We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again — your people are your business. Even with a strong product or a recognizable brand, your business won’t get far without the right employees to keep it running and in demand. Engaged employees drive profitability and growth, which is why businesses place so much importance on performance.

But performance depends on many factors, and good performance management is about understanding possible roadblocks to success and addressing them proactively. Here are some in-depth strategies to boost employee performance.

Defining Employee Performance

Employees want to be good at their jobs. Managers want to build powerful teams. And HR teams want to drive business results. To do this, there needs to be a clear understanding of what success looks like at all levels within the organization.

Employee performance is defined by how well an employee executes responsibilities and contributes as a team member. Strong performance can offer great value to businesses by driving quality and efficiency while delivering an improved customer experience

Performance vs. Productivity

When defining employee performance, it’s important to note the distinction between performance and productivity. Productivity is relatively easy to measure — you can assess the productivity of your employees based on the number of goals they meet, as well as how much time and effort is spent on accomplishing them. The thought process here is results-driven, so there is little room for interpretation or subjectivity.

Performance, on the other hand, is not binary — meaning that it can’t be boiled down to a simple “good” or “bad.” In reality, performance encompasses many aspects of an employee’s work. Some employees enrich the development of their coworkers. Others exhibit technical savvy in specialized areas or drive valuable cultural initiatives. These qualities may not translate into numerical performance metrics, but they contribute to the success and growth of your organization and should still be recognized.

Data from Gallup shows that employees are 56% less likely to look for other job opportunities when they feel they receive the right amount of recognition for the work they are doing.

Factors That Affect Employee Performance

With so much of the employee experience hidden beneath the surface, it’s unwise to make assumptions about what’s causing someone to underperform in certain areas. The best way to avoid this is to rely on employee performance and engagement data to gain an understanding of the root causes of performance issues.

Some common factors that affect employee performance include:

1. Skill Gaps

This one might seem obvious, but employee skill gaps are a common underlier in performance issues that can take a while to recognize. Even experienced employees will run into situations where they are not equipped with the right knowledge or skill set to perform successfully. In these situations, rather than blaming workers for lacking skills, businesses and managers should focus on identifying and bridging the skill gap, either by providing additional employee training or seeking outside help.

Of course, it’s important for employees to have the right technical skills for their respective roles, but it’s equally important to acknowledge proficiency in soft skills, like negotiating or public speaking. A new manager, for example, may be fully caught up in technical certifications but require some training on leadership and management. Addressing this gap in job competencies is imperative for teams to be successful.

2. Unclear Goals and Responsibilities

If your employees are confused about team and business goals, their performance will inevitably suffer from a lack of focus and direction. When your team members are fixated on individual tasks and deliverables, they miss out on the bigger picture of their role in your organization and are less likely to exceed expectations. Likewise, if your company’s goals are unrealistic, your employees will experience burnout, and their performance will suffer as a result.

Goals that are specific and measurable lead to higher performance compared to goals that are vague and undefined. If your employees seem stuck in the mentality of checking items off a list, maybe it’s time to review your goals for clarity and direction.

3. Inefficient Workflows and Processes

Sloppy workflows are a major drain on your employees’ productivity. If your processes are inefficient or fragmented, they’re likely hindering your team members from accomplishing their goals. A Nintex survey of 1,000 US employees across various industries showed that 39% of workers think document management processes at their company are broken, and 55% of new hires feel that they lack access to the tools they need during onboarding. That’s a big portion of the workforce who feels unable to perform at their best due to process-related issues.

If you’re unsure whether workflows at your company are enabling or hindering your employees, you can spend some time thinking about how accessible knowledge and information are across your organization. Is there transparency on processes for different departments? Do all decisions need to be approved by one stakeholder? Don’t get complacent — remember to continue evolving these processes over time as business realities and needs change.

4. Physical and Mental Health

We’re more likely to make mistakes and underperform when we’re stressed out or overwhelmed. Even the best workers get sick and need to take breaks in order to continue performing at the expected level. Businesses need to remember that employees are human, and expecting them to be unphased by changes in physical or mental well-being is unreasonable. Having a holistic view of the employee experience can help businesses create a workplace culture that promotes healthy behaviors and expectations.

The Importance of Measuring Employee Performance

When it comes to improving performance, the more you know, the better. Measuring employees’ performance is crucial for understanding how well your company culture, processes, and goals are translating into action. The following are among the many reasons it pays off to keep track of employee performance:

1. Driving Profitability

The insights you get from monitoring employee performance can help inform decisions that drive ROI or profit for your business. A great example of this is the rise in remote and hybrid workforces. According to Owl Labs’ State of Remote Work 2021 report, 90% of employees who worked from home during the pandemic reported that they were equally or more productive when working remotely as they were while working in an office.

As a result, a growing number of organizations feel comfortable allowing flexible or remote work options and rethinking their office structure. Decentralizing the workforce allows organizations to save considerably on overhead costs and positively impacts overall profit margins.

2. Identifying High-Performers

Measuring individual performance helps businesses identify and nurture their best talent. Companies that keep track of performance indicators, like efficiency, reliability, and collaboration, are better equipped to provide fair compensation and recognition to their employees. They’re also more likely to develop high performers into future leaders and make sure employees who are struggling with meeting expectations get the support they need. Recognizing a job well done can also help with retention. Data from Gallup shows that employees are 56% less likely to look for other job opportunities when they feel they receive the right amount of recognition for the work they are doing.

3. Uncovering Workflow Issues

We’ve touched on how ineffective workflows can lead to poor performance, which brings us to another advantage of measuring performance. If employees are spending a disproportionate amount of time on simple tasks or struggling to provide customers with a certain level of care, tracking performance is the first step to understanding what is causing them to fall short of expectations.

Workflow issues can look different across teams. For some, it might be a bottleneck caused by a shortage of resources. For others, it could be an unclear division of responsibilities. In most cases, workflow issues are not easily apparent and require insights that can only be gained from consistent performance measurement.

How to Measure Performance

Given how important measuring performance is for businesses, it’s no wonder organizations are constantly pursuing better ways to evaluate employee performance. There is no single “correct” way to measure performance, and deciding which one is best for your team depends on a variety of factors, including size, industry, department function, and product or service type. A few common criteria for evaluating performance are:

  • Efficacy: To what extent does an employee deliver on expectations? Do they bring in a certain number of leads or save a significant amount on costs?
  • Efficiency: How much time and resources does an employee need to meet goals? Can they accomplish more or fewer tasks than the average employee in a given period?
  • Quality: How well does an employee’s output compare to the output of their peers and teammates? Does the employee improve upon quality standards or require excessive quality control?
  • Reliability: Can team members trust this employee to follow through on promises? Is this person mindful of deadlines and dependencies?
  • Sufficiency: Does this employee require hands-on management to complete tasks? Do they demonstrate a willingness to learn new skills and take on new responsibilities?

Measuring performance effectively is all about asking the right questions. But performance measurement is only part of the equation. Businesses are quickly embracing the idea of performance management, which focuses on turning employee performance measurements into actionable performance improvements.

How to Improve Performance

Improving performance doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money or completely revamping your company processes. There are a few basic principles that can be used to level up your performance management practices.

6 Tips for Managers

  1. Match tasks to skills: Set your employees up for success by giving them responsibilities that play to their strengths. If your employees are lacking the skills needed to perform certain tasks, ramp them up with achievable incremental assignments that will help them develop and take ownership in necessary areas. It’s okay to challenge your employees as long as you’re realistic and mindful of their bandwidth.
  2. Provide clear goals: Instead of assuming that your expectations are obvious, lay them out clearly for your team: What is the anticipated timeline? How should a certain project be prioritized in relation to others? How often would you like to be updated? What benchmarks will be used to measure progress? Make sure that your performance goals are within the control of your direct reports and linked to larger business objectives. When in doubt, set goals by using OKRs or the SMART goal framework.
  3. Don’t micromanage: Maintaining a healthy management style is a valuable lesson for every manager to learn. Micromanagement can negatively impact performance by creating bottlenecks and stifling creativity. On the other hand, thoroughly explaining deadlines and dependencies can boost employees’ sense of purpose and encourage them to perform better. Get comfortable with delegating and sitting out on meetings, and don’t obsess over the details of how things get accomplished — you’ll be surprised to see how your team steps up to new opportunities.
  4. Celebrate success: Acknowledging excellent performance doesn’t just motivate high performers, it also demonstrates to others the kind of work that is valued and encouraged on your team. Actively recognizing accomplishments creates a work environment where growth and hard work are rewarded. This provides an incentive for employees to improve their performance.
  1. Communicate effectively: Taking the time to establish communication norms can help your team collaborate easily, answer questions quickly, and share feedback productively. For example, some teams prefer to use specific channels for different types of communication. Effective communication at your organization might mean using emails for lengthy discussions, Slack messages for quick updates, and video conferencing for meetings and discussions. Other teams aim to cut out excess meetings and maximize necessary ones by creating meeting agendas, inviting only necessary employees, and ending with clear action items.
  2. Model healthy behavior: It’s in every manager’s best interest to make sure their teams are following healthy practices that support better performance. The best way to do this is to model positive behavior for your employees. Exhibit work-life balance by refraining from after-hours communications. Participate wholeheartedly in wellness programs. Encourage “do-not-disturb” blocks for deep work, and provide the option for mental health days. Your employees can’t deliver results when they’re fighting burnout, so show them why taking care of yourself matters.

6 Tips for HR leaders

  1. Engage your workforce: Lack of employee engagement can lead to chronic underperformance and high turnover, which can negatively impact your business’s bottom line. Engaged employees, on the other hand, are passionate about their work and are actually more productive than their disengaged counterparts. Some things to consider about your company’s employee engagement efforts are: How closely does your leadership interact with the rest of your workforce? Do you hold regular all-hands check-ins and give employees the opportunity to ask questions? Are teams aware of major milestones in other departments? Consider running regular pulse surveys to learn about pain points and suggestions for improving employee performance.
  2. Invest in learning and development: As employees progress in their careers, they will need to refresh their skills and knowledge. Businesses can overcome skill gaps by allocating budget for workshops, certifications, courses, and conferences that provide training for both hard and soft skills, and by allowing employees to focus on professional development during working hours. Giving your employees the chance to upgrade their skills is not only a great way to build engagement and confidence, but it’s also a great strategy for improving long-term performance and productivity.
  3. Update your review process: If your company is serious about improving employee performance, it needs to build a consistent and reliable review process that goes beyond the superficial level of traditional annual reviews. Many companies have adopted the 360 performance review model, in which employees are evaluated by themselves, their peers, and their managers. This method provides a balanced view of an individual’s performance that considers behaviors and competencies in addition to goals and results. 360 reviews work best when combined with a culture of ongoing feedback that encourages employees to voice their ideas, opinions, and appreciation for colleagues in real time, outside of regular review cycles.
  4. Prioritize employee morale: If you’re experiencing employee performance issues across your organization, it might be worth re-examining your workforce’s overall job satisfaction. Does your business offer competitive benefits, salaries, and perks? Are your company’s mission and values present in employees’ day-to-day work? Do you need to provide more incentives to boost performance? Run a market analysis to see how your employer brand compares to competitors, or have your employees fill out an anonymous survey. Some companies have successfully implemented PTO, rewards, and wellness programs — which have been shown to improve productivity for 66% of businesses.
  5. Improve your onboarding program: An onboarding program is only successful if it equips new employees with everything they need to be a productive part of your organization. To ensure this, share goals and expectations early on, and educate new hires on company, team, and individual key performance indicators (KPIs). It’s also a good idea to discuss potential growth and advancement opportunities within the organization, so new employees can enter their roles with a focus on long-term performance goals. Lastly, consider implementing mentoring or buddy programs for new hires. A Microsoft study found that buddy programs led to a 36% increase in new hires’ satisfaction with their onboarding experience.
  6. Use the right tools: For HR teams, improving performance is about driving business results. Communication platforms, project management software, and file storage and sharing programs are all different types of tools that can help teams scale and workers save time. Automation can help streamline workflows for 45% of employee activities, and HR tech can provide analytics and insights for employees to monitor their own performance over time. But just because a solution works for another organization doesn’t mean that it’s the right fit for yours. Focus on finding the best tool (or tools) for the size of your organization and the problems it’s facing.

There’s no quick fix for improving employee performance. But investing in performance management isn’t just a best practice, it’s a prerequisite for business success. Lattice’s HR software empowers your team to share feedback, set and track goals, manage performance reviews, and more — helping you make a return on that investment even sooner.

An independent study by Forrester Consulting found that Lattice’s software had a three-month payback period and delivered a 195% return on investment. To see Lattice’s platform in action, schedule a demo today.

