13 02 2013
door Inostix

4 HR Analytics Tips to Extract More Value from your Engagement Survey

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surveyWe have written it before: far too often, HR reports near-meaningless HR metrics such as turnover, absenteeism, training hours, aggregated engagement scores,… At the very best, the results are analyzed per department, but often a survey leads to nothing more than meaningless conclusions such as “Our sick leave rate is down from last year and we are doing very well compared to the benchmark.” Is that really what your CEO wants to know? Only very rarely do they result in truly action-oriented recommendations. This way, HR cannot demonstrate what impact HR investments have on the performance of the organization.

However, HR can expand its potential as a strategic partner given a more intelligent approach connecting HR and business data with the results of the engagement study. Here are a few pieces of advice:

1. Broaden the scope of the engagement survey in order to facilitate linkages

Your CEO needs more than a mere assessment of your fellow workers’ engagement. Devote attention to critical factors within the organization such as hiring procedures, work procedures or informal learning. These are instrumental to your organization’s success, but often neglected in employee surveys. An engagement survey inevitably focuses on only a limited number of dimensions of any organization. You could, for example, use the engagement survey for absenteeism analyses, but you would have to complement the survey with important health dimensions. These are almost always missing from engagement research. In addition, it is important to be attentive to significant determinants (causes) and outcomes (consequences) of absenteeism. These, too, should be taken into account.

2. Link engagement data to HR and business data

Link the broader-scope engagement survey to other data available to HR: sick leave, training, promotion, evaluation, turnover rates, customer satisfaction, sales figures, production figures, etc. This way, you create an action-oriented database for the entire organization. Problems and questions with regard to the guarantee of anonymity can be warded off by leaving the survey, the linkage to other data, and the statistical processing to a third party: an independent research agency.

3. Personalize instead of generalizing and benchmarking

HR analytics looks beyond benchmarks. The results of the employee survey only add value when they are connected to the business outcomes which are essential to your organization. Do not focus too much on general “one size fits all” models, but personalize HR analytics for your company and seek out the aspects of the survey which are the main predictors of success for your company. Only then will you develop fact-based HR strategies.

4. Report through story-telling

Communicate the results effectively and clearly with a good story. Do not overwhelm your CEO with data (read: tables or figures). There is no need to report all of the details of the analyses. Stick to the results and recommendations which are significant for the organization. Split up these recommendations and focus on critical departments and/or target groups (divide into segments!) so that specific HR actions can be implemented in a differentiated fashion.


Ever more possibilities are presenting themselves to open up data within a company in which information about employees can be linked to success factors. If HR aspires to become a significant strategic partner, whilst coming up with advice that is not merely based on intuition and common sense, but on hard facts, these types of HR analytics linkages to engagement surveys are indispensable. Why don’t you spend 3 more minutes and read our ‘most read blog post’: 4 Recommendations for a Better Insight into HR Analytics.

Do you have any more questions about this subject? Don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Jeroen Delmotte, Co-founder and Chief Scientist at iNostix via [email protected] or write your comment, question, or addition at the bottom of the blog.

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iNostix, October 2012

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