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Data Analytics

People Analytics With Chris Hood, Natalie Piucco, and Mary Kate Stimmler

By Stephen C2C | November 22, 2021

That Digital Show's Digital Master Class Series continues this week with a breakdown of the "People Analytics" approach to employee data collection. Mary Kate Stimmler of the Google Cloud People Analytics team joins hosts Chris Hood and Natalie Piucco to describe how Google's HR department uses People Analytics to collect dynamic and actionable data on employee experiences. What is People Analytics? According to Stimmler, it's a combination of social science methodologies, statistics, data, and organizational theory that HR departments can use to inform decisions that transform company culture.

As Piucco points out early in the episode, collecting data on company employees is common practice for HR departments. Google's People Analytics team solicits feedback about every aspect of the employee lifestyle, from the interview process to new hire onboarding to reflections upon departure. The main tool Google uses to collect all this data is Googlegeist, the company's annual employee survey, a massive data collection instrument designed to gather insights on all of the above and more.

What has the People Analytics approach revealed about Google's employee experience? The main driver of positive team sentiment, Stimmler says, is psychological safety. When managers give their teams space to experiment and make mistakes by offering non-punitive feedback, employees are more likely to keep and succeed in their jobs. Fostering psychological safety falls primarily to managers. As Stimmler puts it, "People don't leave companies, people leave managers." When managers practice active and visible leadership, these insights are put to productive use.

This year, the People Analytics team has been using Googlegeist to guide decisions about returning to work. The survey collected data on 25 different aspects of the employee experience, including ideal working scenarios for heads-down work, collaboration, and brainstorming. Stimmler was baffled to find that responses were "very neutral." Workplace preferences, she learned, comprise a very grey area. Despite the diffuse nature of these responses, Googlegeist's rate of response is very high, which Stimmler attributes to a stated commitment to acting on gathered data.

At the end of the show, Hood asked Stimmler for three main points listeners should take away from the conversation. The three she stressed were relationships, feedback, and data.

How does your organization take feedback from employees? Does your company share the same priorities? Do you think they should? Come to our follow-up event with Chris Hood on Thursday, November 4 to share your thoughts and questions. Sign up below!


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