As we close out 2022, a year where we’ve adjusted to hybrid workplaces as the new norm, tried to understand quiet quitting, navigated ongoing inflation and economic uncertainty, and faced increasing demands for compensation and employee engagement, it’s time to look ahead to see what the next year will hold for organizations and HR teams.

1. HR will have to bridge the divide. 

Companies are going to over-index on performance — and risk damaging the employee experience.

We are still dealing with a global pandemic, and on top of that, we now also have inflation and economic uncertainty to contend with. As businesses look for ways to cut costs and increase productivity, organizations have tried various tactics to get more out of their current workforce, including requiring employees to return to the office at least a few days a week or using surveillance software to track employees.

Increasing productivity is easier said than done. Gallup found that highly engaged teams are 18% more productive and 23% more profitable than low engagement teams. However, only 21% of employees are engaged at work globally, with workers in the US and Canada slightly higher at 33%, meaning the majority of employees worldwide are disengaged. Low engagement teams have 18% to 43% higher turnover rates than highly engaged teams, which is costly to the bottom line.

Disengaged employees are leaving companies, but the reasons why they’re leaving and the reasons that executives believe they’re leaving are mismatched. Executives attribute attrition to transactional elements — compensation, poor health, and employees looking for a better job. Meanwhile, employees have reevaluated what they want in a job in the last few years, and it now takes more than money to retain top talent. A Lattice survey of 2,000 US and European employees showed that younger workers are looking for a place to belong. Work flexibility has also risen in importance: Recent Lattice research showed that 59% of Gen Z and millennial employees would consider walking out of a job over a company’s remote work policy. Plus, in light of layoffs and cost-cutting efforts, employees are being asked to do more with less, which is a surefire recipe for burnout.

HR teams have the difficult job of finding the middle ground, working with executives to set realistic goals for the organization while also trying to increase employee engagement and retention in order to achieve those goals. HR teams can create or revisit their employee value proposition (EVP), which is the promise the organization makes to employees and candidates that incorporates company values, compensation strategy, learning and development opportunities, and more. Employees are looking at their work experience in its entirety and are looking for businesses that align with their values. By emphasizing deeper connections, personal growth, flexibility, well-being, and a shared purpose, employers can shift their EVP to be more human-centric to show employees that they are valued as people, not just line items on a spreadsheet.

Your employee experience doesn’t have to be at odds with your business performance. Check out How to Use Performance Management to Inspire Employee Growth to learn how.

2. Your managers are not okay.

Manager engagement and retention will be a mission-critical priority for HR and business leaders this year. 

It’s clear that employees at all levels have faced challenges these past years, and that is certainly the case for managers, who sit in the wide middle area between C-Suite executives and employees and have to balance the priorities of both. Good managers have a specific set of skills and are more than just advanced individual contributors. They lead, manage, and develop their teams and reports. The past few years of the pandemic and shift to hybrid work have made managerial responsibilities multiply and grow in unexpected ways — not only do they have to champion their employees but they’ve also had to help employees navigate an unsettling economy and potential job insecurity, and managers are reaching a breaking point.

With engagement and retention more important than ever, the brunt of this responsibility falls on the shoulders of managers. Gallup data shows that team engagement depends heavily on the manager, who can account for a 70% difference in engagement rates. Employees want purpose in their jobs, but the “who” that can drive employee engagement is a caring manager. A GoodHire survey of 3,000 American workers showed that bad managers not only impact engagement, but also retention, and 82% of workers would potentially quit their job because of a bad manager. One of the top reasons employees leave their jobs is because they don’t feel valued by their manager.

But managers are also struggling with engagement. According to Gallup’s State of the American Manager Report, 35% of US managers are engaged, and 14% are actively disengaged. With these rates, it’s no wonder that employee engagement rates are also low, as employees who work for engaged employees are 59% more likely to be engaged themselves. And it’s not just that managers are disengaged; they’re also burned out and leaving their jobs. Lattice research also found that middle managers (defined as managers who oversee teams of managers) were the most likely cohort of employees to be actively looking for new work (70% in the UK and 50% in the US). 

Microsoft’s 2022 Work Trend Index showed that managers felt like they were stuck between managing executive and employee expectations, which often aren’t aligned. Over half of managers surveyed felt that their organization’s leadership was out of touch with employees. But managers felt powerless to create change, with 74% of surveyed managers saying they lacked the resources and influence to make changes for their team.

The role of the manager as a team motivator is more critical than ever, but managers are facing an extraordinary amount of pressure to have their teams deliver while trying to balance heavy workloads, manage people, engage employees, and maintain everyone’s well-being. Most managers do not have the resources or bandwidth to combat burnout when they’re facing it themselves. 

Companies need to find ways to support their managers, as they are a crucial part of improving engagement and company culture. That means including managers in the employee experience to get a full picture of how employees are doing, and implementing the right systems and processes to enable managers to succeed. Managers are less likely to know what’s expected of them than the people they manage, and over 40% of managers surveyed say they have competing priorities, so setting clear priorities and expectations can help managers focus on the most impactful business goals instead of trying to do it all. Organizations should provide career development opportunities to help their managers grow, as well as performance management resources (best practices in giving and receiving feedback, conducting one-on-ones, etc.) to help their teams succeed. And there should be a focus on well-being initiatives or programs to help managers combat burnout for themselves and their teams. 

Lattice’s 2023 State of People Strategy (SOPS) showed that manager training was the second highest priority for HR leaders in 2022, behind employee engagement. Investing in managers helps invest in the teams they oversee. Bad managers negatively impact engagement and retention and are therefore costly, but good managers give employees a reason to stay and perform to their best ability.

See what HR professionals around the globe had to say about this year’s priorities, successes, and challenges in The 2023 State of People Strategy Report.

3. Pay transparency is coming, and it’s going to be a mess.

Creating a compensation philosophy is only half the equation; employees want to know where they stand.

California recently passed a pay transparency law requiring all companies with more than 15 employees to list salary ranges for jobs. California joins the growing number of states, including Colorado, Connecticut, Nevada, and Washington, that have passed similar legislation requiring employers to disclose pay. The laws vary from state to state, which may be difficult for job seekers to navigate. Still, pay transparency has benefits, such as helping to counter the gender pay gap, the difference in salary between men and women in the US. Research from 2022 shows women earn $0.82 for every $1 men earn, and the gap is even wider for women of color.

Pay transparency is also in line with what employees want from employers. A Lattice survey on compensation found that 67% of US employees agreed their company should have transparency around pay policies, and over half of respondents think companies should disclose how much everyone is paid.

Companies, on the other hand, are still catching up. Lattice’s 2023 State of People Strategy found that pay transparency within organizations is still low, and even lower at smaller companies.

  • 54% of HR leaders said only HR and finance know pay bands.
  • 25% of employees know the salary band for their job level, but only 9% know the pay band for the next level up.

With 59% of companies investing in pay transparency, and 21% investing considerable effort in it, companies are making some progress. Pay transparency helps employees have trust in pay equity across the organization and can also increase engagement and retention. For example, if employees see a comparable job listing with a salary that is much higher than theirs, that information may help them negotiate during the next round of performance and compensation cycles. It can also save time during the recruitment process by weeding out candidates who are looking for a role that pays differently.

Compensation transparency can’t happen without proper planning and strategy. Businesses need to be clear on what they are going to disclose and how. To achieve that, People teams need to develop a compensation philosophy that provides clear guidelines, ties back to company values, and explains how salaries, raises, and bonuses are structured. Creating the compensation philosophy is only half the equation; organizations then need to develop a communication plan so all employees know where they stand and what the potential opportunities are for movement within the company.

Keep in mind that compensation goes beyond salary, and a compensation philosophy should factor in a total rewards package, which can include benefits, health and wellness programs, learning and development, and paid time off. These additional items may not show up directly on a paycheck but can still positively impact the employee experience. 

One way to add structure to your compensation strategy is to use a compensation tool, which can help HR teams securely share data, collaborate across teams, and implement updates as needed.

Fair compensation can improve retention, employee motivation, and overall business performance. Download How to Reward Top Talent With Pay-for-Performance to learn more.

4. We’re returning to fundamental workforce strategies.

The world of work is moving on from gimmicks like quiet quitting, productivity paranoia, or the hybrid push/pull.

Changes in work norms have led to rebranding of old trends with new terms in an effort to describe the shifts in employee expectations. For example, “quiet quitting” is simply a new term for employee disengagement, and “productivity paranoia” is when leaders are worried their teams aren’t working hard enough with hybrid work models, despite 87% of employees reporting they are productive. And even employees recognize that these are just new names for old stories: Recent Lattice research found that 45% of employees reported that they were not very familiar, or not familiar at all, with the phrase quiet quitting — and yet 36% of those same employees self-reported having “quietly quit” in the last year when it was defined as disengaging from their work. 

Neither of these trends began during the pandemic, but coining phrases for them highlighted the fact that engagement and productivity have always been organizational priorities, and HR teams have been at the forefront of navigating this new world of work. According to Lattice’s 2023 State of People Strategy, HR leaders expect some, if not all, of their workforce to be remote, and have prioritized employee engagement; manager training; learning and development; diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) programs; and performance management over talent acquisition.

As employee expectations change and organizations adapt to meet them, we’ll see a shift from The Great Resignation to The Great Recognition. Organizations will recognize that the best employees are engaged employees and that listening to workers’ feedback is not only good for employee growth, but for company growth as well.

5. “Hybrid work” is just “work” now.

Employees who have embraced it will increasingly shape where the new workforce is headed. 

For better or worse, a majority of workers have gotten used to remote work and all that it offers: no commute, comfortable work clothes, and more flexible schedules. According to behavioral economics, people avoid loss more than they seek gain, and thus they are not likely to want to give up remote or hybrid work, no matter what the additional in-office perks are. In fact, six in 10 fully remote employees and three in 10 hybrid employees said they are “extremely likely to change companies” if remote flexibility is not an option. Even though a company’s percentage of remote workers varies significantly by industry and organization size (for example, professional services and tech companies will have more remote employees than manufacturing companies), for most employees and employers, hybrid work is not an option anymore, but rather a requirement. 

Some of the early concerns with remote work were about how managers and employees needed facetime together for productivity and engagement. However, managers have become comfortable managing their teams remotely, with 45% saying they have enough facetime to effectively manage most employees and situations. Even the 26% of respondents who would prefer more facetime feel they have enough of it to handle major issues. This is consistent across companies whether they are 10% or 90% remote. HR professionals who feel there should be more facetime cited engagement and culture as their top concerns, with productivity ranking second to last.

Employees have realized that they don’t need to go to a physical office to do work and that they want increased flexibility so work can fit into their lives instead of the other way around. Smaller companies can shift to hybrid and remote work models more easily, and traditional businesses will have to follow suit to retain talent. Gen Z not only places greater importance on purpose at work, but will also be the first generation that has not been required to be in the office five days a week. Gen Z’s percentage of the total workforce will only grow over time, and as a result, as an increasing number of hybrid or remote employees move into leadership and manager roles, hybrid strategies will improve and solidify in the long term.

A shift in employee values and demographics, new and hybrid spaces where we physically do work, and an ongoing struggle to maintain employee engagement despite internal and economic pressures have all upended traditional organizational playbooks. HR teams play an increasingly important role in balancing priorities at all levels of the organization, evolving company culture to meet dynamic needs, and driving employee and business success.

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Life sciences companies are used to the turbulence of mergers and acquisitions. While research by Deloitte suggests that we won’t be returning to the frantic levels of M&A activity of 2021 anytime soon, the potential of recession in 2023 may see many companies using mergers more aggressively to shore up their businesses.

When one company acquires another, there’s often a period of assessment and changes that affect employees’ day-to-day. Without clear communication and alignment, this period of change can lead to confusion, redundancies, and disconnection that affect team members for months to come. This upheaval is challenging in every industry, but it poses particular challenges for life sciences companies.

Some disruption may be inevitable, but with the right tools and processes in place in advance, HR leadership can ensure a smoother, more positive transition for both teams.

Skip ahead to 6 Strategies to Stay Aligned After A Merger

Why Mergers & Acquisitions are So Challenging for Life Sciences Teams

Mergers and acquisitions are notoriously challenging for HR teams and employees alike. Don Scales, Global CEO of digital communications firm Investis Digital and author of The M&A Solution: A Values-Based Approach to Integrate Companies, believes that “a merger/acquisition can make or break company culture. When acquisitions overlook values and people, they destroy corporate culture and, ultimately, the company.”

Merging companies often struggle to mesh core values, create cultural alignment, or manage the integration effort effectively. Employees may feel stressed, overwhelmed, or insecure. Many jobs will be cut, and many other employees will look for other opportunities — as many as one in three acquired employees will leave within the first year, according to research by MIT.

