NS and Crunchr

NS (Dutch Railways) is the principal passenger railway operator in the Netherlands. The organization is going through a transformation and requires data-driven insights into its workforce to remain a leading mobility operator in the future. Hence, it decided to partner with Crunchr. Watch the short video and read the story below to learn how NS has been leveraging HR analytics to make better people decisions.

Need for people insights

NS (Dutch Railways) is the principal passenger railway operator in the Netherlands, running a high-quality network of 394 stations across the country. Every day, more than 20,000 NS employees work on the organization’s mission to make the Netherlands accessible in a sustainable manner. In doing so, NS is transforming itself from a pure railway operator to a broadly oriented mobility company. 


To successfully make this transition, NS needs the right employees in the right roles at the right time. This requires the organization’s HR team and people managers to have deep insights into their workforce, leading to NS’ decision to partner with Crunchr for people analytics.


Amsterdam Central Train station

Business Challenge

André Oomes, HR Analyst & Data Expert at NS, describes NS’ journey: “Five years ago, our HR organization deliberately decided to become more data-driven and, as a result, began investing in people analytics. Now, we have a team of six people analytics professionals who help HR, finance, and business colleagues make better workforce decisions with data and insights”.

In their journey to achieve their goal of becoming data-driven, NS identified two challenges:

1). Time: The people analytics team spent too much time on collecting and harmonizing data rather than analyzing it.

2). Data democratization: To create a data-driven culture, HR and business leaders needed to have direct access to a platform in which they could gain insights. This meant they could see trends themselves rather than fully rely on the people analytics team. In other words, NS wanted to democratize their workforce insights.

Initially, NS tried to solve these challenges with a generic BI tool. However, this led to dashboards which were difficult to drill down, the UX was not intuitive, and the process was time-consuming. As a result, NS made a deliberate decision to purchase a specialized solution rather than to build it in-house.

Partnership with Crunchr

In 2020, NS partnered with Crunchr to help them solve the critical business challenges they were facing. There were three major factors driving this decision: 


1). Data integration: Crunchr has the capability to automatically consolidate all workforce data and transform that data into insights. Apart from saving countless hours of manual work, this means that Crunchr is the single source of truth in which all workforce metrics are consistently defined.


2). Guidance: within the platform, there are explainers of insights and definitions, and users can drill down on every metric.


3). Ease of use: by presenting relatively complex information in a simple and understandable way, Crunchr empowers even non-data-savvy users to uncover their insights easily. Oomes: “This attractive, simple, and clickable UX was a key driver for NS in choosing Crunchr.”



Time Savings

By partnering with Crunchr, the people analytics team saved much time in data harmonization and compiling monthly results. They are now seeing as much as 90% of the basic questions that were previously routed to the people analytics team are now answered by HR and business leaders themselves using Crunchr. This allows the people analytics team more time to focus on value-added work. Finally, HR and managers also saved themselves time because they previously needed to file an information request and wait for their metrics and insights. Now, they’re empowered to uncover insights themselves with just a few clicks in Crunchr.


Elevating HR and business conversations

540 people at NS use Crunchr to gain workforce insights. This group consists of business managers, HR leaders, HR specialists, and Finance professionals. Oomes: “By using Crunchr to drive meeting discussions, the quality of conversations regarding HR matters has been elevated. All colleagues are now using the same data and insights, and they can answer follow-up questions in real-time during their meetings.”


This quality evolution means that conversations have moved from questioning data quality to making strategic choices regarding hiring, development, and retention of employees. All of this has led to an empowered HR team. One that is more proactive and essentially a trusted business partner to Finance and the overall business.


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Trusted by leading organizations worldwide