Replace Intuition with Data Driven Visualization and Insight 

A Fortune 100 global firm wanted to develop a new approach for their employee engagement surveys. The company survey process was sporadic, traditionally using a “one-off” approach, which did not allow year-over-year comparison. Surveys were  performed on an ad hoc basis. No standards across surveys were used so there was no “single version of truth” and thus, no accurate or consistent measure of the company’s employee engagement or the engagement drivers across business unit. Consistent execution and the right analytical tools were needed in the right people’s hands to interpret this data across every level of the organization. 

With a new global leader coming aboard in Human Resources, there was pressure to improve the engagement survey process. The new leader set a goal for the company to become one of the Best Places to Work and set new best-in-class objectives for the North American division and employee engagement was key.

Previously, the results of the engagement surveys were analyzed on single question results  plus a selective use of some of the more interesting comments made by employees.  Rather than representing comprehensive data driven trends, layering in employee comments as facts had distorted the survey results. Questions on the survey differed from one year to the next, and were inconsistent between divisions, so Human Resources (“HR”) could not develop any consistent trends with the information or defend or eliminate existing initiatives. 

For example, length of service was measured in a variety of ways – some divisions used a 1-3 year measure, others used a 0-2 year measurement. 

Acumen suggested using a scoring system that would group questions into categories that reinforced consistency and accuracy and made clear the drivers to engagement Previously, the survey questions were not tied to existing HR initiatives, and were clearly missing opportunities for the company to link survey results to existing initiatives or develop new programs to address employee problems identified in the engagement survey results.

Acumen Analytics saw that the first step was to clarify the top company initiatives that would most likely lead to a “best place to work” designation for the company, as indicated by the new leadership team, and tie those initiatives into the survey. During several meetings with HR, Acumen asked “What do you want to know?” or “What do you need to know?” Redefining and clarifying the company’s categories of engagement was the first step. For example, demographic survey questions were included for the first time, to be used for both compliance and diversity analysis. Finally, overall categories of engagement were defined as job satisfaction, teamwork, clearly defined work roles, and managerial vision

Data Scientists Reassemble the Survey
Next, Acumen Analytics’ data analysts re-assembled an entirely new engagement survey which encompassed the information into a coherent, streamlined, repeatable set of survey questions that connected with the initiatives. In short, Acumen Analytics standardized the information collection process and ensured that the questions were asked in a consistent manner, across all divisions of the North American operation.

Acumen Analytics programmers incorporated data from several existing systems to produce the final product.  Data repositories were built, utilizing state-of-the-art technologies which allowed for secure, web-based interactive access to the clean, distilled data. This meant that surveys could be consistently administered, every year, across all offices in the nearly 200,000 employee company.

This involved a fairly compact set of intense meetings to vet the new survey questions. Together with the client, the Acumen Analytics team spent significant time discussing whether various questions were structured to yield repeatable, trend-based information.


Heat Map

Visual Accessibility
One of the most appreciated aspects of the project was the visual and accessible display of the information, implemented using data visualization tools provided by Acumen Analytics.  This final solution was designed with easy-to-understand visuals, giving transparency to different levels of the organization, via password protected site entry. Only those authorized to see the data at various levels were enabled, but more levels of the organization have access to data and trends than the previous survey had allowed.

Results could be analyzed in many new and different ways. Division heads or HR could literally “see” where problems were cropping up. For example, a small local office showed a very low engagement score of 38.4% overall, which appeared in red on the “heat map” visual, allowed the division heads to drill down into the data for that particular office, with literally a finger’s touch. Trends for more positive office results were analyzed and discussed for opportunities to engage other offices more effectively.

Acumen Analytics showed this Fortune 100 client how to replace intuition with data driven insight. This client went from using “one-off” surveys to making operational improvements based on surveys that are truly representative of their employee population. The new Global Head of HR is now able to access an actual engagement score (89%, 72%, 38%, etc.) for each division, office and for the company, globally.

Acumen Analytics customized data visualizations for the key areas of focus so that, now, human resources can work directly with the business units, (no consultants required!) using interactive data visualizations. There is quick identification of areas of needed improvement – for any location or level of the organization. The granularity available is considered an astonishing advance for the organization, and the HR division has received excellent feedback from C-suite leadership.

In addition, the new granularity and intuitively visualized data, allowed the company to look for correlations – the “whys?” behind the information. For example, was poor retention rates at one division due to cultural issues, gender issues, or a U.S. versus European disconnect? Could high turnover be tied to a labor/union issue? Did surveys that indicated lower engagement also correlate with other issues such as high workers compensation claims, high absenteeism, EEOC claims, disability claims? Most importantly, the company is now well positioned to implement, measure and satisfy their Best Place to Work objectives.


Replace Intuition  with Data Driven  Visualization  and Insight

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