HR Analytics: Mining Your Engagement Data



The Question All Clients Ask

Some time ago, when David first began surveying workers to see how they viewed the organizations where they worked, their boss, communications, pay….all the things which are present in the workplace, he found that clients would look at the data which was delivered back to them, question by question,  and ask a simple question:

“This is all very interesting but quite complicated;  can you tell me in general how our people are doing?”

This sounds like a simple question and it is certainly a powerful one, but it was one which was unanswerable with the tools available at that time.  No spreadsheet or other software could be quickly set up to do the extensive analysis which would provide the answer to that question.

The Software Solution:  In*Sight

David set out to develop a program which could provide an answer and after several years of development, In*Sight was born.  Running on the well established dBase platform, it sorted through the vast amounts of data produced by a survey and delivered exactly what the clients wanted:  a single score, or engagement index, for any group in the organization, compared to any other internal benchmark group.   Given some of the large clients with whom David was working, with up to 60,000 employees, the analysis time could be lengthy:  up to 24 hours.  Years later, In*Sight can slice through a 12,000 person database of engagement scores with a questionnaire as long as 110+ questions and many demographic items, and can produce a result in less than one minute.

The Power of Internal Benchmarking

Many engagement consultants use external benchmarks to compare to their clients’ results.  External benchmarks of engagement scores have been shown to be extremely unreliable, as David’s own research has shown, disagreeing with each other even for the same country, the same industry, on the same questions and in the same time period.   Besides no consultant would typically have all one’s competitors’ data, that would be spread across many firms and be unavailable in one place.

Instead of comparing your organization to others which may not even be in your industry or be a direct competitor, and certainly might have a very different culture than you do, why not use internal ranking to make comparisons inside your own culture? You will find the high engagement groups which had previously gone hidden, your own engagement “champions” from which others can learn.

With internal benchmarking, any one group can be compared to its peers in the same company, or to the whole organization.  Managers in the south of England can be compared to all UK managers in your organization, for example.  Sales teams can be compared to all sales teams organization-wide or to regional teams.  The possibilities are endless.

Sample Output: Work Groups Compared to Internal Benchmarks on Engagement

Here is what In*Sight produces, using data from an actual client.  The charts show:  1)  Individual production plant worker engagement levels compared to all production plants worldwide;  and 2) Sales representative engagement levels by sales territory compared to all sales representatives worldwide.  Note that the benchmark, whether total production plants or total sales representatives, is set at zero by the program.






 Note the following:

  • The variability of engagement scores across different plants or sales territories.  This is one of the things which clients notice right away:  their engagement levels are far from standard across all units.
  • The ranking this produces is not forced, i.e. each unit is placed where it is based on its actual data in comparison to its benchmark, not a statistical manipulation which forces a certain percentage to be in each level.
  • In*Sight allows you to identify not only high engagement groups within your organization, but also high performance managers whose teams score well above average on engagement.  Learn internal “best practices”, not from a book but from your own, clearly identified engagement champions working inside your own culture.  No book can provide such precisely targeted advice.
  • In addition to mining the engagement data, In*Sight gives you a starting point with which to compare, for example, engagement levels and customer satisfaction levels for the same units.  See how engagement of your people affects your customers, among the most powerful data an organization can have.
  • You do not have to be a big organization to benefit from In*Sight:  small rural hospitals have used it to rank departments within the hospital and compare them on engagement.  Small hospital systems have used the software to clearly identify high and low employee engagement ER departments, for example, and used the data so that the former can learn the engagement “best practices” of the latter.

Client Reactions to In*Sight Data

Across many years of consulting, David and his colleagues have found that the In*Sight data are among the most anticipated pieces of information for clients.  Actions have been taken based on this information, and improvements over time shown by comparing such data from one survey to another.

If your organization would benefit from using In*Sight, please contact David.  This powerful tool is available whether or not you use David’s firm RCI as your survey provider, as long as the raw data can be shared in a standard format.