While merger integration is challenging for most businesses, it can be particularly tricky in the life sciences field.

Increased turnover has led to recruitment challenges.

According to Jo Taylor, managing director of recruitment agency Let’s Talk Talent, M&As are tough on HR teams in life sciences businesses because they already struggle with recruitment issues: “You don’t want to lose talent in this sector as it’s very hard to replace.”

Nearly three-quarters of life sciences companies plan to increase their workforce in 2022 — but the industry was hit hard by the Great Reshuffle, with voluntary turnover rates of 18%, according to a study by Aon.  The inevitable retention issues triggered by M&As will add an extra layer of challenge to a lean talent pipeline.

Data security is a serious issue.

While this might seem like more of an issue for IT than HR, it’s worth considering that 88% of all data breaches are caused by human error, according to researchers at Stanford. In other words, data security is most definitely an HR issue.

And while cybersecurity is a crucial component of any successful merger, it has additional challenges for life sciences companies, especially those in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors. In fact, research suggests that the lack of IT integration is one of the most common reasons for M&A failures across the sector.

“Mergers can be complicated for health businesses, particularly when it comes to syncing different user privacy protocols,” said Stephan Baldwin, founder and manager of Assisted Living, a healthcare marketing company. “Each company comes with its individual policies, but you now need to create a standard for moving forward as a single entity.

“This often has significant delays for the merger because either company will need to transfer their previous user data to a possible new system under new operating procedures,” he added. However, this is a crucial step, especially for healthcare businesses. Healthcare is a highly personal industry, so you need to ensure user/patient data is handled carefully and according to specific standards at all times. The last thing you want is to end with a lawsuit.”

Innovation requires a culture of trust.

Life sciences companies are built on innovation — and research shows that innovation takes trust, collaboration, and the sharing of ideas. Unfortunately, trust is often one of the first casualties of an M&A.

“One of the great ironies of M&A activity is that trust, a key ingredient for business success, often quickly dissolves, as M&A activity is usually cloaked in secrecy,” Jennifer J. Fondrevay, the founder of Day One Ready, an M&A consultancy, explained in a 2018 article in Harvard Business Review.

“A workforce can feel blindsided when a deal is announced, eroding trust and transparency in three mutually reinforcing ways: “our” company versus “their” company; the executive team versus frontline employees; [and] who stays versus who goes.”

6 Strategies to Stay Aligned After A Merger

Navigating a merger and mitigating the negative impact requires organizations to focus on communication, trust, and retaining top performers.

Here are six ways to create effective alignment between teams, and ensure a successful integration.

1. Start by rebuilding trust.

Mark Woodbury, co-founder at Minerva Equity, a firm that acquires and invests in small to medium size businesses, suggests that HR teams, and business leaders in general, must aim to secure trust during the integration process.

“A culture of trust is essential for any merger to play out successfully,” he explained. “Prioritize gaining the trust and the confidence of employees from both the new company and the acquired company to avoid starting off on the wrong foot.”

How can HR teams foster a culture of trust during a merger? Start by modeling empathy. Empathetic leaders are good listeners, open and transparent communicators, and able to accept strong emotional reactions from employees without becoming emotional themselves.

“Lead with transparency, especially at the onset of the merger, so that there won’t be any room for doubt or malice,” Woodbury advised. “The goal is to motivate employees to be team players, and not alienate them, by looping them in essential decision-making.”

2.Plan for challenges.

“It’s rarely a smooth journey integrating teams post-merger, so the leadership team should run all possible scenarios before the event and have a plan in place,” said Gerard Milligan, founder of Caledonia Resources, an organizational development consultancy.

By conducting scenario planning well in advance, HR teams can develop a more proactive change management strategy and get ahead of the potential issues. For instance, Milligan suggests that you can identify top-performing talent in both teams, and focus your attention on retaining them during the inevitable attrition that will follow any M&A.

3. Create a strong internal communications strategy.

During times of change, strong communication maintains trust, and gives employees clear expectations of what’s going to happen.

“Communication is key from a general sense to keep people informed, but there’s an extra level of storytelling that can help to aid in alignment in what the intent is and why the organizations are merging,” said Catherine Rymsha, a lecturer in Managerial Leadership and Leadership Processes at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. “Sharing this can help people clearly see the synergies and how they fit in. Having leaders from both organizations tell the same story is a practice I’ve seen help.”

Milligan agrees that communication is crucial to making mergers work. His advice is to create ample opportunities for two-way feedback, whether that’s an all hands or one-to-one meetings with the CEO for senior leaders in both companies: “Getting everyone aligned and clear on what to expect is a key factor in a transaction such as a merger.”

4. Use surveys to track the impact on employees.

In addition to offering ample communication channels for managers and employees, HR should proactively collect and monitor confidential feedback from the workforce in general. Mergers and acquisitions can often be a sensitive and challenging time for company culture. Initiatives such as employee surveys are a great way to make sure that employees feel heard throughout the process.

You may also want to identify and track key metrics to uncover any areas of concern. Examples of relevant KPIs would be:

  • Absenteeism
  • Employee satisfaction rating
  • Net promoter scores
  • Employee performance
  • Employee engagement ratings

You can find a free merger and acquisition survey template in our Resources for Humans library.

5. Use OKRs to bring teams into alignment.

Creating shared goals is a powerful way to bring both teams onto the same page.The OKR (objectives and key results) framework can be particularly helpful after a merger, because they are structured to bring both transparency and clarity to the goal-setting process. If everyone in the team can see the top-level objectives they are working towards, and have an explicit oversight into how their own work contributes towards those shared goals, they are far more likely to feel they are pulling in the same direction.

Using OKRs can also be reassuring to the new team who have joined an existing company culture. While they may experience culture shock and have to learn new systems and new ways of working, the OKR framework will help to show them that they are still working on similar projects with a similar goal in mind. This can mitigate feelings of disconnection and reduce post-merger attrition rates.

6. Find out what matters to top performers.

While exit interviews are important for helping you to understand why people are leaving, stay interviews can have an even greater impact, particularly during times of upheaval and change. Stay interviews are one-on-one meetings between an employee and a manager or a member of the HR team. They can be helpful to gain qualitative insights into the impact of the merger on your workforce, identify issues that could result in turnover, and support employees’ performance and engagement.

Ask open-ended questions, such as:

  • How satisfied are you with the support you’re receiving at work right now?
  • If you could change one thing to improve morale, what would it be?
  • Do you have suggestions on how we could improve employee engagement?
  • Have you been provided with enough development opportunities?
  • Is there anything we could do to make your job easier?

Building a High-Performing Team Starts with Alignment

There’s no doubt that going through an M&A can be challenging — and nowhere more so than in the complex and innovation-driven field of life sciences. However, when everyone is on the same page about goals and priorities, HR teams can help to align, engage and motivate employees in all organizations involved to continue to perform at their best.

To learn more about how to connect business performance with employee performance, download our free ebook, Building a Culture of High Performance in Life Sciences.

The workplace is undergoing yet another tectonic shift. After years of pandemic-induced tumult followed by a robust employee-driven talent market, the US economy is expected to enter a recession, with a concurrent rise in unemployment.

With organizations competing for consumers and corporate spending, the C-suite is now responsible for delivering the highest quality goods and services. That means ensuring a high-performance workplace has fast become the top priority.

HR will play a pivotal role in organizational success by sourcing talent, boosting retention of high performers, and facilitating holistic performance management. But increasingly, Human Resources professionals need powerful HR analytics to compete. Deloitte’s 2021 Global Human Capital Trends Survey found that 70% of respondents’ organizations had invested in HR analytics tools over the previous 12 months, and more than 50% planned to in the coming 12 months.

To drive high-performing workplaces, it’s critical for Human Resources leaders and teams to analyze HR metrics; it enables them to iterate on processes and make data-driven decisions for better workforce performance and increased HR cost savings.

Companies that wish to remain competitive must implement HR analytics tools for crucial insights on how to align People strategy with organizational strategy. But before investing in HR analytics, it’s necessary to understand what exactly it is and the organizational benefits it can bring. Below, we’ll take a closer look at everything you need to know to get started with HR analytics — and reap its benefits.

Benefits of HR Analytics

1. HR analytics enables data-driven decisions to support high-performing HR strategy.

HR analytics provides data-based insights into the workforce and workplace and enables People teams to optimize efforts, resources, and human capital for better business outcomes. More specifically, HR analytics uses various data points that make it possible to measure and track the business impact of HR activities on employee productivity and performance, employee engagement, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB), workforce retention, talent acquisition, compensation, and more.

To drive high-performing workplaces, it’s critical for Human Resources leaders and teams to analyze HR metrics; it enables them to iterate on processes and make data-driven decisions for better workforce performance and increased HR cost savings.

In some organizations, HR analytics is used interchangeably with talent analytics, workforce analytics, or People analytics. In other, often larger or more mature companies, Human Resources teams divide analysis across these terms. In the latter scenario, HR analytics would relate to core Human Resources processes, like recruiting and hiring; People analytics would relate to People-centric strategy, like employee engagement; and workforce analytics would relate to workforce metrics, such as the number of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) generated per employee. For the purposes of this article, though, these terms will be used interchangeably.

2. Data analytics catalyzed the shift from HR serving an administrative function to being a strategic business unit.

Human Resources used to be little more than an administrative function. Today, People strategy is considered a key driver of workplace success. This is even more true in the wake of the pandemic, during which HR showed its true ability to lead through challenge and act as a change agent in uncertainty. Now, business and HR leaders alike have more faith in the People center of the organization than ever before.

Yet even before the pandemic, the shift from administrator to core, strategic business unit had begun, driven in part by HR software, like Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) and Human Capital Management (HCMs) platforms, which helped make HR analytics possible.

Without these centralizing tools and platforms, HR data remains siloed across disparate spreadsheets and files. HR platforms also automate manual tasks, freeing up HR professionals’ time to focus on People strategy. And centralized data makes it possible for Human Resources teams to quantify their impact and successes.

3. HR analytics equips People teams with actionable insights.

HR analytics provides visibility into core People metrics and enables Human Resources departments to support high-performance workplaces that deliver on the business’s objectives and key results (OKRs). For HR departments, identifying patterns of employee engagement, discovering opportunities to improve workforce performance, and forecasting talent trends provide the core insights needed to help HR build a better workplace culture, improve employee performance, and, ultimately, reduce HR-related costs.

But most companies still have a long way to go. A majority of CEOs surveyed by McKinsey & Company admit that their HR “analytics” lean toward basic reporting and rather than capabilities that could create lasting business impact. Part of this challenge may lie in the tools being used.

While some HCMs come with HR analytics capabilities, these features are usually not the primary reason for purchase, and therefore companies may not fully license these capabilities. Organizations may choose to bring on an additional platform with more robust data analysis capabilities, or transition to a holistic People success platform with more specialized People analytics tools, like Lattice. Research backs up these investments: Deloitte found that high-performing companies are twice as likely to use specialized People analytics tools and software, compared to their low-performing counterparts.

Sources of Data for HR Analytics

HR data comes from a variety of places. Large datasets for HR analytics come from existing systems that support workforce and business success. For example, sources of HR data include HCMs, HRISs, learning and development platforms, customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, recruiting software, applicant tracking systems (ATS), and holistic performance management systems, among others. These sources provide objective, existing data about the general workforce and individual employees that touches on everything from age and ethnicity to sales performance and performance review ratings, for example.

Human Resources teams should also collect and consider subjective, employee-reported data. This data comes from engagement surveys, pulse surveys, candidate interviews, exit interviews, and open-ended comments from employee feedback surveys.

Both objective and subjective data sources are essential. Taken together, they allow People teams to generate more specific insights. For example, the objective data on employee turnover speaks to how many people are leaving the company, and whether those departures are voluntary or involuntary. Subjective data on turnover could come from an exit interview, and provides greater context about why an employee is leaving — critical information for the company if they want to stem the flow of departing employees.

Collecting data from myriad sources along the employee lifecycle provides a more comprehensive and realistic view of workforce performance, and allows HR to better craft and adjust People strategy to help the organization meet and exceed its goals.

6 Key HR Analytics Metrics and KPIs to Track

Powerful analytics platforms provide the ability to track almost limitless People-related metrics. While this allows Human Resources professionals to creatively view and filter data for unique insights, there are some enduring metrics and KPIs that HR should prioritize. These include:

1. Employee Engagement Analytics

Employee engagement is not a single key performance indicator (KPI), but rather an analysis of several. The top most commonly measured employee engagement metrics are net promoter score (NPS), employee net promoter score (eNPS), and employee sentiment, but organizations with more sophisticated data analytics capabilities are likely to consider other metrics, like performance and absenteeism, too.

