How can text analytics measure the voice of the employee?

We had the opportunity to speak to Andrew Marritt, CEO of OrganizationView. He talks to us about how text analytics can be used to measure employee sentiment as well as some of the developments taking place in the Employee Voice space. Check out the video of his interview below as well as the transcript from our discussion. For more videos on the future of HR, don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel.

myHRfuture: What are some of the developments happening in the Employee Voice space?

Andrew Marritt: We were able to ask "can we solve this very particular problem?" which is can we understand what people are saying to the answer to a particular question? and we've got to a level now that not only can we outperform a human market researcher in that area but because we're so good, we're able to say to clients that you don't need to ask 60 survey questions, you can ask one or two open questions and learn from that.

myHRfuture: What are your thoughts on sentiment analysis, and does it really work?

Andrew Marritt: Sentiment analysis is not good enough to identify who in your organisation is unhappy, however, it is good enough to look at overall trends in a large organisation, but I still feel in most employee surveys you can ask a better question by using a closed question. What is important though is to look at the question and determine what are people talking about? If I think about a Chief Executive looking at every single comment, our goal is really be able to say here's one side, let's summarise that. Not just to say they're talking about leadership or management but what are they saying about leadership and management? And which of the 20 statements do you really have to read because they're complete outliers and we think they help provide the most value.

myHRfuture: What excites you most about People Analytics at the moment?

Andrew Marritt: I think it's vital for HR, that they get involved in people analytics. I think it's very important that those conversations go to the business that they partner very well with the business and it always excites me to solve business problems. Even when we're doing Employee Voice it's not so much about engagement type questions but when a business turns around and says to 30,000 people in the stores: "What can we do to improve customer experience in the stores?" and we’re able to summarise that information and turn those answers around in ten days from the original question. That's using HR and the employee data to make real business impact, and that might have taken a management consultancy three months to do.

myHRfuture: What is your biggest worry about the future of People Analytics?

Andrew Marritt: My biggest worry is the ability to get business interpreters in HR who have a good enough understanding of the business and can then look at the workforce implications of that. Within HR we've struggled for 10, 15, 20 years to bring in people who really understand the business and can ‘talk business’ rather than just HR, and this applies to analytics just as much as it applies to being a generalist.

Online Training on People Analytics

If you are looking to learn more about how to get started in people analytics then check out the myHRfuture academy online course on people analytics titled 'An Introduction to People Analytics' that is taught by David Green and Jonathan Ferrar. It's a great introductory course for anyone interested in learning more about people analytics.

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Ian Bailie is the Managing Director of and an advisor and consultant for start-ups focused on HR technology and People Analytics, including Adepto, Worklytics and CognitionX. In his previous role as the Senior Director of People Planning, Analytics and Tools at Cisco Systems, he was responsible for delivering the tools and insights to enable and transform the planning, attraction and management of talent across the organisation globally. Ian is passionate about HR technology and analytics and how to use both to transform the employee experience and prepare companies for the Future of Work.