People Analytics: 4 Ways HR Uses Data to Change Company Landscapes

people analytics

The era of big data has allowed sales and marketing professionals to exponentially expand their reach over the past 10 years. Analytics do the heavy lifting, providing insights about consumer behavior and trends that companies can use to their advantage.

Today, big data’s benefits are also being reaped in human resources departments, changing a function that has long been considered a cost center into a revenue driver for many companies. This new field is called people analytics.

The software required to gather and mine data was once cost-prohibitive and limited to large-scale companies with immense marketing budgets. However, with the analytics space transitioning to cloud-based systems, these technologies have become more affordable.

And it’s drawn the attention of corporate leaders, who are using it to better understand their companies’ organizational behaviors and develop HR-based approaches to addressing business challenges.

Understanding Employees Creates Value

With some 87 percent of companies trying to enhance their culture and employee engagement, astute HR and company leaders treat employees like customers. Gathering feedback from employees, just as they would consumers, allows company leaders to figure out what makes their workers tick and take steps to encourage higher performance.

An engaged employee who enjoys the work environment and values the culture will be more energetic and productive, stay around longer, and speak highly of the company after leaving it. This is why using “people analytics” — or quantitative models — to better understand employees can directly (and positively) affect the bottom line.

For example, through people analytics, Sysco discovered that higher job satisfaction among its 50,000 full-time employees corresponded directly to higher productivity, while lower job satisfaction increased turnover. By focusing on drivers of job satisfaction, the company has saved $50 million in turnover costs.

Metrics to Drive Company Culture

Using people analytics to predict behavior and positively influence employee engagement strengthens company culture, reduces turnover, and saves companies time and money.

Company and HR leaders can identify influential employee engagement metrics by following these four steps:

  1. Collect internal data to measure cultural strength.A company with a strong culture unifies employees around its core values and priorities by surveying and collecting data from its team members and identifying trends and inconsistencies. If a trend dips below an established threshold, your company needs to re-evaluate and change — or risk losing employees.
  1. Create a culture profile.As companies grow, HR is often under extreme pressure to hire quickly and in bulk. However, that approach doesn’t often bode well for a company’s culture or its high performers. Stick with a company culture profile to identify and eliminate any incorrect fits.
  1. Unify customer service teams.Customer service positions are often emotionally challenging; representatives work at the crossroads of a company’s culture and its brand messaging. Straddling this line can wear down client-facing team members over time, but a consistent, mission-driven culture keeps your teams inspired and working together.
  1. Incentivize employees.Create perks that not only align with the company culture and the direction your business is heading, but which also resonate with team members. Understanding and providing the kinds of benefits they will most appreciate — and which also make the most sense for the business —will help employees feel further invested in the company and its culture.

Company and HR leaders who value employees use data to influence and strengthen culture. In doing so, they create great workplaces where their employees thrive and their company grows.

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