicki Furnish, VP of Global People Solutions, Operations, and Analytics, unveils the AI powerhouse that propelled NTT Data's talent function into the future. 🚀

Who should tune in? 🤔

🧠 Process Overload? If your firm's talent management seems trapped in the manual age and you're craving automation.

🌌 Retention and DE&I Concerns: If the challenges of retention weigh heavily on your mind, coupled with a commitment to DE&I, and you're seeking ways to amplify growth opportunities for your diverse internal talent, rather than primarily scouting externally for upward roles.

🛍️ Seeking a Prime Experience: If your employees are yearning for a talent management journey that feels as personalized as "Amazon or Netflix" (Liked that internal opportunity? Here's another you might fancy!).

🌱 AI Beginner? If you're at the onset of integrating AI within HR and wish to grasp the hurdles and triumphs.

Staying Relevant: Concerned about HR lagging in the AI era? Don't be left in the dust.

🔊 You can choose to watch, listen or skim through the machine-generated transcript below.

🔗 Links Referenced in Vlog:

🤝 Connect with Vicki Furnish, VP of Global People Solutions, Operations, and Analytics on LinkedIn.

🤖 Discover the power of


Vlog Summary: Key Takeaways and transcript


Today, we had Vicki Furnish, the Vice President of Global People Solutions Operations and Analytics for NTT Data Services Americas, discussing the role of technology and AI in HR.

Key Takeaways:

NTT Background:

NTT Data is a global IT innovator that goes beyond traditional IT provisions.
They provide a vast range of services, including digital transformation, consulting, and digital operations.
They employ around 330,000 at the parent company level, 200,000 in global innovation, and 50,000 in NTT Data Americas, spread across 42 countries.

HR's Role at NTT:

Vicki's team focuses on providing services to the vast employee base that caters to clients.
The goal has shifted to helping employees flourish in their careers, a lesson learned during COVID and the subsequent "great resignation".
This change poses challenges, especially gathering data to guide employees on their career paths.

Incorporating AI:

AI plays a significant role in helping HR achieve its new goals.
NTT focuses more on internal placements now, using AI to understand employees' skill sets.
Vicki mentioned Eightfold, an AI tool that has reduced the time for selecting the right candidates from days to hours.
Before AI, a lot of HR processes were manual. With AI, not only have processes become more efficient, but it has also allowed HR professionals to focus on more meaningful tasks.

Challenges with AI:

Security concerns need balancing. Tools like ChatGPT have vast potential, but security measures are vital.
AI is inevitable in today's world, and all industries must find ways to integrate it securely and efficiently.

Benefits of AI in HR:

AI, like chatbots, has been beneficial in answering transactional questions, reducing the load on the HR team.
Using Eightfold, NTT saw a 128% increase in self nominations and a 109% increase in employee referrals in just six months of implementation.

Future Goals:

NTT aims to guide employees better in their career paths and encourage them to keep their skills and qualifications updated.

In conclusion, technology, particularly AI, is reshaping the HR landscape at NTT Data, streamlining processes, aiding employee growth, and ensuring better results for the company

Machine Generated Transcript

Cindy Lu (00:21):

Hi everyone, this is Cindy Lu with C H R O Partners, and I'm so honored today to host Vicki Furnish of N T T data. And I'm gonna have in, Vicki, introduce herself and tell you about her vast role and scope, as well as a little background on N T T data and, and when we're gonna really dive into how AI is being leveraged in her organization to get things like, you know, 109% employee referrals increased to, you know, a hundred and, what was it, 28% self nominations with employees. Really impressive stats. So you'll have to stay to the end to hear how they got there. All right, so Vicki, tell us a little bit about yourself as well as your organization.

