HR Trendsetter: Mark Berry, Former Vice President of People Insights, ConAgra Foods

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Audio: Mark Berry on the one skill that every HR professional needs to remain competitive in today's HR environment.

Whether home-grown or outsourced, analytics can help HR drive evidence-based decision-making in real time. Mark Berry has been a leader in both approaches at the Omaha-based food company ConAgra. He spearheaded ConAgra’s workforce analytics, initially leading development of a self-service tool that used an analytics program ConAgra already owned.

While it improved ConAgra’s capabilities, the system wasn’t designed for HR, and Berry soon found that it required too much attention from IT. Ultimately, he decided to outsource analytics, and in late 2013 the company implemented a cloud-based system from Visier Inc. that is less dependent on IT and highly interactive.

“Data without insights, and insights without action, is not where you want to go. It’s the combination of the three,” Berry says. --Dori Meinert

His Priorities

Growing the capability of HR. You can’t do this work with a small group of people in a large organization. Then you have to be able to take that capability and apply it to business-relevant issues.

His Advice

Start small, but from the beginning articulate a vision that is much bigger than where you are today.

How He’s Making a Difference

In the past, we could say in general our representation of people of color was higher or lower than average, but we couldn’t really give you more specifics. Now, we can say it is lower within this or that group, in this job, with this amount of tenure and this age. Then we are able to target interventions.

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