How People Analytics Can Help You Drive a High-Performing Culture

A Data-Driven Approach to Company Culture

When Lazlo Block left his position as Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google, he did it with a bang: “The future of HR lies with data science,” he said, and promptly launched a stealth startup that will focus on people analytics. It’s true: bringing Big Data into HR is the wave of the future. We’ve seen it in how businesses are using technology to facilitate the hiring process and the onboarding process, and now we’re seeing it in culture with culture metrics. This development shouldn’t be a surprise. After all, a number of other functions, such as marketing and sales, have embraced metrics as a key decision-making tool, and HR should be no different. How exactly can HR leverage people analytics to drive more strategic culture (and overall business) decisions?

Culture metrics for clearer insights about internal trends

Data gives your organization insight into the ongoing sentiment of their workforce so that you can get an honest assessment of your company’s culture, and then identify hotspots and opportunities for improvement.

The first step is to assign metrics to culture— two words you might not be accustomed to seeing together. However, when you define culture as “how things get done” (how people communicate, innovate, etc.) in an organization, it repositions it from a “soft” topic rooted in intuition to a weighty topic central to business strategy.

Once you determine what culture metrics you are measuring (see an example here) and how you are measuring them (usually through employee feedback), you can create a schedule to track them over time, similar to how you would marketing or sales metrics. The image below is an example of a CultureIQ Score trend line, which represents the overall strength of a company culture over time.

people analytics

In addition to providing a regular “report card” to monitor your organizational culture, this approach comes in handy when troubleshooting problems, optimizing processes, ad

Let’s say you’re trying to diagnose a challenge that managers have brought up, such as reduced productivity. In the past, you’d have to interview employees individually and compile data based on subjective responses. By leveraging people analytics, on the other hand, you can gather feedback digitally, combine it with employee demographic data and culture metrics to quickly analyze it in a variety of ways. With such specific, targeted data, you have everything you need to mount an appropriate response to the issue. For example, it might reveal that the communication processes in Boston are outdated, causing an operational bottleneck that is affecting employees’ abilities to meet their goals.

Want to see this in action? Read about how SRS Distribution uses culture metrics and people analytics to strategically manage their culture during mergers and acquisitions.

People analytics for a smarter, more strategic approach to culture

Not only do people analytics allow you to monitor your organizational culture and identify existing strengths and opportunities, but they also empower you be proactive and more strategic about culture in your company.

Here’s a look at a few more ways incorporating people analytics and culture metrics into HR processes will help you drive a stronger culture:

  • Be proactive rather than reactive about new trends in your workforce. Understand emerging habits and trends among high-performers and shape your culture accordingly.
  • Diagnose opportunities across demographic groups. Zero in on culture metrics from specific segments, such as employee type (hourly or salaried), employees by tenure, employees by department, and more. Do employees with a higher tenure report lower engagement? This insight can help you solve the existing problem while planning ahead.
  • Track the effectiveness of a given culture program so that you can iterate accordingly. Spend time and resources on the initiatives that work and quickly phase out the ones that don’t. We call this culture agility. Learn how we implement this strategy internally at CultureIQ.

Culture has officially joined the world of data, and leveraging culture metrics can have a big impact on employees and organizations alike. Consider how people analytics can help you make more informed, strategic decisions to develop a high-performance culture .