People analytics is the practice of gathering and using data about your workforce to enable evidence-based decision making for the benefit of your organisation and its people. By taking a systematic and critical approach to examining people data, people professionals can contribute to an organisation’s success by creating insights on what can and should be done to drive strategic change.

The CIPD has conducted case study research with a number of organisations to understand how they are using people analytics to deal with a variety of business challenges. Their experiences and insight can help you in your own context to embrace people analytics and adopt good, data-supported actions to improve organisational practice and performance.

Understanding engagement to improve productivity

Organisation: Financial Times
Industry: News and media
Size: Approximately 2,500 staff
Speaker: Jessica Hosking, HR Data, Insights and Reward Manager

Why did you turn to people data for a solution?

The FT is fortunate to have a strong global brand and high staff retention rate – we tend to focus on questions around how we make our staff happy and improve productivity.

How did you collect and analyse the data?

We turn to our quarterly staff engagement survey for answers. These surveys are designed to measure the drivers of staff engagement such as belonging, equality, growth, reward and recognition. The quantitative data are simply weighted and aggregated scores are measured against a benchmark.

Although many survey providers offer built-in analysis tools, my team goes through the qualitative data to distil key themes because qualitative data can be so nuanced that the AI tools occasionally misclassify certain phrases. For example, the word ‘stress’ may be processed as negative, but in the context of a comment like ‘I really want to stress the importance of how FT’s flexible working arrangements have helped to improve my wellbeing,’ it’s actually positive.

What did this exercise uncover?

Over the last four years of running the survey, we found that career growth was one of the areas that we could improve on. Career growth here is determined by answers to questions around career paths. We understand that this is a pain point shared with other companies because the benchmark scores tend to be the lowest for career growth.

What action did you take?

The FT worked hard to implement initiatives like cross-functional training opportunities such as secondments, introducing job structures aimed at providing career path options, and developing skills and competency frameworks.

What were the outcomes and lessons learnt?

These initiatives have been well received by our staff. Our engagement scores have improved year on year by almost 5% against the benchmark. We also achieved the highest ever career growth score over the past four years.

Solving business problems with people analytics:
case studies

From ensuring fair pay and inclusion to improving wellbeing and retention, people professionals can use people analytics to tackle business challenges

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