People Analytics and Driving Growth: Part II

People Analytics_Retention_ group of businessmen and businesswomen running on a track towards a dangling carrot on a moving cable as a financial reward metaphor to motivate for a goal

People Analytics is like any other strategy:  successful when all the right components are there and less than successful when they are not.  What are the reasons for employing a people analytics approach to human resources?

  1. Talent insight
  2. Prediction
  3. Trend revelations

Those are just a few in an every growing list.

People Analytics and Growth

In my first article in this series, I presented case studies in which companies applied people analytics to particular functions within HR and then the results the companies saw after the application.

To read more the first article, which focused on talent acquisition and employee engagement, click here.


One of the most common problems solved via the use of people analytics is attrition.  Why?  It’s relatively easy to create a business case and demonstrate ROI.

READ:  How Emerging Technologies Can Improve The Hiring And Retention Process

A solid example is provided by IBM2.  The tech company employs a program called Proactive Retention.  Through use of analytics, the company is able to predict which employees are likely to leave.  It is also able to pinpoint the best way to retain employees.  The program itself has helped the company save more than $270 million dollars since its inceptions.

Another example would be Nielsen3.  With the use of people analytics, the company has been able to calculate that a single percentage point of attrition represents $5 million lost by the company.  So, how did they mitigate that significant loss of money?  The answer is lateral moves.  The company looked at employees who had made lateral moves versus those that remained in the same position for a long period of time.  The data indicated those that made lateral moves were 48% more likely to remain with the company than those who had made no moves.

As a result, the company put the focus on lateral moves and gained buy-in from the CEO.  Before doing so, only about 4% of employees made lateral moves at the company.  Following that up, Nielsen created a program called Ready to Rotate.  It empowers employees to self-advocate their desires to take on new challenges within the company.  Within the first six months, the company saw a 160% increase in traffic to the Ready to Rotate website.  The net result:  they saw the voluntary attrition rate for Q1 decrease by nearly half for the same timeframe for the previous year.

Compliance and Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity incidents are on the rise around the world.  While it seems most of the news is centered on political targets, businesses are not immune to the risk especially large global companies like Shell4.  The company’s people analytics team wanted to understand if there were certain people characteristics that could predict the likelihood of an employee causing a phishing incident or downloading a virus.  When looking at available data, the team found correlations linked to tenure, skill and assignment types.  From here, Shell created a targeted cybersecurity training program that focused on 30% of the employee population and trained them to address potential cybersecurity issues.

Courtesy:  Stock Photo Secrets

The results included reducing the risk of security threats to the company.  Instead of focusing on fixing employee computers, IT workers were freed up to focus on more serious cybersecurity issues.  The company also lowered costs by targeting those employees most likely to breach security.

In Summation

As it’s been stated before, people analytics is not a substitute for strategy or critical thinking.  It is, however, another tool in the HR professional’s tool box.  When the right components are in place, a company wielding a successful people analytics strategy is a force with which to be reckoned.

In the next article in the series, I will discuss other areas in which people analytics prove to be powerfully useful including performance and organizational network analysis.

Images courtesy:  Stock Photo Secrets