Employee engagement KPIs can offer information like how productive an employee is likely to be and how likely they are to stay in their role. In general, these metrics indicate how dedicated the workforce is to their work, and how attached employees are to their jobs.

NPS and eNPS are classic engagement metrics that Human Resources can easily obtain by surveying employees. Employee sentiment — how employees feel about the organization and how it’s run — can be trickier to measure. AI-powered insights from platforms like Lattice use algorithms to continuously scan comments and intelligently parse open-ended questions on surveys to track employee sentiment over time.

2. Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging (DEIB) KPIs

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging metrics provide insights that help organizations remain accountable to their DEIB goals. DEIB metrics should track the diversity of candidates, interviews, hires, promotions, and pay increases by demographics like gender, age, race/ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Voluntary turnover by demographic group is also an important DEIB metric to keep track of.

HR teams will want the ability to view the demographic breakdown of each department, as well as the recruiting numbers for each department. It’s also important to be able to view the diversity breakdown of leadership positions and the C-suite, too.

3. Absenteeism Data

The absenteeism rate reflects unplanned absences over a given period of time. Sick days contribute to the absenteeism rate, but manager-approved planned vacations or holidays do not.

Absenteeism is directly linked to employee engagement, and a higher absenteeism rate can provide information that someone may be a flight risk. It also provides insight into employee mental wellness, as employees facing mental health challenges are likely to have higher rates of absenteeism.

4. Human Capital Risk

Human capital risk is not a single metric but an analysis of several. Human capital risk draws together data to provide insight on talent-related liabilities, like flight risks, potential labor or skills shortages, or leadership pipeline shortages.

It also encompasses basic metrics like employee turnover rate, attrition rate, and leading termination reason. Companies should track both objective and subject metrics related to turnover and attrition rates and their key drivers. The number of people leaving says a lot about your organization; why they’re leaving says even more. People teams should analyze data gleaned from exit interviews alongside turnover rate when reviewing talent initiatives and developing strategy.

5. Cost Per Hire

The cost per hire is the average cost of hiring a new employee. Cost per hire is a metric that relays the cost effectiveness of your hiring process and the performance of your recruiting team. It’s used to analyze hiring expenses of the company, and allows an organization to benchmark its hiring expenses against those of other companies.

6. Offer Acceptance Rate (OAR)

The OAR reflects the quality of your hiring process and the competitiveness of your compensation and benefits packages. The number of candidates who are presumably interested in employment with the company when extended an offer but later decline can tell you a lot.

The OAR gives Human Resources teams a starting point for investigating why candidates turned down an offer. Perhaps the candidate received a better offer from a competitor, or maybe they experienced a breakdown in communication once the offer was made. OAR is a must-track HR metric for any competitive employer.

Predictive Analytics Help HR Better Plan for the Future

When it comes to maximizing the impact of the Human Resources department and the central benefits of HR analytics, predictive capabilities are key. The best People success platforms on the market are built with these capabilities at their core.

Predictive methods rely on algorithms that use large amounts of data to forecast patterns of behavior and future likelihoods. For instance, predictive analytics can alert HR teams to employees who are flight risks at high risk of leaving the company.

To do so, the system would use data like the current and historical metrics related to employee engagement, performance, absenteeism, and more to judge the likelihood that an employee is considering departing the company. Using predictive analytics, HR can then take preventative actions to mitigate the loss of time and money that results when an employee leaves. HR may be able to encourage the employee to stay, for instance, or begin the search for a replacement in advance.

Predictive analytics can be used for other matters related to future talent needs, like anticipating skills shortages or managing succession planning. Human Resources teams can also leverage these AI-powered analytics to identify top candidates for an open role, reduce bias in the recruiting and hiring process, and forecast future performance, among other use cases.

Predictive analytics help HR teams make data-driven decisions related to future developments, like talent shortages or DEIB goals, and “enable People analytics teams to analyze and explore practical options for management action,” according to an article by McKinsey & Company. As HR teams continue to work toward growing and supporting high-performance workplaces, predictive analytics are a vital tool.

HR Analytics Platforms Must Provide Visibility at a Glance

Since Human Resources data comes from a number of sources, People teams benefit from HR analytics tools that pull data into a single place to visualize trends and make it easy to interpret and work with.

While many everyday workplace tools, including spreadsheets, can technically be considered HR analytics tools, most of these create the additional work of having to visualize the data before it can be interpreted; the numbers alone don’t create a story with actionable takeaways. But People teams need a simple way to visualize and interact with the current data, and predictive analytics to glean insights and take action.

People success platforms with visualization dashboards, like Lattice, do this best. They give People teams the flexibility to pull and centralize data, run reports, and generate clear and intuitive charts and graphs across a host of key HR metrics.

Dashboards also enable Human Resources professionals to easily share insights and convey data across all levels of the organizations, from the C-suite to line managers, as well as with their HR colleagues.

While the data contains the facts, People teams need simple and intuitive ways to discern the story behind the numbers. Tech tools and platforms that provide dashboards make it easy to visualize data so Human Resources teams can interpret, communicate, and leverage data for HR strategy and initiatives with greater impact.

Human Resources teams can make better decisions with better information — that’s what the benefit of People analytics boils down to. With better insights — data-driven insights — HR professionals have more accurate and realistic information on which to base People strategy, allocate resources, and use human capital to drive organizational success.

Read more about how HR technology and analytics drive organizational success in Lattice’s whitepaper Navigating the Employee-First Era of HR Technology.

Probation reviews can be anxiety-inducing — both for employees and managers.

For the new hire, joining a new company can often feel like a blur of new faces and new information. Trying to learn the ropes and prove they can perform their core responsibilities by the time the probation review rolls around can feel stressful and overwhelming.

And for managers, it’s their goal to shepherd their new direct report through their onboarding process, and set them up for long-term success. But that’s not always easy when there isn’t a repeatable way of measuring their progress, or feedback norms that help guide new hires to learning the skills needed for their role.

It’s not surprising, then, that roughly 1 in 5 employees fail probation. However, taking a people-first approach to probation reviews won’t only help employees feel less stressed, it can also make the probationary period itself more useful, and more likely to result in employee retention. 

Understanding Probation Reviews  

For European companies, the probationary period is a stage in the onboarding process for new employees, during which the employee and the employer can check to see if they are a good fit for each other. Probation usually lasts three months (although some companies may extend this to six or even nine months, depending on the role).

Legal Guidelines for Probationary Periods

While employees are entitled to their statutory rights from their first day of employment, certain contractual rights may only start once they’ve completed probation. For instance, in some companies, employees only receive sick pay or pension contributions after probation. 

In addition, employees on probation can be fired with less notice than those on a full contract. For US readers, the system is somewhat similar to the concept of “at-will” employment, but restricted to the initial onboarding period only. 

Scheduling Probation Review Meetings

During probation, employers should schedule regular, formal meetings to check in with the employee. At a minimum, managers should have a meeting to kick off the probation, a check-in in the middle of the probationary period, and a meeting to conclude probation and move into full employment. First Practice Management, a compliance consultancy for UK medical practices, recommends more regular probation reviews — for example, on week 4, week 12, and week 26. 

However, remember that probation reviews are not a substitute for regular, real-time feedback. They are a formal opportunity to discuss the employee’s performance and make sure that any performance issues are resolved quickly. Line managers should make sure to combine probation meetings with continuous feedback, and praise and recognition — during probation and beyond. 

What Are the Benefits of Probation Reviews?

While probation, and probationary reviews, can be challenging for new joiners, they also present many benefits for both the employee and the employer.

1. Foster opportunities for learning and growth.   

Probation is an excellent opportunity for line managers and direct reports to uncover specific needs for training, learning, and development in the employees’ areas of improvement. Regular check-ins mean line managers can quickly identify training needs that will help the new employee ramp quickly, as well as proactively help them course-correct while learning new skills or tasks.

2. Create alignment between line managers and employees. 

To work effectively, probation reviews must be a two-way evaluation. Managers can assess whether the new hire is the right fit for the role, but the new team member also gets a chance to evaluate whether the role meets their expectations. During probation review meetings, managers can clearly communicate priorities, and learn more about the new hire, as well as how best to manage and support them. Meanwhile, new hires have the chance to ask questions, share challenges, and check in on their understanding of the role and key goals. 

3. Identify any issues with recruitment and onboarding process. 

If a new hire is struggling, there may be flaws in your recruitment process, or in how you onboard new employees. Probation reviews are a good moment for line managers to flag up issues in the employee experience and relay them to HR, which in time will make the entire employee journey better. 

4. Set new hires up for success and encouraging retention.

Probation reviews aren’t just helpful for identifying performance issues. They provide an early opportunity for two-way feedback, which is one of the most effective ways to decrease employee turnover and improve performance and productivity. 

5. Reduce stress levels for new joiners 

In a fascinating 2021 study by Uppsala University, researchers used blood testing to measure levels of stress hormones during performance evaluations. They discovered that reviews can either contribute to or dramatically reduce job-related stress. It all comes down to the frequency and delivery of the feedback. 

If participants received frequent, clear feedback, their stress levels were reduced–most likely because they knew exactly how they were doing and had no lingering doubts about their job security. 

However, when participants were forced to wait for feedback for weeks or even months, the looming prospect of potential criticism drove stress levels much higher than having no feedback at all.  

In other words, employee feedback is both motivational and reassuring–but only if delivered promptly. Therefore, to get the best out of probations, make sure that you conduct at least one probation review before the end of the probationary period. Otherwise, you may make your new hires more stressed and potentially less effective and motivated at work. 

How to Conduct a Helpful Probation Review 

Running an effective probation review hinges on making sure that line managers and direct reports go in fully prepared, with clear expectations on what the process entails. Putting frameworks that define when and how probation reviews happen means both parties can get the most out of the process. 

Here are some best practice tips and techniques to make sure that your probation reviews are constructive and helpful, rather than stressful: 

1. Don’t wait until the end of the probation period. 

In the Uppsala study, one of the biggest issues turned out to be how long participants had to wait for feedback, not the feedback itself. Over time, participants grew increasingly nervous about how they were coming across at work. 

Instead of waiting until the end of the probationary period to say a final ‘yes’ or ‘no’, schedule at least one mid-point review — try our 30-60-90 day plan template for guidance on how to do this.

2. Communicate a probation review timeline and process. 

“It’s not meant to be a test or a challenge,” explained Daisy Taylor, HR manager of UK-based marketing firm Absolute Digital. “Rather, it should be an opportunity for the employee to come prepared with examples which form a discussion.” 

Before probation even starts, make sure a member of the HR team or the line manager has sat down with the employee and walked them through: 

  • When their probationary reviews will take place and what will be discussed 
  • How they will be evaluated
  • What they should prepare before each meeting (such as notes on their own performance or areas of difficulty)
  • What will happen if a performance issue comes up during probation

Taylor also advised managers to provide employees with an agenda in advance, as well as asking employees before the meeting if there’s anything they’d like to include in the agenda. Here’s a probation review template you can customise. 

3. Identify opportunities for learning and growth. 

During probation, the employee should receive detailed, specific feedback on how well they are meeting the challenges of their new role, and also get a clear understanding of areas they need to work on. 

“Whilst a probation review is intended to understand how an employee is performing and meeting the demands of a role, it’s also an opportunity to identify potential hurdles and where training and support is required to ensure that person fulfils the job to the best of their ability,” Taylor noted. 

Feedback delivered on the fly in one-to-ones can often get lost or forgotten once the meeting is over. Formalising this process using a performance management system can help managers easily integrate the information gathered during one-to-ones with employee development and performance data. This means everyone stays aligned on learning goals, and progress.

A screenshot of the 1:1 view in Lattice Performance Management
Using Lattice Performance Management, employees and their managers can view, update, and reference weekly agendas with ease.

4. Make it collaborative. 

Probation reviews should be a collaborative, two-way process, where both the line manager and the new hire have a chance to reflect on how things are going.

“One of the most important things to remember when conducting a probation review is that it should be an opportunity for growth and learning, not simply a way to judge or punish an employee,” said Claire Randall, HR manager of national plumbing service Heat Pump Source.

Instead of grilling employees on their performance, Randall recommends that managers “focus on asking questions that help employees understand their strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement.” 

And when it comes to  feedback, managers must make sure to spend time asking for employee feedback as much as doling it out.  Managers can ask questions about the probation period in general, as well as any areas where the company or the manager could create a better onboarding experience. 

Framing these reviews as collaborative, rather than critical, will reduce employee stress and positively impact learning outcomes. 

