Firstup recently hosted the webinar Empowering your workforce: Data-driven strategies for engagement, featuring people analytics firm One Model and HR technology advisory firm Mercer | Leapgen.
The expert panel included Sabra Sciolaro, Chief People Officer for Firstup, Richard Rosenow, VP of People Analytics Strategy for One Model, and Jess Von Bank, Head of Brand Strategy for Mercer | Leapgen, who discussed the central role of people data and analytics to increase employee engagement and prevent attrition.
Here are key insights from this engaging discussion.
Communication is central to the employee experience
Every worker has a different day-to-day experience on the job, whether they’re in front of a computer or behind a cash register, in a truck or on an assembly line. They may have ready access to the information and tools they need to do their jobs, or no access at all.
How well businesses communicate with their employees has a huge impact on how engaged, productive, and committed their people are.
“The root of any good relationship is communication, and that’s absolutely true for the relationship between employer and employee.”— Sabra Sciolaro, Chief People Officer, Firstup
All too often, HR and internal communications teams spread information far and wide—emails, intranets, Slack, bulletin boards, digital signage, and numerous other end points—hoping people will see it. But hope isn’t a communication strategy.
These traditional methods don’t capture the data necessary to know who has received the information or how it’s having an impact on employee engagement.
HR and internal comms teams need insights into communications engagement to measure the effectiveness of their initiatives. Are employees opening their emails? Are they reading and responding to posts? Are they actively connecting and communicating?
These metrics signal trends and patterns that equip HR and comms teams to proactively refine their programs and initiatives—if they have the means to capture the data.
Real-time analytics makes a difference
People analytics help HR teams better understand their workforce to provide them with a higher level of service while also identifying attrition risks, but traditional measures of engagement don’t provide sufficient data.
Webinar attendees noted that their primary methods for evaluating employee engagement included annual or quarterly surveys, town halls, performance reviews, and manager feedback. These approaches, however, capture only a moment in time—which is often a moment too late.
“If we try to measure engagement with a point-in-time survey, you can’t catch it. We’re always looking for higher-velocity data streams. Big data centers on the three Vs: velocity, variety, and volume.”— Richard Rosenow, VP, People Analytics Strategy, One Model
Traditionally, HR hasn’t been big data but “slow data,” which makes it hard to react proactively. By the time you’ve finished evaluating the data gathered from an engagement survey, it’s no longer as relevant as it was when first obtained.
The Firstup intelligent communication platform delivers high-velocity data HR professionals need to get ahead of potential problems and share the information workers need, when they need it, in a way and at a time they are most likely to consume it.
Engagement data can predict attrition
Firstup partnered with One Model—a firm known for its ability to integrate and analyze diverse data sets—on a unique case study to evaluate outcomes on data-driven communication strategies.
The One Model end-to-end machine learning platform, OneAI, is adept at navigating the intricacies of workforce data. One Model took rich communications interaction data from the Firstup platform—such as likes, comments, and shares—to evaluate how well these descriptive statistics reflected employee engagement.
They found that this data was predictive of both attrition and retention—terms Rosenow said are often used interchangeably. The nuance reflected in the case study showed that high engagement not only prevented employees from leaving but also increased their desire to stay.
The evaluation of communications engagement data starts with looking at core metrics from teams or functions. The interactions of one cohort can be cross-referenced against another’s to see whether they align.
Consider onboarding, for example. An HR professional guiding employees through an automated, personalized onboarding journey within the Firstup platform has data sets to compare one cohort to another. If their baselines don’t match, there may be risk of attrition.
1 in 3 new hires will quit within the first 90 days.2022 Job Seeker Nation Report
By analyzing the data, HR teams can identify patterns in behavior and, over time, aggregate those patterns to learn more about specific departments, teams, and other groups.
People analytics provides a window in which HR can intervene with a reengagement campaign and managers can meet with their teams to discuss in depth how to better meet their workers’ needs.
Organizations must invest in analytics to scale
As Rosenow put it, manufacturers know when a machine is about to break down. Hospitals know when a patient will be discharged. Marketing knows when customer engagement is slipping. But HR teams don’t have adequate, timely insights into which employees are at risk of quitting.
Despite their existing tech stack, HR departments have received the least investment in tools to track disengagement and prevent attrition. Data-driven organizations, however, invest in technology that provides HR and comms leaders the kind of automation and personalization capacity that marketers use to nurture and retain customers.
“This is the technology HR deserves. It’s the technology employees deserve. They deserve a bigger voice and an opportunity to have bidirectional conversations to get what they need when they need it.”— Sabra Sciolaro, Chief People Officer, Firstup
Data-driven organizations understand that analytics don’t start with data. “Analytics starts with a process,” Rosenow said. “Once you automate data capture, you get consistency. Once you get consistency, you get great data.”
Companies that use Firstup can instill a stronger data-driven culture by establishing the necessary processes that set up people analytics to “listen at scale,” no matter the size of their People Teams.
Firstup is a conduit for human connection
Sciolaro noted that Firstup enables HR and internal comms teams to be a conduit for human connection at the workplace—using the language of technology, data, and automation.
One of HR’s core functions is to listen to what their people are saying. Every data point is a person who signals their engagement through their actions—or inaction. People analytics inform communication strategies to ensure that messages reach workers and resonate with their needs so they stay informed and aligned with their employer’s business objectives.
The Firstup intelligent communication platform allows HR teams to create what Sciolaro calls “recovery playbooks”—highly personalized campaigns and guided journeys designed to reengage employees and support managers as they proactively reach out to unhappy members of their team.
“There was a point in time when somebody chose us, and we chose them back,” she said. “They felt passion and excitement about this opportunity. Some of the outreach means reconnecting them with the company mission, sharing customer success stories, and giving them a chance to fall in love again with who we are.”
Check out the full webinar for more details on data-driven communication strategies to increase engagement and strengthen retention.