How a Focus on People’s Strengths Increases Their Work Engagement

Two wrongs don’t make a right, but four rights might negate one wrong.

When companies achieve a 4-1 engagement ratio — four engaged employees for every one disengaged employee — they reach a tipping point where engaged employees can more consistently counteract the impact of actively disengaged employees.

Companies need engaged workers because they’re the ones who vastly outperform the disengaged — organizations in the top quartile of engagement have 4x greater earnings-per-share growth, better customer engagement, higher productivity, better retention, fewer accidents and higher profitability than their competitors.

So, achieving that ratio — and then surpassing it — is a way to accomplish organic growth.

And how, exactly, does one go about increasing the ratio of engaged to disengaged employees? It turns out, doing so requires ongoing, intentional employee development.

An extremely effective approach to development is to focus on strengths — strengths refer to an individual’s innate patterns of thought, feeling and behavior. Strengths-based development helps people apply their strengths to increase productivity.

Many research studies allude to strengths-based development’s links to engagement and productivity, but a very comprehensive Gallup study showed that strength-based development leads to:

10% to 19% increased sales
14% to 29% increased profit
3% to 7% higher customer engagement
9% to 15% increase in engaged employees
There’s a connection between strengths and engagement that’s fundamental to the employee experience.

Though strengths-based development can’t replace engagement education or manager conversations, a strengths-based education is a powerful catalyst that managers can use to create an engaging environment for their teams.

When even one person knows and uses CliftonStrengths …

Strengths-based development starts with first understanding what strengths contribute to performance. Every team is the sum of its parts, and different challenges call for specific abilities.

Some teams need conflict resolution, some need to be kept on task, others need to help aligning the work with the organizations’ purpose. The people with the talent for the distinct job aspects have an intrinsic ability to do them and, when coached, do them with excellence.

When employees are explicitly encouraged to use their talent in pursuit of a goal, individual engagement improves (from 9% to 15%) as does team performance and the company’s business metrics as well.

Indeed, Gallup studies have found 8% to 18% performance improvement and 2% to 10% increases in customer engagement among strengths-based organizations. Companies like those leave the desired 4-1 ratio in the dust. Their ratios are closer to 8-1. Even 11-1 or higher.

Organizations benefit when even one person — or one team — knows and uses CliftonStrengths, but Gallup research has shown that the benefits significantly increase when organization-wide strengths interventions (including education and coaching) are deployed. These benefits include the aforementioned marked gains in sales, customer metrics and profit, and significant reductions in employee attrition.

To reach the 4-1 ratio and then surpass it, leaders should:

  • Use an employee engagement approach that is simple, clear and involves employees. The measurement needs to be about things they can control day-to-day.
  • Make sure employees can be specific about what they do best and what makes them unique. Increase their self-awareness about their unique strengths and how they can apply them.
  • Build manager competence for coaching, specifically coaching employees around what their strengths are and how to leverage them for success.
  • Change and complexity demands more and better conversations. Make such conversations — particularly coaching conversations — an expectation in the workplace among peers and partners and among leaders, managers and employees. Hold people accountable.
  • Make coaching conversations more effective.

    Designing Your Organization’s Employee Experience
    Download to learn how to create a consistent employee experience that improves individual, team and business performance.
    Clearly, getting the optimal engagement ratio is not effortless. And the truth is, to succeed in this effort managers can’t ever stop trying. Engagement is never complete — it’s made fresh every day.

    But managers who engineer the employee experience around strengths find it much easier. One Gallup study found a 60-to-1 engaged employee-to-disengaged employee ratio with managers who focused on strengths, and a 2-to-1 ration of engaged to actively disengaged employees when managers focused on weaknesses.

    Where managers ignored both strengths and weaknesses, employees showed a 1-to-20 ratio of engaged employees to actively disengaged employees.

    While a strengths focus won’t replace the importance of having ongoing coaching conversations, it does give managers a leg up on engagement. It amplifies the “I care about you” message that is implicit to an engaging management style. And it directs performance toward excellence.

    People want to feel they’re performing with excellence. And managers who focus on strengths create the conditions that allow people to do so — and contribute to high-performing cultures, too, the objective of the world’s best-led companies.

    For those managers, the 4-1 ratio was just the first sign they were on the right track. Whether or not they meant to — though talented managers always mean to — they created an extraordinary employee experience along the way.


