7 Ways You Can Benefit From Using People Analytics


People analytics is such a buzzy term these days that we felt it was important to take a step back and define what we are talking about, and then give a few examples of how people analytics work in the real world. For our definition of people analytics, we went straight to the source: Google. This post by Mike West, a former Google People Ops leader, captures the essence of what we now think of as people analytics, HR intelligence, HR analytics, workforce analytics or any other of many similar terms you may have heard tossed around. Mike’s precise definition is the following:

People Analytics is the systematic application of statistics and behavioral science to Human Resource Management to achieve probability derived business advantages.”

That sounds really difficult right? But here is the truth, it becomes a lot less daunting once you start looking at examples of how these analytics work in practice at real companies.

It can be hard to find companies opening up about how they use analytics in part because there are confidentiality concerns. The other major reason is that people analytics are incredibly powerful, and they give companies that use them effectively a huge advantage over their competitors. We did the work for you and found 7 great examples of the ways companies are using people analytics.

  1. JetBlue and the Employer Net Promoter Score-This airline created an NPS metric to evaluate their employment brand by asking employees how likely they were to recommend their company as a place to work. This metric helps them understand how their employees feel about working at the company, and they use it to evaluate the effects of things like changes to compensation.
  2. Google and AT&T and job applicant school rank-Many sought after employers have traditionally recruited the majority of their job candidates from top-ranked schools like Harvard. But Google and AT&T independently studied the success of their new hires over time, and found that school rank had no predictive power on success.
  3. Sprint and retirement plan enrollment-This telecom company found that employees that failed to enroll in their retirement plan after a period of time, were much more likely to leave within a short period of time.
  4. Best Buy and employee engagement-This electronics retailer discovered that a 0.1% increase in employee engagement in a store would lead to an increase in $100,000 that store’s annual income.
  5. Sysco and employee job satisfaction-Sysco measured each of their operating units across more than 50,000 full time employees, and found that units with higher job satisfaction were more productive and had lower turnover than units with lower job satisfaction. By monitoring job satisfaction closely they have been able to avoid turnover costs to the tune of $50 million.
  6. Cognizant and employee social media activity-This professional services firm studied the social media contributions of its employees, and found that employees that blogged regularly were more satisfied and happier in their jobs than those that did not. They also performed 10% better than the average.
  7. Harrah’s and predictive hiring assessments-Harrah’s worked with organizational psychologists to develop a predictive assessment for hiring managers to use when evaluating job candidates. They were able to prove that the assessment was a more effective selection tool than an interview alone.

Every company has different challenges whether it’s engagement, performance, turnover or hiring. The secret of people analytics is to leverage easy to access data (maybe data you already have), and ask what questions you might be able to answer with it.

sources: HBR, Slate, Deloitte

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