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How To Use People Analytics To Improve Employee Engagement Strategies

Creating a happy and motivated workforce should be at the top of every organization's to-do list. That starts with employee engagement strategies. Learn more.

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Hand holding a speech bubble with a post it note with a happy face on it, overlayed on top of a graph trending up and to the right to signify employee engagement strategies

It’s not news anymore. Employee engagement can make or break the success of a company. Gallup’s report shows staggering numbers. Engaged teams are 23% more profitable and have 43% less voluntary attrition. Employee engagement strategies are a must for any business that wants to stay competitive.

Strategies without a proper plan and that aren’t based on data and facts can only take you so far. People analytics takes common HR data and turns it into actionable insights that will help you make better decisions regarding your workforce and your business. 

Used to create employee engagement strategies, people analytics will give you the areas that you need to focus on to create lasting change and growth.

Employee engagement strategies: What are they and why do they matter?

Employee engagement refers to the level of commitment your employees have to the organization. It includes the connections they have with their coworkers and the management, and how dedicated and happy they are with their work.

Employee engagement strategies are tactics, processes, and policies that increase the likelihood that the employees will have a positive connection with the organization, thereby increasing their overall engagement. 

Creating such a strategy requires careful planning. You’ll need to look at the company’s goals first to make sure you’re all headed in the same direction. Then, monitor key HR metrics as you execute your strategy. 

This HR data will show you where to focus your effort when creating new strategies, and help you monitor your progress towards defined goals.

Don’t forget about the budget either. Some engagement strategies are easy to implement, but others may come with an investment. Collaborate with leaders and stakeholders and decide how much of the budget you can allocate to engagement efforts.

Employee engagement benefits

Employees who don’t have a positive connection to the company, who don’t get along well with their coworkers, or who are dissatisfied with the company culture and their work are more likely to miss work, be less productive, and quit. More often than not, these employees are disengaged. 

Employee engagement offers the opposite of the points listed above. Specifically, employee engagement benefits organizations through: 

  • Increased productivity. Engaged teams are more productive. They work better together, are more effective, efficient, and perform better.

  • Lower absenteeism. According to Gallup’s report, engaged teams see a reduction in absenteeism rates of up to 81%. That’s certainly not a number to ignore!

  • Reduced turnover. When employees are unhappy with the workplace, they’re more likely to seek opportunities elsewhere, whereas engaged employees feel motivated to stay.

  • Better customer service. When employees are happy, so are the customers. Engaged employees are more likely to provide excellent customer service, doing their best to solve any problems.

The role of people analytics in employee engagement

Employee engagement comes with incredible benefits. Without it—and a concerted effort to improve it—you’re leaving your employees’ productivity and performance to chance. Some might do well, but most will probably start underperforming sooner or later. 

Download the free guide to learn five business goals you can achieve with people analytics

Creating good employee engagement strategies requires carefully analyzing people data and acting on the insights gained. The best way to get strategic insights that will improve engagement is people analytics, a tool that helps you understand the why behind your people data and guide you in making better data-driven decisions.

With that in mind, here are some ways in which people analytics will help you boost employee engagement.

1. Identify trends and patterns

One of the first things you need to ask yourself before you create new employee engagement strategies is how things are currently going in the organization. 

Can you spot any worrying patterns? A department where people seem to be less productive? Or one where attrition levels are too high?

Could these issues be a one-off exception or is there a steady trend where things are getting worse each month?

The answers to those questions will provide a starting point when deciding on the engagement strategies you should choose.

2. Behavior prediction

Predictive people analytics is a must-have when trying to set new goals and strategies in any area of your business. 

With it, you can analyze past behaviors and experiences. By using different sources, including surveys, HR metrics, and market data, you can identify patterns and trends, and predict possible future behavior.

3. Optimize HR strategies 

When you analyze people data, you can see why something isn’t working more clearly. Perhaps you tried some strategies to increase productivity. You notice some are giving good results, while others are making no difference. 

To truly improve and optimize HR strategies, you need to find out why that is. People analytics can offer the insights you need so that you can better understand your workforce.