How Much Are Your Disengaged Employees Costing You?

Here’s the good news: Employers who have struggled with employee turnover in recent years may experience a bit of a reprieve. According to data from Achievers, just 35% of employees are planning to look for a new job, a drastic decrease from the 74% who answered affirmatively to the same question last year.

But not so fast. Don’t confuse the fact that your employees have no immediate plans to leave as a sign of their loyalty or engagement. On the contrary, the same study found that only 21% of employees report that they are highly engaged at work. They’re just there for the paycheck, which means they’re doing enough to avoid being fired but aren’t likely to go above and beyond their primary responsibilities.

That complacency is costing you. How much? According to Gallup, disengaged employees have 37% higher absenteeism, 18% lower productivity and 15% lower profitability. When that translates into dollars, you’re looking at the cost of 34% of a disengaged employee’s annual salary, or $3,400 for every $10,000 they make.

Let’s play a game called fun with math.

The average annual salary in the United States is roundabout $47,000.
34% of $47,000 is $15,980.
A single disengaged employee at the average salary level is going to cost you almost $16,000 per year. Raise their salary to $60,000, and they will cost you $20,400 per year. Increase their salary to $80,000, and their disengagement is costing you $27,200 a year. You get the idea.

Now, here’s where it gets really scary: Let’s apply this formula to a whole organization.

You lead a small business that employs around 250 people.
Using the Achievers data (which states that only 21% of employees are engaged), we can calculate that around 198 of those 250 employees are disengaged and complacent in their work.
Let’s say the average salary of those employees is $47,000.
That means your employee complacency is costing you $3,164,040.
It just got real, didn’t it? Of a total payroll of $11,750,000 utilizing the average salary, your employee complacency is costing you over $3 million a year. Play with the math and apply these numbers to your business. If you aren’t shocked by your results, perhaps you should question your own complacency!

So, what do you do about it?

The first step towards fixing your engagement problem is acknowledging the problem exists, and committing to taking proactive steps to fix it. This may be a more significant stumbling block than you might think! According to the same Achievers study, just 9% say the leadership in their organizations are very committed to culture initiatives, and 58% of respondents say that their leadership either takes no action regarding culture or are merely reactive instead of being proactive.

If an organization’s leadership is complacent about creating a great place to work, then why should they have the expectation that their employees will be anything but complacent about their day-to-day responsibilities?

Once you’ve acknowledged the problem, the next step is to get the team involved and make them a part of the process. Part of the problem is that many managers and leaders leave a lot to be desired when it comes to soliciting, listening to and responding to employee feedback. Achievers’ Chief Workforce Scientist Dr. Natalie Baumgartner explains that engaging with employee feedback doesn’t always need to be time-consuming: “Employees want to be heard and understood, even if the action [on the part of managers] is as simple as saying ‘I hear you and understand you.'”

Of course, taking the next step to show real change on the feedback is just as important as acknowledging that it’s been heard. Say you’ve just run your employee engagement survey, and your team members have taken the time to give you thoughtful input on what’s going well and what could be done better. Taking that data and keeping it closely guarded, only visible to a select few in the organization is one of the worst things you can do because you’re creating a context in which it’s very easy for your team to perceive that nothing is being done with it.

Instead, show the team overtly that you are taking action by getting them involved in the process. In my presentation The Ultimate Employee Engagement Survey at the 2019 Society for Human Resources Management Talent & Development Conference, I suggested the following process:

1. Be transparent. After you collect your data, be it through a formal survey for your whole organization or an informal conversation with members of a specific working through, analyze your results and make them transparently available to your team as soon as possible. Resist the urge only to present the good news and hold back the bad – your team will be able to sniff out the inauthenticity.

2. Get them involved. Once you’ve given your team some time to think about the results (about a week or so), bring them together to have a discussion. Your goal is to help the team decide on 1-3 committed actions that can be taken to improve. This makes everyone accountable for participating in the process. This part tends to work best in working groups, rather than in a company-wide meeting, to allow people more opportunity to contribute.

3. Increase accountability. Check in with the team regularly to share what you’ve been doing, and hold them accountable for contributing what they said they would. You could also utilize pulse surveys to take the current temperature of the team by asking a few quick, focused questions about the areas you are most interested in.

