Aniline Blog

Employee Sentiment = People Analytics + Workforce Analytics

3 Minute Read

There’s a good reason why we made the title of this blog post a mathematical equation—because employee sentiment can be quantified, and the power that number gives you is very, very big.


Let’s start with the basics, though.

Employee sentiment is the way your employees feel about your organization. All of the reviews you see on platforms like Indeed and Glassdoor are examples of employee sentiment. In them, you get to read the good, the bad, and the ugly, and if you have access to the right analytics platform, you can see how all of those opinions can be turned into a score that can be analyzed and, most importantly, improved.

So how does the rest of the equation fit in?

  • People analytics are a data-driven approach to managing people at work. With them, employers can use statistical insights from employee-related data to make talent decisions, including hiring, compensation, retention, and performance. For example, you might take all of the timesheets for a specific project to see how well your employees collaborated on it. Or, you might look at all of the client renewals one employee generated and decide if they’re worthy of a raise. In the end, people analytics are designed to advance your employees’ success and give you insight into any people-related problems that may exist in your organization.
  • Workforce analytics study the performance of your team as a whole so that you can make smarter business decisions. These analytics go beyond the people themselves and provide insights into your organization’s operations. For example, is the training that your new hires receive as effective and efficient as it should be? Is your annual turnover rate higher than you would like it to be? How diverse is your organization? These analytics can answer all of these questions, and more.

While employee sentiment is relatively new to the HR analytics landscape, people analytics and workforce analytics are not. 

Over a century ago, an industrial engineer named Frederick Taylor studied the movements of his iron workers in an effort to determine how much weight they should be transporting each day. If his workers struggled mightily or got injured, they were carrying too much weight to be successful. But if they moved around with complete ease, they weren’t carrying enough weight to boost the bottom line. Eventually, Taylor was able to calculate an exact weight that each worker could carry to achieve maximum productivity. Taylor’s ideas to optimize industrial efficiency are still studied today, and they’re a prime example of people analytics in action.

More recently, Google leveraged people analytics to determine if managers were actually needed at the tech giant—and if so, which personality traits made them most successful. In a multiyear research initiative called “Project Oxygen”, Google determined that yes, managers were a vital part of the team, and after studying metrics related to performance, retention, job satisfaction, and management quality, Google discovered that there are 8 specific qualities that make their managers more likely to succeed. As a result, Project Oxygen has transformed the way that Google hires and empowers its managers.

During World War II, the armed forces used workforce analytics to maximize their limited supply of soldiers and resources. In the decades since, workforce analytics experts have said that part of an organization’s competitive advantage lies in how it differentiates its workforce. In other words, by investing the most money into the areas that create the most value, an organization can reap financial benefits that are just as high as the revenue generated by product sales. 

Now that you know exactly how people analytics and workforce analytics can impact your organization, let’s talk about what happens when you combine the two. As the title of this blog post says, when you add the insights from people analytics to the insights from workforce analytics, you can generate an employee sentiment analysis.

In today’s social media-driven, always-connected world, employee sentiment is the most important set of analytics that organizations can tap into. After all, if your employees are miserable, there’s no shortage of places for them to vent their feelings. And when they vent those feelings, it’s typically a combination of issues that could be spotted in a people analysis and in a workforce analysis. 

For example, an employee may hate the decisions you’ve made about how his career will advance in your organization, like decisions about his compensation or promotions he missed out on. However, he may also hate the decisions you’ve made for the organization as whole, like the new bonus structure that’s harder to attain or the new vacation policy that makes it harder to take time off.

During an employee sentiment analysis, all of that unstructured venting can be turned into quantifiable data and actionable insights. Then, you can break down your organization’s sentiment into a variety of categories—including compensation, benefits, leadership, diversity & inclusion, hiring experience, and more. Once you know where you stand, you can benchmark your organization against your competitors. And finally, you can create a roadmap to a company culture that valuable employees want to be a part of.

Kevin Gregson

Kevin Gregson

A consulting industry veteran, technology entrepreneur, and insurance industry innovator, Kevin formed Aniline while working on the insurance vertical of Plug and Play, a technology incubator in the Silicon Valley. His vision for Aniline is based on applying the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning to help organizations improve the lives of their people. Also a senior advisor to Plug and Play and a board member of Nassau Insurance Group, his past roles include senior executive positions at Willis Towers Watson, Alvarez & Marsal, and Ernst & Young.