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3 examples of how to use people analytics to inform HR strategies

Google has blazed a trail with people analytics and harnessing the power of ‘big data’ for HR strategy and decision-making. Other companies have since followed suit by taking a more data-driven approach and, if yours isn’t one of them, you might be missing a trick.

We know very well the potential value of employee engagement survey results. And, to show just how valuable this data can be in informing strategy and driving real business benefits, we thought we’d share a few case study examples from three companies we’ve worked with.

ITV – develop better managers to increase engagement

Working with major broadcaster ITV, we explored the relationship between their employee survey data and other key HR and business metrics. In doing so we found that top-performing managers at ITV lead more engaged teams, and that their direct reports are more likely to stay working for them and take less sick leave (when compared with data for teams with poorer-scoring managers).

To bring this to life for ITV, we looked at key behavioural differences between top and bottom-scoring managers and found that that the former:

  • Are more inspiring
  • Provide regular and objective feedback
  • Recognise work well done
  • Encourage the development of their employees.

Using the data

Our advice here would be to use top-performing managers as a blueprint for others. So, you could interview these managers and their teams to capture more details about what they’re doing well, what their direct reports most value and what is making them successful. Build a profile of key attributes, behaviours and practices and use this to inform the content of L&D programmes for other managers.

You could also encourage direct knowledge-sharing between managers. Invite top managers to participate in ‘lunch and learn’ sessions (or similar) where they can share their experiences and advice with other managers.

McDonald’s – create a better employee experience to improve retention

Our work with McDonald’s UK restaurants has involved us using their survey data alongside other business metrics to understand exactly how engagement impacts upon the wider employee experience at McDonald’s and their employees’ intention to stay and length of service. Like many other restaurant groups, retention of staff is a major focus for McDonald’s. And we’ve been able to reveal strong links between engagement patterns and other key business metrics.

Using the data

Similar to the ITV example, our recommendation here would be to hone in on those top-performing restaurants – the ones where engagement scores, revenues and customer satisfaction scores are higher. These should act as a template for others. Look at what is different in those outlets, observe what managers are doing, speak with employees and see what lessons can be learned and shared.

Large UK travel operator – leverage key engagement drivers to reduce absenteeism

Running an employee survey for this large transport company, we found a negative correlation between employee sickness/absence levels and engagement. Our analysis confirmed that overall employee engagement was a significant predictor of the amount of days lost to sickness and absence. While perhaps unsurprising, to put this into perspective, we showed that if the company was to increase the engagement index score by just one point, it would result in two fewer sickness/absence days taken per person, per year. This would add up to a huge cost-saving, with each unscheduled day of employee absence estimated to cost them up to £200!

Using the data

What we would recommend in this case would be for the company as a whole to have a concerted focus on the key factors driving employee engagement. This doesn’t necessarily mean rolling out business-wide actions as we know that what drives engagement can differ across teams – more on this in our head of consultancy’s recent LinkedIn article. But instead, you should identify action areas at a team or functional level and initiate local action plans that help to improve overall engagement.

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