4. Measure for continuous improvement. Complete your broader evaluation of your progress again in 4-6 months to see if your efforts have moved the broader needle. There’s no reason to check in on your employees only once a year. If they know that you are taking action and things are improving, they will be more than happy to provide their thoughts.

Employee engagement is a fluid concept that is influenced by many factors ranging from compensation to doing exciting work, to work/life balance. That’s why it’s so essential to make it a process of continuous improvement in which you’re consistently and actively looking for ways to improve rather than merely reacting to things as they come.

Does it take an investment of time and resources to do that? Yes. But is that investment higher than the 34% percent of the annual salary of the employees working for you that are actively disengaged and complacent in their work? It doesn’t come anywhere close to it. The value of employee engagement is unquestionable, with slight gains in a more engaged workforce resulting in a significant return on investment when compared with the costs. The hard numbers make it a no-brainer for leaders interested in maximizing business performance.


How to predict and prevent employee turnover

Calculating the cost of employee turnover
Everyone agrees that turnover is expensive, but the exact cost is widely debated, falling anywhere between 30%–200% of an employee’s salary. Plus, it can be hard to put an exact number on the impact that turnover can have on employee morale and productivity.

Here at Culture Amp, we have access to a dataset that leverages the collective intelligence of thousands of companies. This means that companies of all sizes—whether you’re an early-stage startup or a large enterprise—can now better understand which factors contribute to employee turnover, anticipate which groups have a high likelihood of leaving, and course correct before it’s too late. Since our data provides insights into which employees are likely to leave according to department, gender, age, and tenure, you may be able to more accurately calculate the anticipated cost of turnover in the near future.

The real reasons people leave
At Culture Amp, we’ve been collecting employee data since 2011 and we have insights from millions of people from the moment they join an organization through to the time they leave. Here’s what our data has taught us about the real reasons people leave an organization.

Lack of belonging

A sense of belonging is crucial for people when they join a company. People who had an early sense that they didn’t belong were three times more likely to leave within the first six months.

Lack of confidence in company leadership

Despite the common myth that people leave managers and not companies, we continue to find in our data that although some people leave because of a manager, they are much more likely to leave because they don’t have confidence in the overall leadership of the company.

Bad first impressions

We’re seeing a growing number of people making decisions about leaving companies early in their tenure. In recent Culture Amp research, we found that around 10% of people were leaving within six months of starting a new job—and many were making the decision to leave within their first six weeks.

Forecasting and reducing employee turnover
At this point, you may be wondering what you can do to keep your employees happy and extend their tenure. We know that waiting for people to resign and chasing them out the door with a better offer doesn’t work—at least not for long. Smart practitioners have always flagged turnover risks, but many haven’t known what to do to avoid regrettable turnover. Instead, they’ve invested in succession planning (or hoping for the best).

While many employee engagement metrics have traditionally told you what happened in the past, there’s now an opportunity to predict what might happen next. Culture Amp’s predictive analytics uses machine learning to identify the people who are likely to leave in the future—and why they’ll leave. Our platform brings together metrics from employee engagement, turnover forecast, manager effectiveness, and diversity & inclusion. We highlight the groups of employees with the highest risk of turnover and our algorithms suggest ways you can intelligently solve these challenges.

Knowing what’s driving turnover empowers you to make critical changes in your organization. Rather than making last-ditch efforts to retain employees who have already made the decision to leave, you can focus on efforts and initiatives that will keep employees engaged and extend their tenure.


Have we finally outgrown HR?

Several weeks ago, I was moderating a panel of chief people officers in San Francisco. The discussion spanned career paths, the future of work, diversity and inclusion, and a host of other topics germane to leading people teams in today’s world of work.

One of the more spirited exchanges was during a discussion about the term “human resources” (HR). None of the panelists had HR in their title. None of their teams were titled HR. The shared view was that just as the field had moved beyond “personnel,” the term “human resources” no longer reflects the discipline’s broadened scope and strategic value.

This evolution in nomenclature is not unique to HR. Software engineers used to be programmers. Account representatives used to be sales reps. Even within the field of HR, we’ve seen the gradual shift from “recruiting” to “talent acquisition.”

Historically, the field of HR heavily focused on compliance and operational support. Responsibilities mainly centered around ensuring employees got paid, employee relations issues were minimized, and the organization’s exposure to risk was minimized.