Vicki Furnish (01:04):

Thanks Cindy, and thanks for having me. I am Vicki Furnish. I'm vice president of, it's a long title global People Solutions Operations and Analytics for N T T Data Services Americas. I'm responsible for the solutions from a technology perspective, for all of HR as well as the operations team that support those. And then the corporate analytics that we do around headcount. A lot of people are probably not familiar with N T T. We are a professional services company. We like to say we're a global IT innovator and not just your typical IT provider. We do a lot of things around digital transformation, which includes the consulting side of the house, but we also do a lot of digital operations, which is the delivery and implementation of activity, as well as doing B P O offerings from a services perspective. And we cross all of the industries and verticals from that perspective. But with regards to myself, I sit within hr, I report to the C H R O of hr, and we are responsible for the implementation and the providing of services for all of our employee base that provides all those services to our clients.

Cindy Lu (02:18):

So having grown up in professional services, I know that your people are really, I mean, that's it, right? That's, that's all you've got. That's mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and you guys are a global organization with over 150,000 employees. And how many countries? 42.

Vicki Furnish (02:32):

  1. And, that's why I say NT T'S a little bit different. Our parent is a Japanese parent, and at our parents' side we have 330,000 employees. Okay. And then for our N T T data services, which provides all of this global innovation, we are at, close to 200,000. And then my portion of it, one of my arms is the N T T Data Americas. And we're sitting around 50,000 employees in 42 countries. So it's, it's that easy. 'cause We do have all of the, the statutory and legal things we have to deal with as well as moving fast. 'cause That, that's the theme of the world today, right? How fast can you get us there?

Cindy Lu (03:10):

That's right. That's right. So, earlier when we were talking, you mentioned that your organization from a holistic perspective really shifted mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, how you wanna be viewed as an employer. Can you expand on that to start?

Vicki Furnish (03:25):

Sure. One of the things we've recently done is we want to be the employer of your career. We, our goal now is to help all of our employees develop their career. It used to be we all were, we've got a job, let's fill a job, let's make sure we're taking care of the clients. But what we've discovered, especially, and I think this came a lot through covid, and then the great resignation, that we've already invested a significant amount in our employees. So why not make them flourish with their careers? So we are here to help them develop. But that, as we were talking about before, set up lots of challenges for us, right? Because there's lots of data out there. How do you get all of that data about me as an individual to know what my next step should be from a career?

Vicki Furnish (04:12):

And that I think, kind of ties back into some of where we started. How does AI help us get to that next piece? But from us we've shifted to one, we wanna be your employer that helps you develop your career. And the other shift we've done is because that's what we wanna do, our focus now is on internal placements, right? Before you have that string, Hey, am I gonna hire externally to fill a role? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, can I bring somebody internally? Well, part of the problem we've had in the past is, well, we didn't know what everybody had from the skillset internally. So now I know, I don't wanna do the spoiler alert, but that's part of how AI has come in to help us be more of that developer of careers, as well as increase internal placement.

Cindy Lu (05:00):

And that's gotta be one of the most important things for, for employees, right? To know that your employer is shepherding your, your career. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>

Vicki Furnish (05:08):

That we care.

Cindy Lu (05:09):

Yeah. Right? Absolutely. And mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, that's that's one thing to do that at a smaller, medium sized company, <laugh>. But when you have it, you know, not just consulting, but digital transformation and like this global setting, like, it, it becomes almost impossible even if you are sitting in the same offices, <laugh>, <laugh>, to try to figure out who can do what. And I know, you know, in that business, keeping a lean bench is important as well. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So tell me a little bit about how you're seeing, I guess, the end customer in internal customer benefiting from this. And then I'd love to hear your journey on how you got here, because the tools and the resources that you've used. Because I think it's daunting. Quite frankly, <laugh>,

Vicki Furnish (05:55):

It's, it's, but one of the things, especially from an end user perspective, before it was a lot of manual labor. We had to go and pull things manually what we call our FSPs, which is, and I always get the f wrong, but our support partners to help our internal managers, they would have to go and sl a slate of candidates, try to downscale them. The focus was on a primary skill. What is their primary skill? So I can get the most important candidates in front of a manager. Since we've implemented AI eightfold in particular, it is now instead of days, we can get a slate of candidates to a manager based on the requisition that they put a slate of their top five candidates that doesn't meet just the primary skill, but maybe four or five of their top skills in that requisition. So now they have an option of the best match candidates much faster, faster. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And when that happens, again, for professional services, we don't make money until our resources are billable. That's right. So, if a manager now has, you know, gotten his candidates slate much faster, we've probably just shaved off a couple of days to the onboarding implementation just by candidate selection.

