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Organizational Change
How People Analytics Can Help Employee Retention

Organizational cultures are like snowflakes: No two are alike. Before you implement an employee engagement program or culture initiative, you must understand your workforce demographics and experiences to ensure the practices will solve a real need.

People demographics go deeper than just age and gender — companies that create people-first cultures successfully analyze race, work schedules, sexual orientation, caregiving status and more when building action plans. Cross-referencing employee survey feedback with deep demographics yields the most meaningful and actionable data.

At Great Place to Work, our data scientists follow this best practice in their analysis. A great example is the Women in the Workplace report. Our research found that inclusion for women grows with career achievement. As employees move to higher job positions, the feeling of inclusion increases for both women and men. As a result, the gap between women and men persists at each stage — from individual contributor to executive. 

It’s a finding that shows how the gender gap doesn’t seem to be going away. But it doesn’t tell the whole story.

When we dig deeper into the demographics and take a closer look at how women of varying races/ethnicities experience workplace inclusion, it’s a different picture. We found that feeling included at work still improves with an increase in managerial ranks — yet, not at equal rates. 

Caucasian/white women feel the most significant gain in inclusion as they move up the ranks. Hispanic/Latino women feel the smallest increase in inclusion with more management responsibilities. And although African American/black women see a sizable gain in inclusion at work, it’s not enough — they feel the least included at work at every level of management. 

Data adds context, nuance and complexity. You must drill down to really understand your employees’ workplace experience. Lumping people into one group oversimplifies their multi-faceted lives.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta does a great job at digging into its people analytics. The not-for-profit organization has an 83 percent female employee base, which is a healthy data pool to guide their people practices. But when they looked deeper at age and caregiver status, they found that 65 percent of their female employees are also working mothers. This statistic allowed them to strike a chord with new programs for mothers and mothers-to-be.

To help this large demographic manage its dual responsibilities, Children’s Healthcare hosts six “Great Expectations" baby showers a year, with a typical attendance of 25 to 40 expectant moms and dads at each shower. It is a chance for Children’s Healthcare to showcase the high level of support offered to expectant parents. The agenda includes speakers from the employee wellness team and the benefits department. 

The wellness team focuses on breastfeeding support and provides a free pump kit upon a new mom’s return to work. Mothers can use the kit with the hospital-grade pumps located in the on-site Mothers Rooms at each campus. 

The benefits team reviews the maternity benefits package — which includes checklists on what expectant parents need to do before they go on leave, when they return to work, and everything in between. 

The company also supports working moms with on-site concierge service, fitness classes and health coach consultations, free counseling, a working moms’ support group, and back-up care and nanny access. All employees receive 80 hours a year of back-up care support, and new parents receive 160 hours. The team showcases the company’s Children’s Baby Steps hub — a one-stop shop for new parents located on the organization’s intranet.  

These programs solve real needs for a specific demographic of the workforce and drive measurable results for the company. About 30 percent more women returned to work following their leave after these programs were put in place. Why? These new moms were better informed about their options and knew they would be well-supported upon their return to work.

Would this program have the same impact at a male-dominated company? Probably not. That’s why data is so important in the development of new people practices. Join us at the 2020 Great Place to Work For All Summit in March to learn how you can use people data to drive your business forward.