The scope of responsibility was rarely given the respect equal to its importance in building a successful organization. In a quest for the proverbial seat at the table (and equal footing with executive peers), some HR teams became more focused on their legacy mandates and earned a reputation (fair or not) as internal cops–often avoided, and occasionally feared. This perception has been shifting over the last decade.

The evolution of HR can be traced back to a decision by one of the pioneers of modern HR, former Google SVP of people operations and current Humu cofounder and CEO, Laszlo Bock. He explained to me in an email exchange why he reframed Google’s team as “people operations”:

When I joined Google in 2006, it was clear: Conventional business language wouldn’t fly in the engineering-driven culture. While “HR” would be seen as administrative and bureaucratic, “operations” suggested the ability to get things done and use math. So people operations it was. To illustrate the point, on meeting Urs Hozle, then SVP of infrastructure and one of the first 15 employees of Google in my first week on the job, he took one look at my bio and said, “Great title.”

We built people operations around the principles of using data-driven decision making, of relentless experimentation, and of enriching the field of people management with the best ideas from across disciplines: psychology, economics, technology, and academia.

And the name suited us well–it was the start of a movement in management that I’m proud to have been a part of. But the truth is, the name doesn’t matter. What does matter is the commitment to rooting decisions in science, in being respectful of the privacy of individuals, and of approaching people management in a truly human way–which at Humu we refer to as a little bit of love.

As a career HR practitioner, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard that phrase. I’m not alone. The legacy perception, driven by the compliance focus, is that HR’s job is to police employees.

Workable VP of customer advocacy, Matt Buckland, sums up this view and why it might be time for a change:

The Truth is HR did themselves a disservice in the pursuit of a “seat at the table.” They became police for the org and lost the respect/trust of workforces. Any name change that implies some employee advocacy or treats “people” as people should be welcomed.

While there are indeed HR teams that earn that policing stereotype, the reality is there is a new camp within HR that’s far more focused on driving strategic business outcomes. Yes, compliance is still necessary, but it’s no longer the leading capability or contribution.

These 21st-century HR teams bring a much broader skill set to their role. People leading these functions possess business acumen on par with their peers across the C-suite. Their teams leverage data that inform their strategy and allow them to address people challenges before they become a crisis. They’re embedded in the business and embraced as part of the teams they support. Rather than striving for ownership with centralized command and control structures, their decentralized business partner models focus on empowering and enabling.

I was keen to start a conversation with my peers on whether the term “human resources” has become outdated, and there were passionate arguments on both sides. Many HR practitioners are currently struggling with this very question in their organizations.

The leading alternative, one we already see a lot of, involves the word “people.” There are a range of variations: people team, people & culture, people & places, people operations. Some prefer variations of talent: talent, talent & culture, talent operations. Others are partial to employee experience and human capital. Moreover, of course, some feel strongly that the field should remain human resources.

To some people outside of HR, the idea that we refer to our employees as “resources” feels, well, a bit inhumane.

Rob Harol, a product management executive, resents the notion of being referred to in the same manner as the servers that run his company’s website. “The term ‘human resources’ has always felt so cold and mechanical to me. If companies truly value their people, they should refer to us as such.”

Ultimately, what’s most important is elevating the impact and capabilities of the field. A name change without that shift would be cosmetic and not likely to change perceptions.

So what’s changed? That answer depends on whom you ask. There is a significant delta between the capabilities and impact of best-in-class teams and those still rooted in 20th-century views and practices. As you might expect, your experience within that spectrum will largely dictate your answer to this question. For illustration, and with the caveat that 21st-century HR is just emerging, let’s explore some of the capabilities of modern HR.

Analytics and data. Modern HR teams are armed with data. Lots of it. They also understand data alone can be meaningless. Extracting insights from data that allows HR teams to adapt people strategies can be transformative. From Virgin Media to Capitol One, companies are turning to data to solve problems ranging from workforce planning, turnover, recruiting, and more. According to the Corporate Research Forum, 69% of large organizations have people analytics teams. Many modern HR functions have people analytics teams (or individuals) who are tasked with extracting insights from an increasingly complex HR technology stack.

Employer brand. A study by the Harvard Business Review showed that a bad reputation can cost as much at a 10% premium per hire. The maturation of employer brand has transformed HR into a creative field. Leading HR organizations have employer brand strategies that mirror their peers in marketing, complete with conversion funnels, persona maps, and personalized digital engagement strategies. Companies investing in enhancing and actively driving their employer brand are seeing significant impacts on metrics including cost of hire, time to fill, quality of hire, and retention.

