Service organization faced high employee turnover among its front-line workforce segments. Yet a centerpiece of the business strategy was to build more solution-based offerings. This required a committed, customer-driven and multi-skilled workforce which is difficult to build and maintain in a high-turnover environment. Direct costs of turnover, from hiring to on-boarding to training, had to be cut to improve profitability. Another focus area was wellness, and in particular absenteeism. OnWork teamed with the organization’s HR leadership to better understand employee retention and wellness, and drive data-driven decision making in the people domain.
Advanced analytics was front and center. We started the journey by identifying relevant internal and external data sources. Key pieces were people and wellness data, with long enough history to robustly track careers as they unfolded. Another input was local labor market and economic data which were acquired from various external sources. Data processing by OnWork turned these into an analyzable, longitudinal dataset. We statistically modeled two employee outcomes: voluntary turnover and absenteeism. Through a root cause analysis, we made predictions how e.g. demographics, supervisor attributes, team diversity, unemployment and many other factors impacted the outcomes – invaluable insights for strategic-tactical people decision making. Further deep dives enabled us to identify at-risk groups where targeted, more operational actions might be needed. In short, the insights could be leveraged across the organization, not only at the top.
Through meetings with HR leaders and the management team, we were able to develop a shared understanding of key retention and wellness insights. The sharp comments helped us further improve statistical models, test specific hypotheses and conduct what-if scenarios. By showing the radical steps major U.S. retail and service organizations have taken to manage retention – e.g. very large wage increases for front-line employees – we triggered true out-of-the-box thinking among management. This laid out a solid foundation for action planning. In short, the mix of hard evidence and select industry insights sparked a candid dialog, and helped the organization move one step closer to true data-driven people decision making.