When it comes to determining ways to get more value from customers across their full journey, companies rely heavily on insights derived from analyzing data to inform their efforts. But companies are just now beginning to use employee data to find ways to get more value from their employees.

If you want to fully leverage data in your talent strategy, a good first step is to move work out of meetings and emails, docs and spreadsheets, and legacy learning and performance management systems, into apps. When you have more modern employee tools, you collect more useful data to measure the effectiveness of your efforts, predict ways to drive productivity and efficiency, and evolve from traditional HR to a more effective and engaging employee-centered approach to talent.

People analytics is an emerging practice at many companies, and Salesforce is just beginning to realize the potential and results of our first forays into this area, but we are excited about the possibilities and the early results. See “How Salesforce’s CIO Partnered with HR to Transform the Employee Experience.”

Here are three mini case studies to start your wheels turning.


Improve candidate experience.


Competition for talent is fierce, so you need to make sure you’re doing everything possible to provide an exceptional candidate experience. At Salesforce, we survey all candidates on their experience. We ask specific questions that help identify areas where we can improve. Then, we analyze all the data to discover insights into which hiring teams are excelling and which teams are lagging.

Data gathering and analysis is only impactful if you apply what you learn. In this case, the insights allow us to refine our candidate-experience best practices and target our enablement efforts to the teams that need to improve versus making all teams take additional training. This saves precious time that can be reinvested in regular work activities for both the program team that delivers the training and the hiring teams that are already performing well and don’t need it.


Smooth out the onboarding process.


If you look at the onboarding leg of the employee journey, one area that often stands out as a weak point is access to the basic info and help a new hire needs in programs and services from HR, IT, real estate, and finance. Hard-to-navigate intranets and help tickets that take days to resolve result in a bad first impression that dampens new hires’ enthusiasm, impedes their time to productivity, and could ultimately affect how long they stay with the company.

A few years ago, we decided to take action to smooth out the onboarding process. We started with the data. We use Service Cloud for our employee service, so we were able to look at the dashboards to find the top topics of the tickets being filed and questions being asked by new hires. We wanted to determine exactly what info new hires were looking for and when they asked.

We used the insights to develop a predictive and proactive email journey that drips this info out automatically based on start date, delivering the right message at the right time. The results were amazing. We saw an immediate 30% drop in help tickets from new hires. It was a win-win: We were able to decrease the workload of employee service agents and the frustration level of our new hires, allowing them to focus on excelling in their new roles.


Help employees grow in their careers.


On the employee engagement surveys of a lot of companies, including ours, one of the lowest-scoring items is employee understanding of how to grow a career with the company. We take listening and responding to our employees very seriously. So we are now looking to technology and data to help us move the needle on this stubborn item.

We think we’ve found a way to finally provide employees with career help in a highly personalized yet totally scalable way. Because we collaborate socially in Chatter, learn in Trailhead, and have real-time goal attainment and feedback from all directions in our goal setting and feedback apps, our employees are generating a lot of data that reflects their individual skills and interests. Using natural language processing (NLP) techniques and machine-learning algorithms, we are developing ways to utilize this data to:

  • Make suggestions of people in the company that could be a good mentor

  • Serve up learning trails to help them improve performance or prepare for new roles

  • Highlight new job openings inside the company that might be a fit

We’re beginning to pilot these ideas, and look forward to reporting back on results. See how you can build employee apps fast. Download the e-book.


Get started today.


Companies have more data than ever before, but in many cases that resource, and the related insights, are going untapped — even in the customer space, but more often in the employee space. You don’t have to have a team of data scientists to start making smarter talent decisions. You can improve employee experience and engagement using the people and whatever data sources you have – from high-tech machine data to low-tech in-person focus groups.

The way to get started is to prioritize your projects, focus on analysis that has tangible business impact, and align to your people strategy. Our people strategy is centered around the concept of Ohana, so we align our analytics efforts to create the Ohana employee experience.

Companies that grasp the power of people analytics (and get going) could see a significant competitive advantage when it comes to attracting, engaging. and retaining employees.

This is the fourth in a series of five blog posts that look at how Salesforce engages employees and how you can, too. Read post #1, Use Culture + Tech + Data to Deeply Engage Employees, post #2, Turn Your Culture into a Competitive Advantage, and post #3, Wow Employees with Consumer-Like Apps for Work. We hope you’ll join us as we share useful insights and actionable ideas on how we have been able to grow the company rapidly while remaining one of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” nine years running.