Diversity, inclusion, and belonging. The business benefits of having a diverse organization is well documented. A report by McKinsey showed that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. Leading HR functions are driving cultures that embrace “culture add” mind-sets and proactively tackling topics spanning pay equity, inclusion, and belonging.

Regardless of where you stand on the best name for the function, great HR is transformative. As the sophistication and impact of leading teams continue to drive the evolution of the field, we may soon be in a position everyone can agree on–the name doesn’t matter because the work speaks for itself.


37% of workers would leave their job if not offered this essential tool

A new report shows that there’s a skills-training gap in many U.S. workplaces. Employees who need training on various skills aren’t getting it, and employees who want training on various skills aren’t getting it either. This all, of course, affects internal advancement and building yourself as a more desirable candidate when it comes to looking for your next job.

The report, called “Future of Work and Employee Learning,” was from the Sitel Group, a customer experience management company.

The most surprising finding was this: a full 37% of employees would leave their job if they weren’t offered training.

And yet, 92% of employees say that learning something new at work makes them more motivated and engaged – so employers would do well do offer as much training and new opportunities to skill up as they can.

In addition:

30% of employees say they have avoided asking their employer for training on a certain skill because it would make them look bad
46% of employees believe their employer penalizes them for not having certain skills at their job.
79% say that when looking for a job, it was important that the employer offers a formal training program to their employees
There is a training gap, Aaron Schwarzberg, COO at Learning Tribes USA, part of the Sitel Group, told Ladders. “Employees aren’t necessarily sure how to ask for their employers to address that gap. There is an issue of employees needing additional training, additional resources, additional support and they’re not a hundred percent sure how to ask for it.”

Employers need to step up
The responsibility, he says, lies with the employers. “I think it’s incumbent upon the employers to take responsibility for the dynamic and to provide comprehensive learning and development for employees,” Schwarzberg said. He suggests that employers reach out to employers to “proactively find out and uncover what additional services and needs there are” by conducting research and internal studies, for example.

In the report, it was found that 51% of employers don’t offer soft skills training. And while 33% of employees say they have had training on technology skills, only 17% say they’ve had management skills training.

When looking for a new job, candidates should be explicitly asking prospective employers about what training they offer employees.

“That’s one thing that employees should frankly feel very comfortable asking their prospective employer,” Schwarzberg told Ladders. The question can be asked directly: “What are they doing currently to invest in their employees? It’s OK to make it an open-ended question because they more pointed [employees] make it, the easier it is on the employer to speak to the direct question asked versus speaking generally.”

Other questions could be, “What are you currently doing right now to address development, to address training, learning, and development needs?” and “What practices are in place currently?”

If an employer spent a little time getting to know each candidate and their strengths and weaknesses, it would be a step in the right direction, said Schwarzberg. Nearly 35% of employees felt their employer did not take the time to get to know them in terms of their skills and how to help them advance.

“Without actually taking the time to ask someone what they need, or what resources they need, or where they feel that their gaps are, people feel powerless, they feel unimportant, they feel like a cog in the wheel – versus an important piece of the puzzle to each organization.”


This 1 Thing Could Be the Secret to Employee Retention

A healthy economy is a good thing in theory, but when jobs are plentiful, employees risk losing valuable talent when competing opportunities abound. If that’s been the case at your company, then you might rethink everything from your compensation strategy to your workplace culture to your willingness to invest in career growth. But while improving salaries, benefits, and education is apt to cost money, here’s one thing you can do to retain talent without spending a dime: Be more flexible.

Flexibility matters
Many employees today struggle to achieve a decent work-life balance. By being flexible with your workers, you effectively help make that possible — and once you do, you’re likely to experience an uptick in loyalty. In fact, businesses that support remote work opportunities have 25% less employee turnover than companies that don’t. And over 75% of workers say they’d be more loyal to their employers if they offered flexible work options.

Or, to put it another way, if you don’t get on board with being more flexible, you might lose some of the valued employees you’ve worked hard to train. Case in point: A good 61% of employees have either left or considered leaving a job because it wasn’t flexible enough for them.

Why workers crave flexibility
There are lots of reasons why workers want the ability to set their own hours or work from the place of their choosing, whether it be home or another remote location. For one thing, flexibility helps workers with kids better manage child care. It also helps employees keep up with personal obligations — things like household maintenance and the like.

