By now you probably already know that data and analytics are a must-have for every and all parts of an organization. Although it might feel counterintuitive at first, HR is no exception. In fact, these days HR is taking an even more important role in driving strategic transformation across organizations. However, in order to make a strategic impact, HR teams need the right data and analytics platform that is easy to use and performs extremely well on large amounts and many sources of data.
The People Team at Sisense is no stranger to analytics so I sat down with Nurit Shiber, our Chief People Officer, to hear how she and her team are using Sisense to track important people KPIs and create a work environment that meets everyone’s needs.
Q: Let’s start high-level. How are you and the rest of the People Team using analytics?
A: We have a set of metrics that we put together and are tracking all the time. Our dashboard is something that I can look into daily and also use to monitor the business on a quarterly basis. So at the top level, we have basic information. Things like, how many Sisensers are in the company, how many we’ve hired, the percent we’ve grown. Pretty standard measurements to get a high-level view of the entire Sisense organization.
We then get into information about attrition because we want to see numbers of voluntary and involuntary attrition and the reasons behind it. Following that, because we’re so focused on growing our people, we have widgets that give us a look at mobility and career progression. We look at data about Sisensers who have been with the company for more than one year and the percentage of movement in the company, whether that’s a promotion, a lateral move, a move from one office location to another…any sort of movement. Lastly, we look at diversity metrics such as gender, generation (X, Y, Z etc.) and correlate that to all the above. This data-driven approach helps us to enable business decisions, drive improvements to our employees’ experience and increase the People Function’s organizational impact.
Q: Something that’s in the news a lot is how to employ and keep millennials. Do you look at this at all?
A: We have an HR dashboard that we call the “Generation Dashboard,” which looks exactly at that. At the top of that dashboard, we can see how many people in the company belong to different generations. I’m happy to say that we actually have four generations working here at Sisense, and we can see all of them on the dashboard: Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y, and Generation Z.
Similarly to many tech companies today 73% of Sisensers are millennials. That’s a very large percentage. Having this kind of data available and tracking it regularly allows us to cater to the different needs each population has and also to diversify our talent pool further. We also track the average tenure per generation and what influences their engagement at work.
Q: What impact does this have on how your team operates?
A: I think we often operate according to paradigms that may no longer be relevant for the population you are dealing with. With millennials (and by the way with nearly anyone today), it’s well known that purpose, empowerment, transparency, and integrating life and work are extremely important.
So, we needed to find a way to craft an environment that facilitates constant growth and development. A direct result of this realization is our “Moonshot Your Career” program, which we started a year ago. This program focuses on giving our employees the tools to advance their careers by developing their skills in core skills workshops, learning about different roles in the company through lunch and learns, and progressing within their own roles and between different roles.
Employee Experience plays a huge part in creating high engagement as well. We designed programs such as Well-Sense introducing yoga and meditation before and after work hours. We launched a unique initiative called “MashUps” that offer after work activities for employees, connecting them through their personal passions, such as painting, music, or hiking.
I remember, two years ago, when I presented my “experience budget” to the executive leadership team suggesting many activities at different levels. The reactions I got was that we may be doing too many things…. I said back then, and still stand behind it that that at the end of the day people look for that holistic experience. Millennials want the opportunity to bond with coworkers outside of the office. Work is more than just work, it’s also a platform to create meaningful relationships that can last a lifetime and pays back in higher productivity, higher engagement and lower turnover. It was so much easier to approach this discussion using data generated by our analytics.
Q: Aside from generation, what other diversity factors are you looking at?
A: Gender, of course, is something that we constantly look at. We are proud to have 35% of our leadership positions held by women. We track this through our dashboards. Similarly we look at our recruitment funnels and track the percent of diversity in candidates and constantly aim to increase it. Our next steps will be to introduce a dashboard to constantly track pay parity in key roles as well as minority hiring and retention.
Q: What are your future HR analytics plans?
A: We have a pretty extensive HR tech stack that houses data from across the entire employee journey, from recruitment to exit. Our next step is really mashing up even more of our data sources. For example, we will start to look deeper into our referral sources and try and understand if candidates coming from a specific source end up staying longer at the company. If they do, then we will think about how we can prioritize these sources, invest in them, and leverage them better.
Another interesting metric being introduced is looking at if the recruitment score you gave during the hiring process really predicts performance. By using performance data from SalesForce, or whatever CRM a company is using, this can be especially interesting for looking at sales teams.
But to be honest – I recently read an article by Adam Grant that I wholeheartedly agree with. According to him, people analytics don’t need to be over-sophisticated in order to provide valuable insight and create immediate impact. Quantifying obvious insights through people analytics can help gain trust and overcome three obstacles to change. These are: resistance to data (“But that’s not what my experience has shown.”), resistance to change (“But that’s the way we’ve always done it.”), and organizational uniqueness bias (“That will never work here.”). It’s all about defining the metrics and finding a tool that can help you get to insight quickly and efficiently.
Q: What would your advice be for HR teams that are getting starting with HR analytics in their organization?
A: I think the most important thing when starting any analytics project is to start with the business questions you want answered. Define the things that would help the business accelerate and become better and then measure them. Try to define no more than six KPIs that can make an impact and build them into one dashboard everyone can look at and track.
The second step is to make sure the data you have is clean and that it is mapped and organized in a way that will allow you to find answers to your questions. If there are special populations that you want to focus on, make sure they are clearly broken up, globally, in an aligned way. For example, at Sisense, Sales Development falls under our Marketing organization. As such, when we started creating dashboards, our Sales Development employees would appear under Marketing, which really prevented us from gaining clarity and focusing on this population which was a business need. This required us to reorganize the data in a way to focus on the populations we were interested in. Had we done this to begin with, it would have been easier to get to insights quicker.
Assuming you have the right KPIs that will help you understand how to drive business impact and you have the data cleaned up and mapped correctly, the third step is to build a dashboard that can tell a narrative about your organization over time and to constantly track it.
Finally, data can tell a powerful story if you listen to it, track it, and most importantly, take action based on it. People analytics are no different than any other business metric and today more than ever before it gets the attention of everyone around the table.