Backstage with Beth Giglio: Q&A with a 2018 Workforce Planning Conference Keynote Speaker

January 9, 2018 | Holly Pennebaker | HCI
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In today’s data-driven business world, it’s no longer sufficient to make critical talent decisions based solely on intuition. In order to drive the business forward, effective talent strategy must be evidence-based and actionable.

Coming up in late February, HCI’s 2018 Workforce Planning & People Analytics Conference will bring together HR experts who know the value of strategic workforce planning and actionable analytics. One of those experts is Beth Giglio, Senior VP of Human Resources at 84.51°. Working closely with the 84.51° executive team and the Kroger Company HR leadership team, Beth oversees all organizational human resource functions, including people management, benefits, change management best practices, recruiting, learning and development, retention strategies, and people analytics.

Beth will be presenting “Measuring and Responding to Real Time Employee Sentiment” at HCI’s 2018 Workforce Planning event, and we caught up with her for a quick Q&A to learn a little more about what that means at 84.51°.

How does 84.51°—a data, science, and customer experience company—apply its customer behavior expertise onto understanding employee behavior?

BETH: The answer to that question starts with what 84.51° actually does. As an organization, we seek to understand customer behavior and use those insights to inform improvements in customer experience for our consumer-packaged goods clients and our parent company, Kroger.

With that as our DNA, we started to look at our own employee behavior. Like other companies would, we used focus groups and data collection devices like surveys.

But the difference for us was we used our primary research team and our analysts that work with customer behavior data to help define and design those survey instruments and focus groups and ultimately synthesize the insights. We also put in a monitoring mechanism to measure employee sentiment weekly, much like we monitor customer satisfaction across many dimensions with our Kroger customers.

Over time, what have you learned about your employees since you started measuring your employee sentiment in 2015?

BETH: The frequent feedback is calibrated, summarized, and provided to our executive team as well our culture team with recommendations on how to address that feedback. We seek to understand what the sentiment is telling us, evaluate how the sentiment is changing over time, and then identify ways to really respond to that feedback, but in a more timely manner than typical annual engagement surveys do.

We've learned a few things. The first one is, we essentially now have a control chart now of two years' worth of data. We don't typically see dramatic shifts in sentiment. It stays pretty normal, if you will, within our control chart. But we will see spikes on occasion. We can discern that those will be related to events, like during bonus time and we've had a great year and people are really excited. Or the opposite could also happen, maybe in situations of not so great news, like a benefit change that people didn't like. We’ll see a spike down.

These fluctuations can suggest that perhaps we didn't do an effective job communicating a change in the organization. Because we measure frequently, we see that decline almost instantly in the data. That gives us the ability to quickly address those issues. That's probably one of the most powerful aspects of this measurement process—we can see it, we can respond to it, and then see whether our response actually helps.

How has the measurement of employee sentiment changed HR processes?

BETH: When we started, I don't know that we had an expectation of what would change. But we’re certainly more effective as an HR function because of this tool. For example, our HR business partners can see data quickly and use it to grow and coach leaders. We can also now tell a more holistic story between our annual engagement surveys with this weekly pulse data. We’re not as surprised by what’s going on, and we can react to it in on a more ongoing basis. Lastly, we are seeing changes in how we’re doing things day to day. When we work with leaders, we prepare differently for organizational communications. We know what works and doesn’t work, because of the always-on feedback.

For more insights from Beth, join us in Miami for the 2018 Workforce Planning & People Analytics Conference where Beth will share more about the future of people analytics at 84.51°.