There’s also the idea of not having to commute that’s a major perk for many workers today. A stressful trip to and from work can sour an otherwise decent experience, and not having to deal with travel on a daily basis could be reason enough for some of your best workers to decide to stay put, even if higher-paying opportunities arise elsewhere.

Furthermore, flexibility tends to go hand in hand with worker appreciation. When employees are granted more leeway on the job, it makes them feel valued. And the better they feel about themselves, the more inclined they’ll be to stick with you, even during periods when it’s generally not so difficult to find work elsewhere.

If your company has yet to adopt any sort of flexible work policy, it’s time to reconsider that strategy, especially if employee retention is a key goal. Remember, that flexibility can take different forms. It can be a simple matter of allowing workers to leave a bit early or come in a bit late to tend to personal matters, or it can extend all the way to telecommuting. Of course, the more flexible your company is able to be, the better, but if you start with baby steps and work your way up, your employees will, at the very least, note the effort on your part and perhaps be a bit more hesitant to blast out their resumes.


The Future Of Human Capital Lies In Data Analytics

When people think about Human Resources (HR), the first thought that comes to mind is often a department that handles personnel hiring and salaries. However, over the years, HR has transformed and is now a function that closely aligns with a company’s strategic plan and vision. Some even refer to the function as Human Capital (HC) and not HR anymore.

For HC to help organizations achieve their strategic goals, it needs to not only manage people, and develop existing talent but determine hiring needs and look into workforce trends to enable future success. To hire the right people for the right job, and at the right time, organizations are increasingly looking into data analytics as a tool to address a wide range of business challenges including, first and foremost, recruiting, followed by performance measurement, compensation, workforce planning, time to hire and retention, among others. As the market becomes increasingly noisy, we believe the next wave of recruiting lies in the use of data-driven insights to power talent decisions. This is what Talent Intelligence is all about – a new way to harness data and insights to reinvent and improve every step of the recruitment process by combining these insights with the right instincts to deliver the winning talent strategy.

Skills required to get the job done
The insights gathered not only provide intelligence to talent strategies but can also help highlight the skills gap that exists within an organization, pointing to the skills that are most in demand amid the revolving talent landscape. For instance, recently released LinkedIn insights revealed that recruiters are looking for people with soft skills, such as creativity, adaptability and collaboration. Let’s make it clear: hard skills matter, however with the rise of automation and artificial intelligence, it means that hard skills alone are no longer enough to be successful.

According to our Global Talent Trends report 2019, wrong hires are almost never a matter of hard skills alone; and talent professionals are aware. In fact, 89% of respondents feel that “bad hires” typically have poor soft skills. This is why, increasingly, they prioritize soft skills alongside hard skills during the hiring process.

Trying to recruit very specific people with such hard-to-define skills is an issue that many CEOs face and can be addressed with data analytics. Having access to predictive talent models means that business leaders can more effectively and efficiently find, recruit, and retain the right people. It can also help to identify current pain points in the organization and discern where to distribute future investments.

Adoption of HR analytics to make informed hiring decisions
In addition, based on LinkedIn’s Recruiter Sentiment Survey, the need for high-performing talent in the Middle East has never been greater.  It is only natural that HR professionals are turning to workforce analytics tools to make smarter, data-driven business decisions. With real-time insights collected from more than 610 million LinkedIn members and 30 million companies, LinkedIn Talent Insights offers a whole new level of transparency to the talent marketplace and helps HR professionals plan for current and future hiring needs.

According to LinkedIn’s The Rise of Analytics in HR report, the adoption of specialized HR analytics in EMEA has been strong in the last five years. Overall, 19% of companies have adopted HR analytics, and 12% have dedicated HR analytics roles. Finance and legal are the industries with the most widespread adoption of HR analytics. However, this investment is concentrated, and overall adoption of analytics is still low.

For those organizations that are looking to get started with HR analytics, they will firstly need to prioritize key areas of the business. As a result, those who implement an analytical approach to address business issues in key areas will have a much stronger outcome than attempting to apply analytics across the board.