5. Clearly communicate expectations on responsibilities and goals. 

It’s critical that employees come away from their probation review meetings with a clear understanding of how they are being evaluated, what they are expected to do, and any next steps for self-improvement and learning. This should be something that you work through and discuss with the new hire, but they should also have access to a structured plan they can work their way through during the probationary period. 

“[Probation reviews] should shed light on how things are going, in an open and honest forum, creating actionable targets that are realistic and doable,” said Taylor. “As it forms a conversation, a probation review should frame how your role will shape itself going forward.”

Useful Questions to Ask New Employees During Probation Reviews

Introductory Questions 

Managers should keep the tone of the meeting friendly and approachable. This can include general questions such as: 

  • How are you settling into the role?
  • What are the highlights of the job and company so far? 
  • How well is the job meeting your expectations?

Progress Questions

Taylor also recommends that probation reviews include a progress update, to allow both parties to create a sustainable plan going forward. Here are a few questions to check in with the employee: 

  • Are you satisfied with your progress towards your goals? 
  • What, if anything, is holding you back? 
  • What would make your job more enjoyable? 
  • Do you have the working conditions you need to be as productive as possible? 
  • What goals or objectives would you like to focus on next? 

Values-Fit Questions

The probationary period is your chance to make sure you chose the right person during the recruitment phase. To check in with how well employees are getting on with the rest of the team and their role in general, Randall suggests questions like:  

  • What do you feel is working well in your role so far?
  • What challenges have you encountered, and how have you dealt with them?
  • How are your relationships with colleagues and managers? 
  • Are there any relationships that could be improved upon?

Employee Experience Questions

Probation reviews are a great way to make sure that your recruitment and onboarding experiences are getting your employees off on the right foot. Here are some questions to gather employee feedback: 

  • How is your experience so far lining up with what you read in the job description? 
  • In the past three months (or relevant time), what impression have you gathered about our company, our values, and what’s important here? 
  • Have you received training and mentoring from your colleagues? 
  • Have you had enough support from the Human Resources team? 

Randall also reminded HR leaders and managers that every employee is different, and they’ll have unique needs and expectations for their probation reviews: “It’s important to tailor your questions to each individual, listening carefully for feedback and taking note of any concerns or suggestions they may have.”

In addition to these questions, you’ll need to share your feedback and make sure that employees know exactly how their probation is going and any areas where they need to pay extra attention. 

It’s critical to make sure you’ve given each new hire the best possible chance of success in their role. But if there’s any doubt about whether or not the employee is going to successfully pass their probation, then it’s your responsibility to let them know and work with the employee to define a path forward.

Get More Out of Your Probation Reviews

Probation reviews don’t have to be a “necessary evil”. Instead, they can be a positive experience for both employees and their line managers. Maximising their impact depends on creating a process that regularly communicates expectations, establishes new goals, and fostering a two-way dialogue.

“Probation reviews are an important part of any employee’s development and growth, helping managers to provide constructive feedback and support, while also ensuring that employees feel engaged and valued in their roles,” Randall said. “Whether you’re a manager or an employee undergoing a review, it’s important to approach the process with openness and honesty, to make the most of this valuable opportunity for learning and growth.” 

Are you ready to get more out of your probation reviews? Check out Lattice Performance to see how we can help you make probation a fantastic experience for your new hires and your managers. 

For People teams, employee engagement and recognition are year-round priorities — but why not set aside a few extra special days to share your appreciation?

Our new 2023 HR Calendar includes all the dates HR professionals should know, from compliance deadlines to bank holidays. It also features lighthearted workplace celebrations like National Trivia Day and Giving Tuesday. If you’re looking for team building or event ideas, the below holidays may offer some inspiration. Here are just a few examples from our new calendar.

January

National Trivia Day (Wednesday, January 4, 2023)
If you’re thinking of ways to keep spirits high after the New Year’s holiday, a little friendly competition might do the trick. Organize a virtual trivia night to bring your teammates together. Here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling. 

Bagel Day (Sunday, January 15, 2023)
What’s better than the Friday before a long weekend? Kicking it off with a company-sponsored breakfast. Give employees a breakfast voucher or stipend to spend at a local deli or bagel spot. 

February

Valentine’s Day (Tuesday, February 14, 2023)
If you subscribe to Lattice’s newsletter, you already know that We ♡ Humans. Because you feel the same way about your employees, surprise them with a sweet treat ahead of Valentine’s Day. Include a heartfelt note to make the gesture even more meaningful. 

Random Act of Kindness Day (Friday, February 17, 2023)
When it comes to feedback and praise, you get what you give. Lattice data shows that there’s a 2-to-3 ratio of feedback givers versus getters. On Random Act of Kindness Day, encourage your team to lead by example and recognize their peers for going above and beyond.

March

National Employee Appreciation Day Friday, March 3, 2023)
As an HR professional, you know that employee appreciation matters year-round. Still, you can go above and beyond on National Employee Appreciation Day by giving employees an impressive piece of company swag, sponsoring lunch, or even giving them a surprise long weekend. 

International Women’s Day (Wednesday, March 8, 2023)
You can’t prioritize DEIB without recognizing the experiences and achievements of women. This year, the theme is “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”, highlighting the impact that girls and women worldwide had as health care workers, caregivers, innovators and community organizers, AND teammates in the workplace.

St. Patrick’s Day (Friday, March 17, 2023)
This year, “St. Paddy’s” falls on a Friday. In addition to decorating the office in green (or sporting festive Zoom backgrounds), organize a lunch social or even traditional Irish cooking class featuring staples like shepherd’s pie, corned beef and cabbage, and soda bread.  

Puppy Day (Wednesday, March 23, 2023)
Welcoming pets in the office lessens employee stress and even improves productivity. If your team is either partially or fully remote, you can still capitalize on those benefits by hosting a paw-some virtual Happy Hour or inviting everyone to share pet photos on Slack. s Though this is technically puppy day, extend an invite to company kittens, parakeets, snakes, and other critters. 

April

Lookalike Day (Thursday, April 20, 2023)
Twinning” — or inadvertently showing up to work in the same outfit as a peer — gets poked fun at in Slack channels all year. Give employees a free pass to do it on purpose. Encourage onsite and virtual colleagues to dress like one of their friends at work and share the photos with the rest of the team.

Earth Day (Saturday, April 22, 2023)
This international holiday celebrates environmental protection. Help your company do its part by organizing a volunteering day to clean up a local park, plant some trees, or stitch and decorate reusable grocery bags. Encourage employees to share photos from the event on social media or a company Slack channel.

Administrative Professionals Day  (Wednesday, April 26, 2023)
Our workplaces wouldn’t be what they are without the administrative professionals keeping everything running smoothly. Take time to recognize these individuals’ outstanding contributions using your team praise tool or by organizing a company event.

May

Mental Health Awareness Month (May 1- May 31, 2023)
Started in 1949 by the Mental Health America (MHA) organization, Mental Health Awareness Month is widely observed around the world. This year, the theme “Back to Basics” focuses on providing foundational knowledge about mental health, as well as information on what to do if yours or a loved one’s mental health is a cause for concern.

Cinco de Mayo (Friday, May 5, 2023)
This holiday commemorates the Mexican Army’s victory at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Take the opportunity to celebrate Mexican heritage with a company-sponsored panel and catered lunch or dinner. Traditional staples like mole poblano and chalupas are closely associated with the Mexican state of Puebla and the holiday.

International Human Resources Day (Saturday, May 20, 2023)
For a team so invested in everyone else’s engagement, HR deserves its own holiday, too. While International Human Resources Day falls on a Saturday this year, the Friday prior offers a prime opportunity for a team lunch, field day, or other fun team-building activity.

June 

Doughnut Day (Friday, June 2, 2023)
In the US alone, bakeries produce an estimated 10 billion doughnuts per year. This year on Doughnut Day, give employees a tasty treat (with sprinkles on top) to enjoy with their morning coffee.

Juneteenth (Monday, June 19, 2023)
Juneteenth
honors the day when enslaved people in Texas learned that the Civil War was over and were now free. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, a record number of companies observed the day for the first time in 2020 to give employees an opportunity to reflect.

Start of Summer (Wednesday, June 21, 2023) 
Spending time outdoors comes with a heap of physical and mental health benefits, including stress relief. Kick off the summer by organizing an offsite picnic for employees at a nearby park. If your team is working remotely, you can also host a virtual lunch over Zoom. 

July

World Chocolate Day (Friday, July 7, 2023)
Need we say more? Pay homage to the humble cocoa bean by ordering some chocolatey treats for your employees. For an interactive twist, consider hosting an onsite or virtual chocolate tasting.

Parents Day (Sunday, July 23, 2023)
Working parents
bring unique perspectives to the table, making them a critical part of your talent strategy and diversity and inclusion goals. In addition to flexibility, parental leave, and all the other meaningful benefits you offer, give working parents a spa day or send them a box of company swag for their kids.

International Self-Care Day (Monday, July 24, 2023)
Congrats, you’ve made it halfway through the year — time for some deserved self-care. Organize a series of instructor-led yoga classes or meditation sessions. You can also sign employees up for meditation apps like Calm or Headspace.

August

National Book Lovers Day (Wednesday, August 9, 2023)
Looking for a creative way to bring people together that isn’t a happy hour? Organizing a book club is a great way to foster camaraderie, cross-departmental communication, and a little healthy debate. Consider sponsoring book purchases to encourage participation.

Women’s Equality Day (Saturday, August 26, 2023)
This national holiday celebrates the passage of the nineteenth amendment, which recognized women’s right to vote. Because there’s more work to be done, host an onsite or virtual panel on allyship and pay equity.

September

National 401(k) Day (Friday, September 8, 2023)
If your business offers retirement benefits or a matching program, make the effort to reiterate those offerings via a company-wide communication or by organizing  office hours. Better yet, ask your 401(k) benefits vendor to host a live Q&A for employees who’d like to learn more about saving for retirement.

HR Appreciation Day (Tuesday, September 26, 2023)
People teams endure a lot. You’re responsible for workplace culture, compliance, recruiting, benefits, reviews, and a long list of additional duties. So why limit the celebrating to International Human Resources Day? Gear up for HR’s busy season by organizing a fun offsite for you and the rest of the People team — one that doesn’t involve work. You can also appreciate other HR professionals in the Resources for Humans Slack group.

October

Mental Health Day (Tuesday, October 10, 2023)
The pandemic reminded us of the importance of workplace mental health. As we enter the fall months and days get shorter, consider giving employees a mental health day to decompress. This is also an excellent opportunity to remind your team to use your employee assistance program (EAP) and other mental health resources.

Halloween (Tuesday, October 31, 2023)
Need new creative ways to celebrate Halloween at work? Besides the usual costumes, consider a pumpkin carving contest, horror film screening, or even a costume party for employees’ pets. While no one’s ready for apple bobbing quite yet (or ever again), you can play up the autumn theme by serving hot cider and doughnuts.  

November

Thanksgiving (Thursday, November 23, 2023)
Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, show employees gratitude with a catered feast featuring all the fixings. While you might not be able to mail a plate to remote colleagues, a generous meal stipend could go a long way in showing your appreciation.

Giving Tuesday (Tuesday, November 28, 2023)
On the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, partner with a charity, community center, or school to give back to the less fortunate. Some ways to contribute include setting up a food or coat drive, donating gift cards to a shelter, or purchasing toys for a local children’s hospital. Make sure to publicize the event in advance of Thanksgiving, so employees can leverage Black Friday specials to give even more. 

December

Ugly Sweater Day (Friday, December 15, 2023)
What better way to ring in the holiday season than with an ugly sweater competition? In addition to organizing the usual contest between employees, you can also enroll in an ugly sweater 5K run for charity.

Winter Solstice (Thursday, December 21, 2023)
December is host to a slew of special holidays, so why not pick a day to acknowledge them all? The winter solstice marks the astronomical start of winter and the shortest day in the Northern Hemisphere. Celebrate your team with an office potluck or holiday party — or send them a surprise bundle of gifts to their home address.

For even more engagement holidays, download the 2023 HR Calendar.

Economic uncertainty has been on the rise since 2016 — and the waves of turbulence it creates for companies and their employees show no signs of settling down anytime soon. From Brexit to COVID-19, trade tensions, and climate change, experts at the Harvard Business Review suggest global ‘shock events’ are here to stay.

Rather than keeping calm and carrying on, leaders must acknowledge that the onslaught of global shocks has serious affects on employees. Executive teams are often the face of communication during times of crisis and uncertainty — but managers are the ones fielding day-to-day questions from their direct reports.  