Cindy Lu (07:12):

Oh, that's dreamy.

Vicki Furnish (07:13):

Yeah. Well, and I won't say it's all working perfectly, because again, to your point, we are very complex. We have a lot of pieces to go through, and that was part of where our journey started, right? When I first came on to N T T I won't date myself, but it, but it's been a few years few years we were just implementing into the cloud with our core HR system, right? Oh, okay. So we, we started with 20,000 employees in five countries. In my tenure, we're now up to, you know, the 42 countries, 50,000 in just my entity. Mm-Hmm. so we were doing lots of things. You, you mentioned the tools. We probably had them all trying to operate at the same time, from the core HR systems to excel to everything to just find out who our population was. So our challenge was, again, our C E O came down and said, this is what we wanna do.

Vicki Furnish (08:08):

We wanna be the employer of careers, C H R O. How fast can you get it done? And that actually started one of our most significant investigations into ai. 'cause We knew as people, we couldn't accomplish that with an audience this big across so many different variations and variables. So we had to sit down and go through that whole challenge of understanding ai. And I know you and I were talking about it before, there's this fear of their ai that we had to work through and work through the challenges of as well. Right? So especially in hr,

Cindy Lu (08:45):

Right? Well, I'm hoping that chat G p t, like almost everybody has experienced that, right? So I'm hoping chat G P T has helped most HR leaders, you know, understand that it can be super beneficial, right? Even if it's just writing an email to your team.

Vicki Furnish (08:59):

So, well, it can be super beneficial, which is great. But then you have the security side on the other side that says, oh, no, you can't use that because there's not enough security around it. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So being in hr, we have to balance that, right? Because we want the power of something like chat G P T, but we can't open it up to the lack of security that's there. So we've got to go through probably a few more hurdles and hoops with the data that we're stewards of mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, because the last thing anybody wants is their pay salary or something getting out there and, you know, an open ai, right? So those are the challenges that we have in bringing AI in. But like you and I are talking, we've got to figure that out. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, and I don't care what industry you're in, whether it's professional services, manufacturing or healthcare, you have to figure out how you're gonna bring AI into your environment. Because AI is here to stay. Just like you said, chat, G P T is there, you know, the next gen's gonna be coming. We have to figure out as users how to incorporate it into our business because it's not going away. So embrace it to the extent that you feel comfortable with, but you've gotta figure out how to bring it in.

Cindy Lu (10:12):

So I find it really interesting that you have, you wear the hats of, you know, HR ops as well as data mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. and so tell me how, I guess, how has this technology and these resource resources helped like your operations team? 'cause You said it before, like poor HR ops, there gets so many tactical requests that it's hard to be that consultative strategic advisor sometimes.

Vicki Furnish (10:37):

Yeah. And, and that's the beauty of it. What we have found, especially in our HR ops world we've brought in the AI technology through a couple of chat box to answer those transactional questions, right? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, what is my leave balance, right? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, when can I take vacation? Those kind of things that are straightforward and can answer. That's what we've brought in. And it, it's interesting because our HR ops team ha, we've seen a significant increase in population, but what we call our ASK HR tickets are literally going down with the introduction of our chatbot, which we call my digital assistant. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, when you can go out and ask the assistant the questions and get the answers right back, you don't have to open a ticket, which then allows our HR ops teams to focus on those things that are really important on the HR side. How do I help you through a transition that you're working through new family member or something like that, that isn't easy as a benefit question, right? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So that's how they've changed their focus, which we're seeing it. And of course we're being asked, can you do that faster? <Laugh> <laugh>.

Cindy Lu (11:48):

Well, let me ask AI

Vicki Furnish (11:50):

<Laugh>. Exactly. <laugh>.