The outcome of implementing insights tools therefore allows the creation of a narrative that elevates HR’s position with senior leadership. It results in improving the business strategy overall by providing the counsel on the talent strategy. Looking into products that deliver direct access to rich data on talent pools and companies can help businesses stay two steps ahead in today’s fast changing talent landscape. The most important step would be creating a culture and mindset that is data-first, where data-driven thinking is rewarded and appreciated— and where change is delivered from the top.

One way or the other, there is no denying that HR analytics is here to stay and there can be no thriving future for HR or HC without analytics as its foundation.


Study: Employer transparency boosts return on equity

Dive Brief:
A company can generate return on equity (ROE) by approaching its policies with transparency, according to new research from JUST Capital. The nonprofit reviewed data from 890 publicly traded U.S. companies and assessed transparency and ROE on nine worker issues, finding that companies receive a boost of 1.2% to 3% for eight of the nine issues after disclosing such policies.
In the category of wage parity, the data reveals companies publishing their pay equity analysis reported a 3% ROE advantage. For diversity and equal opportunity policies, 86% of the companies polled published this information; this group showed an ROE advantage of 2.5%. Disclosure of diversity and equal opportunity targets netted a 2.4% advantage, JUST Capital found. According to the research, career development and tuition reimbursement policies showed a 1.4% and 1.2% advantage, respectively.
Findings also showed the 45% of companies that disclosed flexible working hour policies saw a 2% advantage. Employers offering paid parental leave, at less than one-third polled, received a ROE boost of 2.2%, while 23% of companies offering day care services reported a 2.5% ROE advantage. Nearly 30% of the companies disclosed a paid time off policy, but doing so did not generate an ROE advantage, JUST Capital said.

Dive Insight:
Transparency is gaining traction as an necessary element of doing business, especially as more and more job seekers and workers demand it. In creative industries, in particular, wage transparency is becoming the new normal; 77% of advertising and marketing hiring managers said their employers are transparent to some degree, according to a study from The Creative Group. Slightly more than one-third offer full transparency, the survey found.

Job seekers look for authenticity and transparency when it comes to selecting or staying in a workplace. And workers who have already found a professional home are creating internal pressure by calling for transparency. A Willis Towers Watson poll found employers have changed compensation and performance management strategies to ensure fair pay after receiving employee and manager feedback. It’s worth noting that Google’s chief diversity officer wrote an open letter to employees at the end of April, giving them updates on recently announced plans to improve transparency and accountability within the company.


What Indian millennials look for in a job

Millennials always have a unique way of looking at things. And a report by global market research agency Kantar TNS on Wednesday confirms this. The report says that Indian millennials look for employee perks more than financial benefits in a job.

The report—’The quality of life’—commissioned by Sodexo, points out that the top employee perks, or non–financial benefits, are meal benefits and flexible working hours, which lead to enhanced employee experience.

The survey, which covered an equal number of millennials and non-millennials, found that Indian non-millennials want more financial benefits compared to millennials. “While the non-millennials wanted more financial benefit, millennials prefer flexibility,” the report said. However, what should alarm business leaders is that “38% of millennials said they were thinking about switching jobs in the next six months”, the report says.

The most-preferred benefits globally, according to the report, are company or peer awards, career development programmes, and flexible working hours, besides financial benefits.

However, financial benefit was not as important in India as compared to China, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Employees in India give a lot of value to learning and leisure, flexible working hours, career development programmes, meals, gifts, holidays, travel cards, and company and peer awards. For example, employees of multinational companies prefer career development programmes, while part-time workers desire more leisure and culture vouchers, the report says.

In contrast, most employees in China preferred financial benefits, followed by company/peer awards.

The report, aimed at organisations to make them aware of what keeps their employees happy—professionally and personally—says they need to keep employees at the heart of their businesses if they want to thrive in a rapidly shrinking world.

“And, this is where employee experience comes into play. Just as the last few years focussed on customer experience, the next few will need to centre around employee experience,” Sodexo said in a statement.

“Perhaps that is why 2019 is being hailed as the year of employee experience—the year that will bring a definitive change in the way organisations view, treat, and engage with their employees.”

The study also found that the Indian corporate world is the only one among the Asian countries surveyed that has been best able to fulfill the expectations of employees with respect to flexible working hours.

“The flexibility of working from home or following flexible work schedules is most widely offered to employees in India,” the report says. Overall, on satisfaction with employers’ services, India and China ranked at the top.

