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Human Capital Management

Employees in the Clickstream

What HR leaders can learn from the analytics best practices of e-commerce

by Bertrand Dussert

February 2015

Imagine you’ve just rolled out a new employee portal designed to help your workforce manage their careers. You’re measuring click rates, so you know that 80 percent of the workforce viewed the portal in its first two weeks. Time to pat yourself on the back for another successful HR initiative?

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Not so fast.

If you’re only capturing high-level traffic patterns, you wouldn’t know that no more than about 10 percent of your top performers and potential future leaders went beyond the portal’s splash screen. The rest dropped off for reasons you can only guess at: perhaps the portal didn’t offer resources that this important group values, or the login process was too complicated. Or maybe communications about features and benefits didn’t resonate with high achievers.

Getting to the heart of these issues will help data-driven chief human resources officers (CHROs) fulfill their mission as strategic business leaders in the modern enterprise.

What’s the Secret?

Something I call “triangulated clickstream analytics,” which merges streams of traditionally disparate data to give executives clear insights into what employees are saying about new initiatives and how these changes influence behavior among various striations of the workforce.

The process starts with traditional clickstream analysis, the process that web retailers and others use to see who went to which web pages and what they clicked on after they arrived. Gathered to maintain the anonymity of individuals, this clickstream analysis can give HR leaders insight into how employees are reacting to the new resource. It’s like hearing the watercooler conversations of tens of thousands of workers.

By better segmenting the population and understanding what drives each group’s behaviors, CHROs will learn how frequently to communicate and what style of communication works best for each employee category.”

Step 2 in the triangulation strategy adds even more value. Workers would likely log in to HR systems via single-sign-on (SSO) authentication. This typically uses an employee ID that is also the master key to the organization’s main HR system. Again, data collected from the SSO platform must be aggregated to protect individual confidentiality. But analyzing the profile data of those logging in opens a window into the traffic to our hypothetical portal. It allows us to understand traffic according to the performance ratings of respondents, the distribution of use among top performers and those in less vital positions, regional and departmental characteristics, and a host of other demographic data.

Step 3: A Game Changer

CHROs can use analytics to develop a deep understanding of employee sentiment and behavior. For example, in addition to finding that only 10 percent of the top performers registered with the career site, CHROs may discover especially low adoption rates among all-stars who have been at the company between three and five years. That’s alarming because this is a time frame in which achievers may start to look elsewhere for employment. If these employees are ignoring a portal designed to help them advance their careers, intervention becomes a high priority. CHROs probably wouldn’t know this unless they are connecting the dots.

By better segmenting the population and understanding what drives each group’s behaviors, CHROs will learn how frequently to communicate and what style of communication works best for each employee category. Leaders will also have the tools to ensure that internal change programs resonate with the right groups in the right ways at the right times—and that’s a strategic advantage that every organization needs.

Photography by Shutterstock