Can Data Identify Best Company Culture Practices?

Sarah Malcolm
What’s more trendy in the business world than big data and predictive analytics? Marketing, utilities, property management,market trends--if they can use big data, why not human resources? After all,creating the right corporate culture makes cents. No, literally: having a strong, thriving company culture increases your productivity, and that ups the bottom line.

What’s more trendy in the business world than big data and predictive analytics? Marketing, utilities, property management, market trends--if they can use big data, why not human resources? After all, creating the right corporate culture makes cents. No, literally: having a strong, thriving company culture increases your productivity, and that ups the bottom line.

In looking deeper at data and company culture, we found some interesting insights about how people are using data to figure out the best culture for businesses.

MIT’s Sloan Review published insights about company culture in leading brands. They found 9 out of 10 CEOs and CFOs believe that improving their brand culture would increase the company's value. Another 80%said that culture was among the top five most important factors in evaluating their company.

But culture isn’t as cut-and-dry as running reports on gross revenue, expenses, and return on investment. We’re talking about people, and that means emotions and feelings. So how exactly do you determine your company culture and if it is a good one that delivers higher returns?

The MIT study used employee reviews from Glassdoor, one of the largest recruiting websites in the world. They wrote an artificial intelligence program (of course) and applied natural language processing to find trends in how employees talked about their companies. The program crunched 1.2 million reviews.

They also analyzed the values companies claimed to hold to create a “big nine,” or the top nine cultural values appearing most frequently. They then cross-referenced the employee reviews, the values, and overall measurement of the companies. What did they find?

“Nearly all employees — 93% by our analysis —discuss some element of culture in their reviews, and 41% discuss one or more of the Big Nine values.”

These big nine items? Agility, collaboration,customer, diversity, execution, innovation, integrity, performance, and respect.

So how do you know where your brand stacks in these areas? You could read the Glass door reviews about your company, but depending on your size, the number of reviews, and their date, that information may not be relevant to you at this time.

Well, tech providers are working in the human resources niche to use predictive analytics to figure out how to effectively shape and organizational culture. A few examples of these are Icosystem, Ultimate Software, HappyOffice, and Microsoft’s Workplace Analytics.

These predictive programs can forecast individual employee performance, predict the likelihood of someone leaving the company, and even model what would happen when changing policies and procedures.

The point of using these tools is to take the“feeling” part out of making company culture decisions. They aim to give evidence when executives are weighing suggestions on how to change an organization’s culture. With these tools, leaders can bring the work place culture in line with the company mission.

Culture is something hard to measure, but I think these insights and service providers give leaders a good place to start.Take MIT’s “Big Nine” and find ways to discuss the culture within your organization. Run anonymous surveys, look at outside reviews, and analyze policies and procedures. With data, we can move closer to the company we want to be.

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