While China delivers very well on transportation, wellness programmes, concierge services, and restaurants, India on does well on cleaning, reception services, meeting management, cafeteria, food vouchers, and employee recognition programmes.

So, what does this mean for employers in India? The report says that while financial benefits are obviously important, and organisations need to structure their compensation package well, they must pay heed to their employees’ unstated wants.

“Good health insurance that will cover the employees’ dependents is mandatory. So is flexibility. Employees are but an (inward) extension of customers; they are the first clients of the organisation. Hence, before the customers, they are the ones that must be wooed. Strategically, organisations need to first conquer the workplace before they can conquer the marketplace,” the study says.



What Is Culture Analytics and How Can It Help Your Organization?

Culture analytics has made its foray into HR technology as a key product to help organizations get a sense of and develop workplace culture. As a result, investors and startups are also making inroads into this interesting space. In this article, we share:

The definition of culture analytics
Three benefits of adopting culture analytics in HR
Three examples of HR tech startups innovating with culture analytics

HR analytics has emerged as a high-interest area in the last one year, driven by trends such as a rise in data volumes, proliferation of HR tech, and a renewed focus on connecting the different silos of employee experience. An exciting field in HR analytics is culture analytics: drawing from a rich history of sociopolitical study, culture analytics applies the principles of data-driven people assessment/management to HR use cases. Despite being an emerging space, culture analytics has already seen a lot of activity from investors and startups, indicating future directions for HR.

What Is Culture Analytics?
In the HR context, culture analytics refers to the science of using information around workplace culture to generate actionable insights. This implies the use of technologies to measure cultural information, powerful systems to process these datasets, and smart algorithms to give HR managers real actionables.

The difference between traditional people analytics and culture analytics is that culture analytics doesn’t just point out gaps in culture metrics – it doesn’t, for instance, identify unhappy employees so that you are left to figure out how to make them happy. What it does is analyze the entire culture spectrum and align it with organizational objectives so that HR teams can identify the exact happiness metric to be achieved, programs to close the gaps, and how the company can benefit as a whole.

In other words, culture analytics can help dig deeper into workforce sentiment, uncovering new ways to synchronize company culture to the business vision.

Benefits of Leveraging Culture Analytics
For HR, data can prove key to better decision-making in every sphere. In the case of company culture as well, data can help quantify subjective responses and sentiment, allowing HR to closely monitor their workforce. Here’s how your organization can gain from culture analytics:

1. Better hiring: By assessing your culture regularly, you can measure new recruits against the ideal baseline and ensure the perfect corporate-cultural fit. In the long term, this translates to reduced turnover and a more enthused workforce.

2. Accurate skills measurement: Culture analytics can reveal insights into employee soft skills – an area that is often neglected by traditional assessments. An employee’s interaction with and contribution to organizational culture is a good indicator of their soft skills capabilities. These gaps, once identified, can be resolved via training and employee engagement initiatives.

3. Smarter talent management: A number of talent decisions, from internal hires to offboarding, hinge on an understanding of the current cultural environment in the organization. Analytics gives HR managers detailed data on an employee’s cultural alignment, aiding decision-making.

Learn more: 5 Ways Technology Can Help Build a Strong Company Culture

Examples of Culture Analytics Solutions
While a lot of the technology in this domain remains in the research and development phase, a few pioneers are gaining popularity. We share three examples of companies making strides in culture analytics:

Humantelligence is an AI-focused culture analytics and recruitment solution. It uses AI to analyze company culture and synchronize individual hires to specific metrics. The company claims to reduce attrition by 30 percent, offering a quick yet advanced 12-minute assessment tool.
Culture Amp applies analytics to solve common workplace problems such as disengagement, low motivation, and subpar productivity. They provide a number of unique surveys to help gauge employee sentiment, supported by data scientists and organizational psychologists.​​​​​​​
O.C. Tanner’s Culture Cloud™ is a 360-degree culture building platform, envisioned on the lines of the marketing cloud and sales cloud. It includes a suite of apps and services built on a strong technology foundation – combining AI, advanced analytics, and data privacy/security to help employees build better relationships and thrive in an organization.

The Future of Culture Analytics
Going forward, culture analytics will prove extremely useful as organizations explore new ways to engage with workforces, align their requirements to large targets, and leverage culture as a key differentiator for success. We expect several disruptive players to introduce solutions that make adoption possible, and indeed, make culture analytics a staple for progressive organizations.