Cindy Lu (11:53):

So I wanna take a step back and just hear about your journey from mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, like maybe your selection process. You know, you mentioned you had to learn about ai, right? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, and by the way, how incredible to have the C E O come and say, really, we want to be the employer, right? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> that people view as the, the shepherds of their career and then the, the HR team's like in the middle of that, right? Like, you are the business strategy. You're not hr, you are the business strategy. So tell me a little bit about, like from the PO that point, how'd you go about educating yourself on the topic and selecting tools and resources and, and any lessons learned?

Vicki Furnish (12:34):

Well, and, and that would be great. We actually started with our provider, our vendor that does our core HR system. I'll be completely honest. Not necessarily a plug for SS a p success factors, but that's who we started with. And we went to them and had a question mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, and they introduced us to one of their partners, which was Eightfold. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. And I will tell you I think eightfold tremendously because we were through that learning curve, we went through a lot of cycles. 'cause Not only did we have to educate my team, who's the solutions team, we had to educate all of our HR stakeholders. And then once we got them comfortable, we had to educate our leadership because they had to be educated. And then we had to prove out, hey, this is what we think we can get out of this to get the investment, right?

Vicki Furnish (13:19):

So it was a multi-tiered step. I think part of the, the challenges were, especially when you come from a lot of people who are used to doing things a certain way, one technology scares 'em. Is it gonna take my job away? Is it gonna do those kind of things? So we had to do that kind of education. And I will be completely honest, our, our C H R O was a great component of it because he went in, AI is not taking HR jobs away. It's letting HR be hr, right? So it's trying to take those tactical things, the things that we spend time on that we all get frustrated with. Let technology do that, right? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So let it do those kind of things. So we went through a long laborous process because then once we nailed in on what we wanted to do, when we selected eight pole, we had to go through all of the security channels with it, right?

Vicki Furnish (14:11):

'Cause Again, security is there to protect our infrastructure. You're asking an AI another vendor to come in. They wanted to check all of the gates and measures. I will be completely honest and transparent. We're not all the way through that journey, but we've gotten enough through that. We're seeing some of the significant results that you saw. And I, and I do wanna note that that is those improvements that you said, 128% increase in self nominations, and then 109% in employee referrals happened within our first six months. We implemented in December of 22. And those were the results just in June. So yeah, it, it's, it's been pretty significant. And, and I tell everybody, we don't wanna say it was just implementation of eightfold because we did a few other things, but that was a heavy hitter and a high probability of why our increases came through. Yeah. And it was interesting too that when we started looking at it, because eightfold is beauty. It pushes out, it says, Cindy, it looks like you have these skills. This job is open. Would you be interested? Mm-Hmm. What we saw is people were either self nominating for that role, that'd be a great opportunity for me. Mm-Hmm. Or they were looking at it, said, no, I'm good, but I've got a friend. So that's how the employee referrals got kicked up. So, which is really interesting. It, it's highly increasing our candidate base.

Cindy Lu (15:33):

We're like Amazon, right? Like, oh, I to bought these pillowcase. Maybe you need these pillow cushions too. <Laugh>.

Vicki Furnish (15:40):

Well, that's what we're trying to be, right? Because we're trying to say, when people are trying to look for new opportunity, let us help guide you on where that might be. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Right. Which has helped us as well to get employees to be more, have more ownership mm-hmm. <Affirmative> on keeping their skills and their qualifications updated. Right. Because AI is only gonna work as well as the data does. So Right. If you are out there, and I tell everybody, I'm a prime example, okay. 'cause My title is vice President mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. I wasn't one of the first ones who put my skill out when they were doing the test cycles. And I didn't have a resume or anything in the tool. So I was getting all kinds, Hey, this VP job is open, would you be interested in running sales for healthcare? No, thank you very much. But it saw the title and it's taking anything, it's got in there to match up. So

Cindy Lu (16:31):

Right. Garbage in,

Vicki Furnish (16:33):

Garbage out, make sure your data's up. And we're seeing that improve significantly from our employee base as well.