Managers also a key source of support, encouragement, and workplace stability. And without the right training, they may feel overwhelmed — especially when grappling with their own stress and anxiety.

Supporting managers to support their teams in the eye of the storm relies on equipping them with the information, processes, and tooling so that they can keep trust, motivation, and performance high.

Accepting and Adapting to Uncertainty

The world is in flux, and this can make employees feel uncertain and unfocused at work. Between the hours of nine and five, they may be worried about any number of external stressors — from rising electricity bills to how government policies are going to affect them in the future.   

They may also be genuinely worried about the security of their job, especially considering the mass layoffs that are affecting certain sectors. 

“The first instinct during periods of slow growth is often to reduce the resource base, including the employee headcount,” explained Dr Jack Wiley, author of The Employee-Centric Manager: 8 Keys to People-Management Effectiveness and Chief Scientific Officer at management consulting firm Engage2Excel. “But coming out of the pandemic, we have all seen the dysfunction of companies trying to meet customer demands with insufficient staffing. Smart companies will have learned from past staffing mistakes and show a great reluctance to reduce headcount in a way that underserves the customer.” 

According to Wiley, making sure that business stays buoyant during challenging times relies on employee retention. Retention depends on keeping employees motivated and engaged to stay the course. Managers are key to making that happen. 

As the contact point between the organisation and employee, managers foster engagement among their teams by building relationships based on trust and empathy. These qualities will be critical to helping employees adapt to uncertainty.

“Don’t have meetings for the sake of having meetings, facilitate a routine that builds consistency and calm.”

“You can’t have a meaningful conversation with someone without a foundation of trust, transparency, and rapport,” said Kelly Neupert, licensed therapist and leadership coach. “Managers have to develop high quality relationships with their employees and spend the time to get to know them as a human and an employee. Not for the sake of checking off a box, but for the purpose of actually getting to know them — what makes them tick, what they care about, and how they perceive work fitting into their life.”

To maintain trust, managers should keep communication flowing by making use of regular touch points with their direct reports. Conversations around accepting uncertainty — and how to adapt to it — can be carried out during appraisals, one-to-ones, developmental reviews, and informally throughout the day to give employees multiple opportunities to say what’s on their mind. 

Neupert also recommends finding small ways to build routine and foster stability in other ways: “We get overwhelmed when multiple facets of our life feel in flux — our family, our work, our health. Try implementing or sticking to routines that your employees find helpful to keep them grounded. For example, don’t have meetings for the sake of having meetings, facilitate a routine that builds consistency and calm.”

4 Ways to Empower Managers to Lead Through Uncertainty

Supporting employees during times of instability is always going to be more challenging. But instead of avoiding talking about hard things, Neupert recommends approaching the issue head-on, even when you don’t have answers to share.

“Address the elephant in the room,” she recommended. “The worst thing you can do is not acknowledge the changes and act like it’s business as usual — it fosters distrust from your employees that you don’t know what’s going on, or that you don’t care enough to know what’s going on. Addressing the elephant in the room doesn’t mean you need to have a solution for it.” 

In addition to prioritising transparency, managers can lean on strategies designed to help promote engagement and foster a culture of trust, even when times are hard. Here are our four best tips to boost motivation and keep engagement high: 

1. Prioritise employee recognition to boost motivation.

Recognition matters — over 80% of employees say it has a direct impact on their workplace happiness. During times of volatility, acknowledgement and appreciation of employee efforts go a long way to maintaining motivation and engagement.      

Using a performance management system makes it easy for managers to recognise high performing team members. And when integrated with public recognition, like Lattice’s Praise feature, it’s an impactful way for the whole organisation to share and celebrate hard work.

Other recognition incentives include peer-to-peer feedback — shown to help boost psychological safety and foster a culture of trust. 

But recognition isn’t just good for telling employees they did a great job — it also helps foster deeper connections between managers and their teams. 

“Without connection you’ll never achieve meaningful conversations,” said Dr Mario Brown, Chief Talent Development Officer at First Horizon Bank. “My advice on forming connections is to focus on practising empathy, curiosity and patience. Empathy can be perceived by some as soft and not goal-oriented but many researchers have come to suggest that it’s one of the most important qualities a leader can possess. Empathy is about understanding where an employee is coming from and how they view the world to create better and more productive conversations.”   

2. Keep lines of communication open at all times. 

During uncertain economic conditions, a strong People strategy is vital. Regular and compassionate communication from managers helps teams stay aligned, focused, and engaged — as well as making sure employees are empowered with all the facts.

“The absence of communication creates unneeded stress and anxious employees may step in with their own misguided interpretation of events to fill the communication vacuum,” explained Wiley. “That can lead to a downward spiral of morale and commitment.” 

When discussing change and uncertainties, Dr Susan Bernstein, executive coach and leadership consultant, recommends a five-step process:

  • Share facts: Share the information you do know in clear and simple terms, for example: “We’re going to be going through a reorganisation and it looks like 10% of staff will be cut.” 
  • Empathise with feelings: Managers should ask their direct reports how any facts make them feel emotionally, and if employees are willing to share, affirm those feelings, for example: “I can imagine you’d be nervous. That’s totally understandable.”
  • Identify desires: Discover what your team wants or needs in the face of change. Ask: “I can’t promise anything right now, and I’ll do all that I can for you. Given the facts I’ve shared, I wonder what your needs are so I can take those into account in my planning?”
  • Anticipate decisions: Acknowledge that your team is likely looking for information so they can make decisions, like whether they’ll be able to afford loan repayments, or if they might lose their job. Ask: “What kinds of decisions are you trying to make, so I can do my best — within the parameters of my role — to find the information you’re seeking.” 
  • Offer direction: Managers need to help their team find direction in the midst of the chaos. Explain which parts of a new direction have been established, and explain if other areas aren’t clear yet. Ask: “In light of the facts that are unfolding, what direction are you considering next for your own work?” 

3. Focus on employee growth and performance. 

Placing employee growth at the centre of strategy during economic uncertainty helps teams feel valued, which leads them to put their best foot forward at work. 

“During times of upheaval, one of the most important things managers can do is to keep their teams focused on their performance goals,” said Wiley. “Make sure performance expectations are clearly communicated, work priorities are clarified, and performance feedback is helpful and timely.”      

Showing how employee growth can lead to advancement opportunities in the longer term can also help boost employee retention. In our 2021 career progression survey, 76% of employees said they were somewhat or very likely to leave their job if they couldn’t see a clear path to career development. And even in an economic downturn, there are still plenty of vacancies for them to choose from.   

Outside of performance management reviews, Wiley suggests that “slower growth seasons can often represent a great opportunity to streamline processes and identify and eliminate obstacles to a team’s performance.”

4. Maintain engagement by fostering psychological safety.  

During uncertain times, maintaining high levels of engagement have an important role in helping employees feel psychologically safe. And when employees feel safe expressing themselves, productivity increases as a result. Engagement surveys, whether longer questionnaires or pulse surveys, can help managers uncover how uncertainty is impacting their team, and how they can help. 

Anonymous surveys can also be valuable during times of crisis, because employees may feel more comfortable sharing honest feedback. But while this might be a useful short term-strategy, creating a transparent and safe workplace culture means employees may be more comfortable sharing their honest feedback long-term. And this starts with managers being open themselves. 

“Being vulnerable with your employees is not a weakness,” advised Neupert. “It fosters greater connection and relatability. Managers can admit they’re scared or anxious too. You don’t need to send them into a crisis or elevate fear, but you can be real and honest about the impact of the situation.”

Leveraging Slow Seasons to Maximise Performance and Growth

“One of the main challenges during slow growth seasons is to keep people engaged,” said Brown. “Transitioning to a period of slow growth can feel challenging for employees who are used to working in a fast-paced, high growth environment. But the right approach from managers can turn this period into an opportunity.  

“A slow growth season is a time to think about the future and develop your team by nurturing their skills and passions,” he added. “At First Horizon, we encourage our employees to invest in self-development opportunities during slower seasons. Not only does this benefit our organisation as a whole, but also conveys to our employees that we want to invest in their individual success.” 

Brown’s approach involves strategically setting up opportunities for employees to engage in brainstorming sessions and provide them chances to share passions. By doing this, it demonstrates their value to the company.

This strategy ties in with 2022 analysis from Deloitte, who predict that shifting towards skills-based practices can help boost organisational agility and growth. Skills-based companies are also 57% more likely to anticipate and react effectively to change — showing that time spent on training and developing during economic uncertainty is genuinely well spent.       

“The best managers won’t allow times of uncertainty to distract them from providing training and development opportunities for employees, especially for top performers,” said Wiley.  “Often, it is not the fault of employees that the organisation’s revenue growth and profits are stalling out or declining. And once business conditions stabilise and improve, it is a well-trained employee population that will rise to meet the increased work demands.”

Creating Stronger Teams That Can Thrive in Times of Change

With global shocks continuing to test both the resilience of companies and their employees, there’s plenty that managers can do to develop a toolkit for long-term stability. Honest, open communication is the first step as teams adapt to, and accept economic uncertainty.  

“When times are uncertain, one helpful tactic is to call back to the things that remain consistent,” said Brown. “Both personally and professionally, individuals need hope to keep us going. As a leader, it is important to demonstrate ‘balanced hope’ to our team. Balanced hope is accepting reality but also reminding your employees of the potential opportunities and good things on the horizon.” 

By engaging their team and offering opportunities for growth, managers can lean into slow growth seasons to bring stronger, more resilient teams out the other side. Our actionable, four-step performance management framework is a great place to start. 

On November 1, 2022, New York City enacted a pay transparency law that requires employers to list salary ranges in job ads, promotions, and transfer opportunities. Thanks to this new law, employees will now know what a will job pay before they apply for it. And NYC isn’t the only place embracing pay transparency; currently, there are 30 states in the US with some form of pay transparency laws on their books, and that number is expected to increase in the coming years.

Regardless of whether or not your organization falls under any of these laws, defining your company’s approach to pay transparency is essential. An unclear strategy could lead to muddled results, confusion, and even drops in employee morale and engagement if not handled intentionally. One of the best approaches to take when it comes to pay transparency? A people-centric one. 

Below, we’ll take a closer look at everything you need to know about taking a people-centric approach to pay transparency — what it is, how it benefits your company and your employees, and how to make this strategy work at your organization.

What Is a People-Centric Approach to Pay Transparency — and Why Is It Important?

As the name suggests, a people-centric approach to pay transparency is one that centers your employees. Rather than approaching pay transparency thinking about how to do the bare minimum to comply with pay transparency laws and regulations, looking at it with a  people-centric lens means considering how to create a more transparent compensation strategy that better supports your employees.

67% of US employees and 64% of UK-based employees want more transparency from their companies about pay practices.

Taking a people-centric approach to pay transparency benefits both your employees and your organization. One significant benefit of a people-centric approach to pay transparency is that employees want companies to offer more transparency: According to Lattice’s recent compensation survey, 67% of US employees and 64% of UK-based employees want more transparency from their companies about pay practices. But many companies don’t offer it.

Embracing pay transparency — and, more importantly, putting your employees at the center of your pay transparency strategy (and your compensation strategy in general), can help your company stand out in a competitive labor market and attract and retain top talent.

“Every organization is trying to build some level of differentiation about what they offer in the market — and so taking this sort of a [people-centric approach to compensation]…really does help create that differentiation,” said Chad Atwell, Lattice’s Principal Compensation Advisor.

This strategy can also help your employees better understand your company’s compensation structure. “Clarity is another [benefit] — being able to really make sure that employees understand how these [compensation] decisions are being made, what’s incorporated, and what they can do to potentially impact those [decisions],” Atwell continued. 

When employees have clarity about how their compensation is set — and what they can do to increase their compensation — it can lead to higher levels of trust (the more transparent you are with your approach to compensation, the more trust you’ll foster with your employees) and initiative (when employees understand exactly what they need to do to increase their compensation, it can help drive motivation). 

Approaching pay transparency with your employees at the center of your decision-making can be hugely beneficial, both for your employees and your organization. Here’s how to put it into practice.

How to Take a People-Centric Approach to Pay Transparency

1. Be strategic about your level of pay transparency.

When determining your company’s approach to pay transparency, one of the first decisions you’ll need to make is how transparent you’re going to be. There are different levels of pay transparency that range from totally opaque (keeping all compensation information completely private), to totally transparent (making all compensation information public). Many approaches to pay transparency fall somewhere between these two extremes — for example, only sharing salary ranges with employees for their specific roles or departments.

