5 lessons from Vend on how to shape a successful people analytics strategy

Vend’s people analytics strategy brings together data from several platforms and has helped identify areas for improvement, influence actions, and measure results. It’s a fine-tuned approach that’s always improving. Penelope Barton and Jordyn Riley from Vend’s People and Culture team have built their people analytics strategy from the ground up.

Not only do they utilize Culture Amp for employee engagement, employee experience and employee effectiveness, they connect their people data across other tools like BambooHR and Greenhouse. They’ve learned through trial and error what works best for them, and know what it takes to get started and find success. Here are five lessons from Vend to shape a successful people analytics strategy.  

1. You can start right now!

You probably have a lot more data than you realize, and you can start your own journey right now. If you are starting from scratch, there'll be a bunch of different things that you can do immediately. If you're really, truly starting from scratch, take a look at the accuracy of your data to ensure you’re building off a reliable base.

When you’re just starting out, you’ll also have the time to choose your own employee survey platform. We suggest you consider these seven components - access, security, user experience, shareability, data reliance, benchmarking and analytics.

2. Experiment 

Conducting experiments with your own data is really important. To find a hypothesis, look at the numbers to see where your baseline is, research to see how you can improve the results, then roll something out and test the numbers again to see if the needle moved.

This is captured in Culture Amp’s employee feedback loop, where organizations design their survey and collect feedback, analyze and understand the data then share results and take action.

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3. Data is not a replacement (nor will it replace you)

Data is important, but try not to get too bogged down in it. Data supports having great conversations, and there's no replacement for those. Many companies use employee focus groups or employee engagement task forces to dive deeper into the results of an employee survey through face-to-face conversation. 

4. Strive for action - and talk about it  

Show people that you're doing something with all the data you collect. Strive for participation and buy-in to the action - that's what makes the most impactful difference.

When it comes to communicating the actions you’re taking on a survey, have a consistent and clear message. Dr. Jason McPherson, Culture Amp’s Chief Scientist, provides four communication tips for successful employee surveys. At the top of the list is linking action to results, all the time. As he says, “Don't forget to always and consistently, even persistently, mention that the discussions and actions are based on the survey results.”

5. Keep an eye on research and best practice 

Finally, keep an eye on this space. There is a lot of cool stuff out there that's coming, like the text analysis tool that Culture Amp has created to look at themes in comments. The robot is named ELF (Employee Language-Focused robot), because it’s trained it on a massive employee feedback data set, rather than generic text. It highlights trending topics so that specific areas that matter to people can easily be identified and context investigated further.

If you're looking to get your people analytics strategy off the ground, take a look at what data you currently have, and begin to evaluate what HR tools can help elevate your programs. Know that like any science, people analytics involves testing and learning from hypotheses in an ongoing process. While people data is a useful and effective tool for decision-making, it won't replace the role of HR professionals or the importance of a face-to-face conversation. 

Once your people analytics strategy is in motion, remember to communicate the actions you're taking as a result of the feedback that has been collected. Then, continue to keep up-to-date with the latest research and best practices in people analytics to help improve your strategy over time. 

Learn more from Vend in our ebook

In our eBook, The New Age of People Analytics: Your Journey to Success you'll learn how to become a people analytics pro and get proven tips to measure and optimize your workplace culture.

Download the eBook