Mulling Over Organizational Growth Rings and Integrated Insights from Workday, Greenhouse, and Engagement Surveys

Thanks for stopping by the blog to check out our work on integrating Workday, Greenhouse, and Engagement Survey data. A link to the full video presentation is just below.

If you want to chat through any of the ideas here feel welcome to schedule a time on my calendar. I'd love to chat:

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We started noticing about a year ago. Ryan and I would get a cool new lead that came in from a really exciting company to talk to, often based on the West Coast, often in tech. During our initial conversation they would talk about workforce growth, diversity, and engagement. Then we’d ask about their system mix, and they’d say, “Well, we switched to Workday a couple years ago, but we use Greenhouse for recruiting, and we have Culture Amp for surveys. (or Glint or Qualtrics)”

Ryan and I started joking about how this was happening all the time-- to the point where we’d sometimes try to autocomplete “Culture Amp” for the person after they mentioned Greenhouse. (This totally failed on a recent call so we’ll stop doing that now.)

Over the winter and into the spring Ryan and I’d periodically throw some time on the calendar to talk about this batch of companies we kept running into. We’d talk about the type of storyboards and views we might put together to focus specifically on them. Then the conversation would drift over into our mutual interests like land, soil, gardening, and regenerative agriculture.

Eventually we were able to get some initial versions of these ideas built out in a demo One Model site-- and felt really excited that the inspiration we were finding out among the trees (Ryan in Vancouver) and fields (me in Texas) fit really well with the story we wanted to tell about how organizations grow over time. For me personally it was just so satisfying to take the analytic side of my world and have it elevate, rather than reduce the more organic, intangible and relationship oriented lessons I learn as a parent, a cook, and a gardener. (I also play tons of Call of Duty so don’t go feeling like you have to be some sort of woodland saint to appreciate this stuff.)

In the video above we introduce some of these ideas for looking at your workforce, anchoring around the idea of treating hiring cohorts as organizational growth rings. In other words, starting with data from Workday (or whatever core HR system) and grouping headcount by the year they joined the company. For example, everyone from what you might call “the hiring class of 2015”.

Growth Rings Image for Blog
When you lay the data out like that it’s just flat out interesting to look at. It gives you (or me at least) a cool hybrid style view. It makes me think of the way that people invariably slow down and pause to appreciate the growth rings you see on a cross cut section of tree. On one hand, you get a definite feeling of growth and movement and activity. On the other, you get a sobering perspective on long time scales. You need this appreciation when thinking about how human beings cooperate together and change as they do the work of your organization. This second feeling is a great counterweight to the action-oriented, get-it-done-now energy that we also must bring to our work.

As we looked at these growth rings, Ryan and I started to deepen our appreciation of how much human experience is represented in those layers. How much somebody who has been around for 5 or 10 years has seen and learned-- all the things about the organization that are usually intangible and difficult to measure. We thought that it was a humble and human perspective on what our analytic minds would call human capital, but what we could just call out as accumulated human experience.

From the growth ring analogy, you can start to mix in other people analytics perspectives like diversity. You can see that maybe your current headcount is trending in a more diverse direction but you're going to see (and your newer hires might directly experience) a lagging effect where all that accumulated human experience takes longer to become more diverse. So much of it has already been accumulated in prior years. In fact, that gap might give you more appreciation for inclusion efforts in your workforce because you can start to visualize the gap between a diverse headcount and an organization that has grown, developed, and incorporated a diversity of experience.

And then we thought, “This would be the perfect place to layer in engagement data from Glint or Culture Amp or other surveys because you could see both the engagement of your people but also get that visual sense of the engagement of all that accumulated human experience. Ryan and I felt like that really boils a lot of people analytics down into something pretty simple. If someone comes into (or logs onto) work to start the day, and they’ve got 5 or 10 or more years of experience with your company’s products, services, customers, culture, networks, systems, coworkers, etc. AND they’re engaged and eager to dive back into that work-- well then you can’t really go wrong with that. What more could you ask for? You can’t really artificially assemble that. You’ve got to grow it. If you pull together some thinking on how a resilient ecosystem handles disruption and then think about what a wild, disruptive period we’ve been going through, then you just get filled with this desire to grow a diverse, resilient workforce to match.

And we also started seeing how the work that talent acquisition does can be informed by and elevated by this view. Recruiting is often seen as the fast-paced (time to fill), process-driven (time in status) side of HR. But now we have a view that emphasizes the long term consequences of that frenetic activity. And we have a view that guides us in our analysis of that data.

Greenhouse is both perfectly named and well designed for this type of thinking. Instead of leaving all that scorecard data (for example) behind at the point of hire, why not look back on past growth rings and ask-- what did we learn from the interview process that might help us predict if a certain candidate will really take root and become part of the deep-tissue of our organization? Did we focus too much on the immediate skills they would bring, when it turns out that communication and adaptability were the things that really mattered?

Scorecard Ratings for Blog

And so, what resulted from all these great conversations was the beginning of some new views on people data-- woven together from Workday, Greenhouse, and Engagement Surveys. We’ve captured this thinking in the video above. Please check it out if you haven’t done so already. It’s already been rewarding for me personally-- and I hope that there are many more conversations to come that grow these ideas further. If you’ve got some of those next ideas or if you’ve got some questions about the views we put together-- grab some time to chat with me here:

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