If your organization has a clear strategy around compensation and you can explain to employees exactly how you came to your compensation decisions, full pay transparency can be effective. “When an employee has full transparency into a process — and they can understand how their compensation is determined — they can trust the process and feel that they are fairly compensated,” said Aaron Olman, cofounder of HR consultancy People On Point

But full compensation transparency isn’t the right strategy for every company, and in certain situations, moving forward with full transparency can actually do more harm than good. 

“It’s up to leadership and HR to decide how transparent your organization is going to be.”

For example, say your company recognizes that there are some issues with pay equity in your organization, but you haven’t yet figured out a strategy to deal with existing pay inequities. If you decide to release your salary ranges anyway, especially without giving your employees any context, “you’re setting up your managers for some really rough conversations,” Atwell cautioned. Upset employees will want to know why they’re being paid less than their colleagues, managers won’t know how to answer those questions, and employee engagement and retention could take a big hit.

On the other hand, if you were to take a people-centric approach to pay transparency in this scenario, you would work on addressing those inequities first. That way, when you share salary ranges, you can let employees know what you’re doing to fix any compensation issues and ensure that every employee is paid fairly.

When it comes to pay transparency, you need to adhere to relevant laws and regulations. But beyond that, it’s up to leadership and HR to decide how transparent your organization is going to be. Be sure to consider your employees’ perspectives and needs and weigh them heavily in your decision-making processes. 

2. Be purposeful with your pay components.

Part of pay transparency is helping employees understand not only what they’re being paid, but why your company came to those compensation decisions. “It is important for companies to provide the methodology behind the results,” Olman said. “How someone’s compensation is determined is just as important as what their compensation is.”

But a significant component of being people-centric in your approach to pay transparency, and to compensation in general, is “really understanding what you’re trying to promote or achieve through these different [compensation] channels,” said Atwell. In doing so, you can make sure that your compensation strategy not only supports your employees, but incentivizes them in a way that aligns with your organization’s goals.

Take bonus structure, for instance. If your goal is to improve employee retention, you might make bonuses tenure-based. With this strategy, your most loyal employees will get a bonus, which is a win for workers, and it incentivizes employees to stay with the organization, which is a win for the company.

On the flip side, if your goal is to improve employee productivity, you might make your bonuses performance-based, which encourages employees to work harder. This will help your company reach its goal of improved productivity, and reward your employees for their hard work.

Use pay transparency as an opportunity to examine and analyze your current compensation structure, including salary ranges, bonus structure, and any additional employee benefits, like stock options or wellness stipends. Make sure that you have a clear strategy behind each component, and that the strategies you have in place are aligned with both your company values and goals, as well as what’s best for your employees.

3. Ask your employees for feedback.

If you want to take a people-centric approach to pay transparency and compensation as a whole, one of the best things you can do is get your employees involved in the process and ask for their feedback. “Start…having employee conversations around what [employees] think about transparency and what they’re hoping to see from the organization,” Atwell advised.

Getting employee feedback can help you take a more people-centric approach to pay transparency in a few different ways. First of all, surveying employees will enable you to know where there are gaps in your employees’ understanding around compensation — information that can, and should, drive your strategy around pay transparency.

“Companies should survey their employees so they can better understand what their employees’ current knowledge of their own compensation is,” Olman noted. “This will set a baseline for comparison and help provide direction on where [leadership] needs to focus as the company becomes more transparent with pay.”

Surveying employees and asking for feedback about compensation also “gives [workers] a little more ownership of what the company is actually trying to do [with its compensation strategy],” said Atwell. 

After surveying your employees, you may find, for instance, that your workforce wants more compensation in the form of stipends, such as education or home office stipends. (These are especially popular with Gen Z workers, who, according to our recent compensation survey, are twice as likely as older workers to cite stipends as a crucial part of their compensation package.) Once you roll out those stipends, not only will your employees be excited that they got the compensation changes they asked for, but they’ll also appreciate that the organization listened to their feedback — and, crucially, took action on it.

Bottom line: Taking a people-centric approach to pay transparency is about creating a strategy that works for your people. So make sure you ask employees for their input and feedback at every step of the process.

The Link Between Pay Transparency and Performance

There’s another reason taking a people-centric approach to pay transparency is so important: It’s linked to performance.

A people-centric approach to pay transparency essentially gives your employees a roadmap of how, from a compensation standpoint, to get from where they are to where they want to be. This can incentivize employees to work harder — which will lead to better performance.

“The more transparent you are with your approach to compensation, the more trust you’ll foster with your employees.”

Plus, when you center your employees in your compensation strategy, it shows them that you’re invested in their success. This helps to build a happier, more engaged workforce — and when employees are happier and more engaged, they perform at a higher level.

Thinking about your approach to pay transparency is an important part of creating an effective compensation strategy. By taking a people-centric approach to compensation, you can ensure the decisions you make — including those around pay transparency — serve not only your organization, but your workforce, too. This approach will ultimately lead to better outcomes, both for your employees and your company.

Need more insights into how to create a compensation strategy that works for your company and your employees? Download our eBook HR’s Guide to Setting a Compensation Strategy for everything you need to know about making pay practices more holistic, transparent, and equitable at your organization.

Feedback makes us better people — we’re just biologically wired to crave it. When it’s positive, it’s a shot of pure warmth that cossets us, making us feel happy and competent. When it’s negative, it can make us shrink down several sizes and examine our behaviours.

But feedback isn’t always easy to get right. Without structure, praise can become a platitude. Negative comments become a spring-loaded defence mechanism. 

And sometimes, even leaders struggle with it, too.

“Earlier in my career, I can think of a few times when I haven’t given the most helpful feedback to my employees,” admitted Amy Spurling, founder and CEO of Compt. “I’ve said something like ‘great job’, and my employees have pushed me on what that means. But those moments have been important to help me adjust my approach, and learn what makes feedback more powerful.” 

It’s good news for all of us, then, that feedback can be taught. Maximising its positive impact depends on creating the norms and processes that put trust, transparency, and empathy at its centre.

Qualities of Constructive Feedback

Feedback is a key driver of employee engagement. Understanding how we’re performing alongside our role expectations makes us feel more competent and satisfied at work.

“Feedback is data,” said Amanda Myton, a principal talent management practice lead from Lattice Advisory Services. “It’s integral to employee performance. But truly effective organisations aren’t just built on performance, they’re also built on trust.” 

With the right structure and cultural environment, constructive feedback can become a powerful tool that inspires growth, nurtures employee engagement, and drives retention.

The trick is knowing what makes it effective in the first place.

“Feedback is a gift, but it’s not all on the giver.”

“Good feedback is specific and quantifiable,” noted Spurling. “Bad feedback is similar to setting a New Year’s resolution to lose weight. That’s not quantifiable. It’s the same as telling an employee they need to step things up — it’s not something that an employee can put actions against.

“It’s far more impactful to give specific feedback that ties into goals,” she added. “Instead of saying ‘step it up’, you could say, ‘We need to respond to customer emails within 24 hours of being received’. That’s actionable and measurable — and the employee knows exactly what’s expected of them.”

According to recent research on feedback models, effective constructive feedback hinges on four key criteria:

  • Specific: Specificity is critical for instilling behaviour change. Employees need specific details on the actions they took that contributed to the outcome.
  • Timely: If feedback isn’t delivered in a timely manner, the details get a little hazy, making it harder to connect what we did to the result.
  • Regular: Instilling regular feedback loops helps everyone stay aligned, fosters transparency, and means you can course-correct.
  • Actionable: Feedback is most effective when it comes with a measurable, solutions-focused mindset that helps employees plan their next steps.

When feedback is vague or delayed, employees don’t know exactly how to connect their actions to an outcome. If it doesn’t come with actions, it’s hard to know how to improve.

And if it’s a once-a-year thing during the annual performance review, it doesn’t communicate to your employees that their growth is a key priority.

Understanding Good and Bad Feedback

Structure is the lynchpin of all effective employee feedback — whether you’re praising an employee for positive behaviour, or offering feedback on where to improve.

But understanding what makes feedback bad is just as important as what makes it good.

Examples of Positive Feedback

Getting praised for good work gives everyone the warm and fuzzies. But if you want employees to repeat positive behaviour, you need to reinforce praise with specifics.

Bad feedback: “Great work!”

  • Why it doesn’t work: Nondescript feedback like this won’t tell your employee how they can repeat their behaviour.
  • What to say instead: “Thanks so much for your hard work on our report launch last week. You did such a great job leading on the data analysis, and went the extra mile to support the entire team. We really appreciated your leadership skills and teamwork on this project.”

Examples of Negative Feedback

When constructive criticism isn’t framed in a structured way, it can make the recipient feel defensive and attacked. Over time, this can harm employee self-esteem and engagement.

Bad feedback: “Your performance is lagging. You need to do better.”

  • Why it doesn’t work: Expressing negative feedback without specifics can feel hurtful — it also doesn’t give them a sense of how to improve.
  • What to say instead: “We’ve always appreciated your teamwork and positive attitude. But lately, you’ve been experiencing challenges with time management. I wanted to ask if you’re experiencing any blockers, and how we can help you raise them more proactively in future. Is there a better way we can support you?”

When and How to Give Employee Feedback

Structured feedback is most effective when paired with a strong set of norms that define when and how to offer it. 

When giving feedback to direct reports, managers can leverage existing performance management and team-level processes create structure around when feedback is delivered:

  • One-to-ones: Manager one-to-ones and day-to-day check-ins create a safe space for employees to give and ask for feedback on a regular basis. 
  • Performance reviews: Bi-annual or quarterly performance reviews are an ideal time to check in on progress milestones on actions relating to feedback.
  • Growth conversations: Discussing career development is a great time to highlight skills or competencies that contribute to the recipient’s growth path.

Structured processes set a rhythm around feedback cycles — but Spurling cautions against waiting for performance reviews. Instead, it’s better to implement continuous feedback.

“Some organisations wait for a specific process or time period to give feedback to employees,” she said. “But giving feedback as close as possible to when an event occurred is so much more powerful. You’re able to provide much more specific detail than during a performance review in a few months’ time. Proactive feedback is always best to keep employees progressing and developing.”

Allegra Chapman, co-creator of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging consultancy Watch This Sp_ce, agreed, noting that recency bias can cloud objectivity in longer feedback cycles:

“Feedback given during an annual appraisal is likely to only involve genuine feedback on the previous few months, because it may be subject to recency bias. This means that our evaluation of a person or situation is heavily influenced by whatever has happened in the immediate past. 

If someone has done something particularly good, or something particularly challenging has happened right before an appraisal, the assessment of that person could be viewed through that lens.”

When to Ask for Feedback

Feedback is a two-way conversation. Creating a company culture where employees feel empowered to ask for feedback not only boosts transparency and psychological safety, but it also instils a sense of ownership over individual growth and development.

In addition to structured team and performance management processes, great opportunities to ask for feedback include:

  • Completing a project
  • Learning a new skill
  • Taking on a new role or responsibility
  • After a big meeting or presentation

Feedback can often be spontaneous — but maximising feedback opportunities depends on being intentional and specific with what you’re asking for.

“Feedback is a gift, but it’s not all on the giver,” said Myton. “If I need something really specific, it’s on me to request specific and timely feedback. “Set your feedback partners up for success — make it like an Amazon wishlist of feedback.”

“Let’s say that one of the skills I’ve been working on is telling clear stories with data,” she said. “I have a proposal for a new programme that I’m presenting to my leadership team, and I know my manager will be in attendance. Ahead of time, I might drop them a note asking them to evaluate how I use data in part of the presentation, and its effectiveness in supporting my position.”

4 Feedback Strategies to Boost Employee Engagement

1. Embed feedback as part of your company culture.

Feedback thrives when it comes from a place of honesty. In order to ask for feedback, we need to feel safe being vulnerable. In order to give it, we need empathy.

This requires trust and psychological safety.

“Truthful, thoughtful feedback is part of the nature of high-trust organisations,” said Myton. “For me to trust your feedback, I also need to trust you. I need to believe you are evaluating my work fairly, thoughtfully and with positive intent. That can take time and relationship-building, but when you can get that right, people are motivated by feedback.”

Creating a safe environment for honest feedback requires leaders to step up. Managers and senior leaders must model how to ask for feedback just as much as how to give it.

“Organisations must create an environment where people feel comfortable asking for feedback,” said Spurling. “And that has to start from the top. As a leader, openly asking for feedback creates a safe space where people are more likely to model that behaviour.”

2. Look for impactful micro-feedback moments.

Sometimes, smaller feedback opportunities can be just as impactful to create alignment, bridge communication gaps between teams, and nudge towards behaviour change.

Myton calls this micro-feedback: “Our world is absolutely full of opportunities for micro-feedback. Positive micro-feedback might look like leaning in, nodding, or writing something down. Negative micro-feedback might be a puzzled look or a frown.”