How can people analytics support employee engagement strategies? 

Employee engagement strategies come in many shapes and forms. The ones you choose will depend a lot on your business sector and your employees. People analytics can also help you understand your workforce at a deeper level, find patterns, trends, predict behavior, and more.

There are various strategies that can be effective in increasing engagement. These include:

  • Prioritizing transparency and trust

  • Creating merit increase programs

  • Offering learning and development opportunities

  • Hiring internally

People analytics supports all these strategies and more by showing what your employees are doing and what they may want. Here are a few ways in which you can take advantage of people analytics when creating employee engagement strategies.

  • Identify what impacts employee engagement. What helps people be more engaged, and what decreases their engagement and makes them unhappy with the company? By analyzing surveys, metrics, and other people data, you can understand these factors and create better strategies.

  • Measure the impact of your current employee engagement strategies. To create better strategies, you must understand how the current ones affect the workforce. What works and what doesn’t? Is there anything that’s having a negative impact? People analytics will show you the answers and help you look at the correct metrics.

  • Predict which employees are at risk of disengagement. You can use people analytics to look at performance metrics, absenteeism, productivity, surveys, and other data that will help you predict which people have a high risk of disengagement. You can then address the problem and create targeted strategies.

  • Reimagine the employee experience. The workforce and workplace are changing rapidly. Curating the perfect employee experience comes with a lot of questions. How long does the work-from-home trend stick around? How can you help employees create meaningful connections when they don’t meet face-to-face? People analytics and data insights are crucial to finding the right answers and understanding what employees want. 

4 examples of successful employee engagement strategies supported by people analytics

People analytics and employee engagement strategies make a great duo. So what do successful strategies look like when analytics are at play? Here are a few examples.

1. Diversity and inclusion

Diverse teams are 12% more efficient than the others. But it’s not enough to say you want a diverse team, or that anyone has equal chances. You need to prove it. And to do that, you first need to look at the data. 

Which employees feel the most included? Which ones are at risk of feeling stuck behind a glass ceiling? Are there any DEI initiatives that seem to have better results than others?

By analyzing people data with DEI in mind, you’ll be able to offer targeted solutions that will truly make an impact and help people feel like they have equal opportunities regardless of who they are.

2. Merit reward programs

People want to know their efforts are seen and that they can be rewarded for it. Creating a merit increase program or offering bonuses from time to time can increase job satisfaction and even make people work harder.

Merit reward programs are not as straightforward to create though. If they’re not well planned, they risk increasing dissatisfaction by making people feel left out or like expectations are unclear or ridiculously high. 

That’s where people analytics comes in again. It can show you the metrics and data you need to create a transparent and fair bonus program that boosts engagement and satisfaction.

Click to get a free demo of Visier Smart Compensation today.

3. Hiring internally

When people know they can promote or even switch careers while staying in the same company, they’re more likely to be engaged and productive. Use people analytics to see which employees are best placed to promote or move to a different position altogether.

Who these people are will depend on several factors. They could be those whose positions are likely to become obsolete in the future or people who want to change careers. Top performers and those who’ve been with the company for years can be perfect candidates for succession planning and people analytics will help you select the best candidates.

4. Learning and development

Employees want to learn new things and improve their skills all the time. When they’re not given this opportunity, they become disengaged and will eventually leave the company.

People analytics helps you understand what skills you should prioritize to help your employees learn. You can invest where it matters most, creating L&D programs that will help employees become better at what they do and perhaps even prepare them to promote.

Regardless of your goals, people analytics can be the difference between an employee engagement strategy that has immediate and long-lasting results and one that fails.

On the Outsmart blog, we write about workforce-related topics like what makes a good manager, how to reduce employee turnover, and reskilling employees. We also report on trending topics like ESG and EU CSRD requirements and preparing for a recession, and advise on HR best practices like how to create a strategic compensation strategy, metrics every CHRO should track, and connecting people data to business data. But if you really want to know the bread and butter of Visier, read our post about the benefits of people analytics.

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