This article is the first of a four part e-course.

People analytics is at the heart of what we at ThanksBox do, we’ve spent far too many hours learning, reading and debating how data can change the future of work. We’ve also recently researched 100s of HR Directors to help shape this eCourse.

Throughout this 5 part blog series we’ll be discussing what got us interested in data analytics, how improved understanding can impact your approach to employee engagement, what’s happening in the market today (and who’s doing it) and finally how we have seen this impacting the world of HR (and how it will continue to do so).

A businesses’ only long term competitive advantage is it’s people

It’s widely acknowledged that employee engagement really matters. Products become out-dated and competition starts to get ahead, technology becomes old hat, new approaches lose their novelty and cash reserves run out. What keeps businesses innovating and differentiating are its people - their imagination, their achievements or their hard work. Even the staunchest brand loyalist, without your employees making a difference, will find a better option.

Your employees consume more of your brand than anyone else

Ask any established company who is buying their products, why they are doing so, how they prefer to do it and how many customers they think will stay or go and they can give you a 50 page report, but ask the board who their greatest front line superheroes are, what teams regularly go above and beyond expectations, or how well they are selling their brand to employees and you’ll be (9 times out of 10) met with blank stares…

You might, if you’re lucky, using lucky here in the loosest sense, be presented with last year’s employee engagement survey, giving you something of an idea of how everyone was 9 months ago or indeed how happy they are 2 months after the annual bonus or how unhappy they are in the rainy depths of the British winter.

The people working in a business understand it more intimately than any consumer, so employee buy in brings serious money – they are not just ambassadors to their friends and family or consumer of your products and services, they can make the difference to whether a customer decides to buy or not. Engage for Success found that companies in the top quartile for employee engagement had 2.5 times greater revenue growth and twice the net profit.

No business would ever dream of building a customer engagement strategy with just an annual snapshot to understand how you’re doing, we want to know everything now, right now and there is good reason for that;

Is it time to start using your workforce data?

Sporadic and discontinuous data points are not a worthy basis for decision making

Business units, such as sales, marketing and operations are run by dashboards and KPIs that allow them to monitor every week, every day right down to every hour, how they are doing. This allows for an intense focus on performance, building an understanding of how initiatives or interventions are impacting their desired outcomes.

If higher productivity through improved employee engagement is the aim, then acting, measuring, learning and trying again is the method. Letting HR and more broadly, people management, become a data led function has the power to give HR board level decision making ability by providing the evidence that backs up the business case.

What this means practically is searching for real time measures, allowing you to increase the frequency of your assessment and not forgetting the kind of segmentation, be it demographics or diversity groups, that will help truly understand your people.

Mark Davies Pardon me, Mark here. I hope you're enjoying this blog post. If you're interested in better understanding how you can use data to drive HR decisions, please book a demo and we'll share with you how we are helping organisations such as the NHS, InterContinental Hotels Group and one of the fastest growing law firms in the UK to transform their approach to HR.

Consider this: We regularly encourage HR Teams to speak with their Marketing Director to understand how data analytics and automation has helped to improve experiences for your customers. If you would like a conversation starter, ask them about your company’s approach to behavioural analytics, programmatic advertising or predictive analytics and how these impact the experience of your customers.

How do we know we are better today than we were yesterday, last week or last month? We need to have a basis for comparison, whether we’re getting fit and wearing a Fitbit on our wrist, or validating which of our employee engagement activities are having the greatest impact on our employees…

You manage what you measure

Department by department, business practice has evolved to meet to modern demands of a business. The demand for understanding across the wide variety of things we have responsibility for is hard and while spreadsheets have served us for years, we are overwhelmed with opportunity to learn from the vast amounts of data that is being created every minute.

Most important to this course is understanding why you are collecting all of this data, helping you to think about what questions you are seeking to answer and who this is important to (we’re all guilty of forgetting that our biggest problem is just not a priority for everyone).

It’s worth noting before any HR professionals reading this are scared off, that each organisation we’ve spoken to is at a different stage in their data analytics journey, many HR professionals and management teams have different opinions and expectations of how data will impact the future of work. One thing is for sure, by the time you have finished this eCourse you will be far clearer on how you may want to approach analytics in your organisation. Happy Learning!

About ThanksBox

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Mark Davies

This post was written by Mark Davies on

Hi, I'm Mark, an insight analyst at ThanksBox. I've bought my love of data with me from my previous life as a physicist and I'm interested in the future of how technology can improve professional relationships.

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