Micro-feedback works best when it’s timely and concise. It could include an emoji acknowledgement, a one-minute video recording on a mutual project, or using tooling like Lattice Praise to publicly recognise hard work.

3. Proactively communicate feedback preferences and norms.

Successfully embedding your cultural norms around feedback relies on making sure that every team member knows exactly what good feedback looks like at your organisation.

“Not everyone instinctively knows how to give feedback,” said Myton. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t scaffold and learn it. If we as an organisation have agreed on a framework, then we’re all working from the same playbook and know what to expect.”

At Compt, Spurling says that new hires are asked to provide their feedback preferences as part of the onboarding process: “We ask new employees to fill out a public ‘Working with Me’ document where they outline how they like to receive feedback,” she said. “It helps us be more intentional about how feedback is delivered.”

For more support with seamless feedback, download our free constructive feedback agenda template.  

4. Create feedback norms that support inclusion.

Feedback is only impactful when it’s heard and understood. That’s why Chapman recommends managers try to think inclusively when implementing feedback processes with team members.

“If you want any form of communication to land, you want to do what you can to make sure it is received and processed effectively,” explained Chapman. 

“As an example, too many managers rely on information being implied. This can lead to misunderstandings for neurodivergent people, who frequently miss subtext, sarcasm, or inferences. Some people struggle to process information aurally, so talking to them about an issue might not get information across effectively. Providing information in writing — either before or after — can be a big help. 

“Taking time to consider how you can make your feedback work for different people makes it more likely that the feedback will lead to positive outcomes.”

5. Empower feedback from team members and peers.

Cross-functional feedback is immensely effective for personal development. A 2020 study found that positive employee recognition from peers and other stakeholders signals that their contributions are valued, boosting motivation to hone skills.

“Looking at our State of People Strategy 2023 report, one thing I think is really valuable is to not just look up at managers and down at direct reports, but look around,” said Myton. “High-performing HR teams are more likely to leverage feedback from sources other than managers, such as feedback from peers and clients.

“Help your team source feedback from outside sources,” Myton suggested. “Who else do they work with regularly? Who else has a similar or tangential role? Who else is working on the same things that they could practise and develop together?”

Feedback Is Built on Transparency. Transparency Is Built On Trust.

Feedback is meaningless without structure — but structure alone won’t create an environment where transparency and honesty thrive. 

Strong feedback cultures are built on a foundation of mutual trust. Creating and scaling an effective feedback culture depends on leaders modelling not only the right norms and processes, but also the vulnerability and empathy that fosters more honest conversations.

Find out more about building a healthy feedback culture with our recent ebook: Getting Feedback Culture Right at Your Company.

For too long, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) strategies often involved one-off initiatives or broad plans that rarely triggered deeper reflection or strategy. Perhaps hiring managers attended career fairs at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), or Pride Month received top billing in the in-house newsletter. Or maybe employee resources groups (ERGs) were formed, but were never given the resources they needed to make meaningful change at the organization.

Throwing occasional actions after a systemic problem that’s kept many from advancing in their careers, however, is far from enough. And today, as workers increasingly demand diverse workplaces and research demonstrates the clear benefits to productivity and profits, organizations are increasingly investing more in their DEIB efforts. According to a 2021 survey by workplace training solutions provider Traliant and research firm WBR Insights, nearly 80% of organizations surveyed planned to spend more on DEIB in 2022.

But, as with any other corporate initiative, from expanding into new markets to bolstering company  culture, it’s difficult to get executive buy-in and make the strategic decisions required to move forward without the data to back it up. And, for DEIB in particular, collecting and analyzing the right data can make all the difference, according to an article in Harvard Business Review — helping with everything from benchmarking performance to flagging areas for improvement and holding leaders accountable. 

People analytics enables organizations to move away from one-off DEIB programs and into more robust, meaningful, and long-term efforts by giving HR teams and leaders the data they need to analyze the impact of initiatives and measure the return on investment.

“You [can] throw a ton of money at a campus recruiting program at [HBCUs], and you can boast about it and tweet about it. But for a lot of people who are underrepresented, it feels hollow,” said Erin Dertouzos, Vice President of People Strategy at technology company strongDM. “Having data actually allows us to measure whether or not something is successful — [and] measure if it’s having the intended impact.”  

Here’s how People analytics and DEIB initiatives are connected, and how, when used together, they can advance your efforts to make your workplace more diverse and equitable.

How DEIB and Analytics Are Connected

Trust is vital in the workplace, and employee motivation and engagement can skyrocket when workers trust that their employers are following through on commitments. According to a Deloitte survey, employee engagement rises 20% when workers trust that their employers are making good on their promises. What’s more, the probability that they’ll quit plummets by 87%. 

As companies accelerate DEIB program funding, the right data can demonstrate that their efforts aren’t simply feel-good strategies only meant to make the firm look good. With People analytics, organizations can track progress on DIEB initiatives, determine their success, and communicate the impact of these efforts to their employees in order to cultivate trust and explain why DEIB matters.

“You can have the best programming, hire the best speaker [and] the best leadership development person, but if you [don’t have] great communication [around it]…it’s going to falter,” said Ashley T Brundage, a leadership consultant and President and CEO of Empowering Differences, which provides leadership-based training for organizations and diverse talent. 

Employee engagement rises 20% when workers trust that their employers are making good on their promises.

Not only does data help communicate the purpose of DEIB, People analytics also allows Human Resources leaders and DEIB teams to access a variety of insights that might not be obvious on static spreadsheets. 

“You need the data to see patterns,” said Ilina Ewen, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for Samet Corporation, a North Carolina-based construction company that’s been working to boost the number of women it employs amid the male-dominated industry.

The right tools let talent management and DEIB professionals filter information by any number of data points — such as underrepresented group, title, or tenure, for example. With this information, employers can scrutinize information like how often LGBTQ+ professionals are hired, women are promoted, and longer-term workers are given career development opportunities.

And these tools can bring People data to life through dynamic visualization. Instead of in static columns and rows, data are displayed on dashboards with charts and graphs that make it easier for teams to uncover and understand trends in attrition, patterns in employee engagement, managers who are lagging behind their peers in DEIB efforts, and more.

DEIB Metrics That Matter

HR tech can churn out any number of data points. When it comes to DEIB, however, three metrics offer a good starting point to uncover conscious or unconscious biases and insights about the employee experience and work environment. 

1. Diversity Makeup of Your Workforce

An accounting of the different identities and backgrounds represented within a workforce might seem like basic information for any organization, but for many, it’s data they may not be fully analyzing or even aware of. Every organization needs to start with this essential calculation, said Brundage.

The diversity makeup of your workforce includes a breakdown of who is represented among your employees, categorizing team members based on their gender, age, race and ethnicity, and sexual orientation, for example. These numbers provide a starting point so organizations can define new DEIB goals that will have the most impact, and monitor how effectively they are progressing. 

Diversity Analytics Dashboard

For example, if workforce metrics demonstrate that while your organization employs a large number of women, few rise beyond the role of manager, your DEIB goals might focus on cultivating more female leaders. Or, you may be celebrating a sharp uptick in the number of people of color hired to work for your company, until you realize they are mostly relegated to lower-priority departments. In response, your DEIB goals might aim to develop programs to help people of color at your firm move into higher-visibility positions. 

2. Equity of Your Performance Programs 

Once you have the basic numbers, you can delve deeper into the data to determine whether your performance programs and processes are equitable across every demographic. After all, companies can start hiring more people of color for junior-level positions, but if they haven’t developed a corporate culture where all people feel welcomed and are able to grow, then they’ll ultimately lose those new hires and DEIB efforts will fail, cautioned Dertouzos. 

“It’s not just about who we’re hiring,” Dertouzos added. Retention efforts are just as critical, she said. Companies must create an environment where employees of all backgrounds feel comfortable and have the same opportunities for career advancement. Without that inclusive and equitable corporate culture, those junior-level hires from underrepresented groups will leave.   

DEIB Analytics Dashboard

Construction company Samet recently completed its annual review process, which provides an opportunity to look at who is getting promoted from within, what demographics they represent, how long it takes employees to earn that new assignment, and how much they’re getting paid, Ewen said. Data can also flag stakeholders who are slow to meet DEIB goals — a manager who doesn’t elevate women, for example, or recommend people of color for career advancement opportunities.

“We look at that data, and it does inform how we move forward,” Ewen said. “No company can find all the inequities and fix [them] with a magic wand. But when you have the data, you can act on it and do what needs to be done to get everyone level.”  

3. Sentiment on Inclusion and Belonging

While data can track workforce representation and promotion, those numbers don’t tell the full story about whether employees truly have a sense of belonging and feel respected and supported at work. Unfortunately, few employees will speak up and directly say the workforce is inhospitable for them; more likely, they’ll just leave. Engagement and DEIB surveys, however, can offer workers an anonymized way to share their thoughts. With these results, organizations can better understand whether the actual corporate culture is what leaders intend it to be. 

Equity and inclusion surveys can cover topics such as the diversity climate, fit and belonging, psychological safety, and fairness. Questions might include: 

  • Is the company committed to diversity? 
  • Do you feel that your opinions count? 
  • Does the company embrace people who are different? 
  • Do people of all backgrounds have an equal chance to excel? 

Surveys can also measure whether employees believe DEIB efforts are effective. Questions might gauge whether workers feel comfortable joining an ERG or taking part in DEIB events, for instance.

DEIB Analytics Dashboard

At strongDM, Derzoutos conducted the company’s first engagement survey in March, which included a DEIB section. And after a workforce reduction in June, she conducted a wellness survey to ensure workers still felt safe and could talk about what they need.

The wellness survey included questions such as whether their manager was checking in on them and if they are able to disconnect fully from work to take care of personal matters. It also included DEIB-related topics, helping leaders understand if the company’s benefits packages and wellness programs were meeting their workforce’s diverse needs. 

“[People] are coming from different perspectives…The wellness survey allowed my team to understand if we are meeting [our employees’ needs],” said Derzoutos. “Sometimes People teams [can be] ignorant of how things land when they roll out new initiatives. [There can be] unintended consequences [that leave] people feeling othered.” 

After all, she continued, “part of DEIB is understanding that folks have different needs.” And ensuring your benefits match the shifting requirements of your workforce is an important way to retain them. 

Keeping It Human

Of course, numbers don’t tell the full story. In addition to letting employees rate in a survey how they feel about an organization’s diversity climate or whether they feel like they belong, Brundage recommended allowing for freeform fields where workers can share their own thoughts and feelings. Those fields can be hard to manage, she acknowledged. “But it provides [the] opportunity to get real feedback [beyond a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer on a survey],” she said.   

Only looking at workplace representation numbers can also lead to tokenization — hiring from an underrepresented group simply to check a box on a diversity goal. Luckily, People analytics can help avoid tokenization by providing deeper insights than merely who is represented in your workforce.

Are your DEIB initiatives hitting the mark? Find out with our Diversity and Inclusion Survey Template.

“Data alone doesn’t give you the answer,” Ewen said. “But it is that data that gave our leadership the springboard they needed to say, ‘Let’s focus on hiring more women,’ because we saw that as an opportunity and need.” 

Finally, once you’ve collected the data, you have to do something with it, Brundage said. “The absolute worst thing is not doing anything or saying anything from the data,” she stressed. “Every time you do something, you need to tie it to [why it’s important for employees to share feedback and what the organization is doing as a result].”

Launching DEIB initiatives and collecting the associated data can raise questions in a workforce — worries that people will get called out or blamed. Transparency, vulnerability, and the right messaging are critical, Ewen said.

“Just say [to your employees], ‘We’re starting this journey. We’re collecting this data. And we’re doing it with no judgment,’” advised Ewen. “‘We just want to know [where] we stand, and we want to be better. There’s no blame. There’s nothing political about this…We have a workforce that we want to be healthy, happy, and productive, [and] we want to create a place where people can be those things.’”

And, Ewen pointed out, DEIB matters for everyone. Companies with successful diversity initiatives have happier workers and more profitable companies. And the workforce expects it — a Glassdoor survey found that 76% of employees and job seekers say a diverse workforce is important as they evaluate companies and job offers.

DEIB efforts help everybody — from people from marginalized groups who have been denied opportunities in the past to organizations overall. And robust People analytics are one more tool to help HR leaders make a difference in this critical area.

“The work will never be done,” Derzoutos said. “All we can do is try to create an environment where people will do the best work of their careers. And if we can help one person feel more welcomed, more productive, [and] more engaged, then we’ve had an impact on someone’s life in a meaningful way.”

Ready to build a culture where everybody can thrive? Request a demo to learn more about Lattice’s new DEIB Analytics features.