Cindy Lu (16:39):

Well, and I think employees are more incented to put the information in if they see the benefits mm-hmm. <Affirmative> and the results on the backend, right? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So it's just like like we used to do coaching of recruiters, right? Like they have a sales pipeline kind of just like salespeople do. And so if you're making them put all this data in and they don't see the benefits but if you can use the data to coach and help them get better at their job. Exactly. Suddenly they're like, I get it. I get why you need this information. So I think that's really at your size that that's how you scale it Right. To

Vicki Furnish (17:15):

Exactly. And that's how we're trying to do it. Little bits. I, I won't, and I wanna, everybody know we're not all the way there yet, but we're making really good inroads, which is exciting us, right. Because people are seeing that. And it's the same thing. We're now starting to post and highlight stories of some of our internal placements. And I tell everybody I I, my HR ops team within HR is a great Guinea pig for that. Because when a new role comes in for an HR role mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, they're looking to my HR ops team first and they're just, we're becoming the pipeline feeder for everybody else's rules. Yeah. So we get to cycle in it.

Cindy Lu (17:53):

That's awesome. And also in this gig economy, right? Mm-Hmm. Like it's not just kernel, but it's also contract. I'm, I'm sure mm-hmm. Employees as well. And how do they play a, a role in a project?

Vicki Furnish (18:04):

Well, and that's how we're trying to get it in right now. Right now, all of ours are requisitions based on client jobs. We're starting to figure out how do we get that project work in there, because that also builds your resume, right? Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. So it, it doesn't necessarily have to be skills that I enter myself, but if that data is available because I was assigned to that project, again, caution on how you use ai, but it's gonna infer that I have some skills because I was on that project.

Cindy Lu (18:32):


Vicki Furnish (18:33):

It might be as simple as client knowledge, right?

Cindy Lu (18:36):

Absolutely. Yeah. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, especially in your world. So in the last few minutes that we have together may maybe highlight the biggest lesson learned or one, one or two lessons learned in this process for you.

Vicki Furnish (18:50):

I think part of it is, is to understand that like I was mentioning a little bit before, AI is here to stay. I think we've got to help our audience, regardless of where you're at, figure out how we all embrace ai. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, I think that was one of the biggest challenges that we went through, because the minute somebody hears it, they have a different perception. Right? So how do you level set some of those? And I think the other challenge that I have is figuring out, because not all of your R O I ON AI is gonna be pure P and l, some of it is that soft implementation. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative> and the soft efficiencies that you get, how do you sell that to A C E O or C H R O? Because at the end of the day, they're looking at the p and l. So how do you show the value of that tho those are the things that we had to work the hardest on mm-hmm. <Affirmative>. and I think, and I'm gonna go back to how we improved our manager slates. When I've got back grassroots audience praising the tool that we've got in it makes it up to the C E O and it makes it a whole lot easier to bring in the next iteration. Yeah.

Cindy Lu (20:06):

Right. Absolutely. I can see, like, even if a company isn't great at tracking their KPIs and metrics mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, they should do that. They should document current state mm-hmm. Before they launch into something like this so that a year from now they can actually show like, this is where we were and this is how far we've come.

Vicki Furnish (20:24):

Exactly. And in some companies, 'cause like I said, I, I've been with N T T A while, but I do have experience elsewhere. It doesn't have to be a really heavy, detailed data scientist baseline. Mm-Hmm. I mean, you're in your business every day, you know what's good and where you're at. Mm-Hmm. So if you can just make, you know, a baseline, draw a line and just watch where that line goes.

Cindy Lu (20:46):

Yeah. No, that's, that's amazing. Well, Vicki, thank you so much for sharing journey too. I feel like I could talk to you for like a couple more hours and just keep digging into this, but would it be all right if we put your LinkedIn profile in the show notes and you Sure can. And, maybe tap you, other CHRs can tap you if they are like we are not sure what direction to take. And and we'll also include maybe a link for eightfold in the show notes. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, that would be great. Okay. Vicki, thank you again. Have a great week. Thanks Cindy. You too.


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