Virgin Media - taking people analytics to a new level

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Virgin Media

There’s a good chance you’re one of Virgin Media’s 14m broadband users. Or one of their 3m mobile phone users. Or perhaps you might even work for one of the 45,000 businesses who are served by Virgin Media.

They cover the UK and Ireland, employing 14,000 people to keep everything running smoothly.

The biggest challenge of any business, especially one as big as this, is to understand:

  • How your employees feel about working for you?
  • Do your teams have everything they need to be productive?
  • What’s driving attrition and absence, and what you can do to improve it?

There are 2 benefits from doing this type of work. Efficiency and cost-saving, plus the people who work in the company getting the best working environment and culture.

Aggninder Russell

Head of People Insight

Why Virgin Media came to us

Virgin Media were one of our first clients, and we’ve been collaborating with them ever since. What you might not know is that we didn’t start with an employee engagement survey, which is how most of our projects begin.

Virgin Media have a dedicated people insights team who already held lots of useful employee data, and they’d already collected survey data from another provider. They were looking for support in 4 key ways:

  • Collating and analysing all the data they held.
  • Turning open text survey answers into useful, actionable data that could identify problems and their causes.
  • Predicting trends and recommending strategies, based on the analysis.
  • Linking the analysis to return on investment (ROI).

Understanding the data

Every company holds a wealth of information that can help identify problems you wouldn’t normally have spotted. The difficulty is often that the data is held in several different systems – here are some examples:

  • Demographics
  • Tenure
  • Pay
  • Holiday
  • Sickness
  • Rotas / shifts / timesheets
  • Reasons for leaving

We took all the pertinent data they held and were able to combine it, analyse it, and let Virgin Media see the likelihood of certain traits leading to particular outcomes.

The Qlearsite platform is really easy to use, it’s able to present data in a very infographic way. It’s easy to interpret, and one of the key features is you’re able to get to the heart of the activity you’re trying to investigate. You can really understand the drivers behind the data.

Aggninder Russell

Head of People Insight

Happy staff, productive businesses

After analysing all of their employee data, they noticed quite a high rate of absenteeism among sales staff in the north east of England.

Using our employee language analysis, they were able to understand what this group of employees were saying in their free text survey responses. Virgin Media looked into this and found that these sales staff were working outdoors in various locations. The weather wasn’t great, and the uniforms they had simply weren’t good enough to keep them warm and dry.

This was an easy fix that made the staff happy and let them get on with their jobs without worrying about being uncomfortable or becoming ill. The result was drastically reduced absenteeism, happier staff, and better productivity.

With our tools, they could look at problem areas in any level of detail, whether it was specific departments, locations, demographics etc. From there they could quickly identify fixes, based on data and employee feedback, even in such a large business as Virgin Media.

We’ve looked at how we optimise people as they enter the organisation in terms of time to competency. Tools and guides that can make that process a bit easier for them.

Aggninder Russell

Head of People Insight

Overall results

Our people analytics tools have helped Virgin Media make better people decisions. In the words of Aggnider Russell, Head of People Insight “Thanks to a year-long process of moving our people data to Qlearsite,” she explains, “we’re now able to run what we call Opportunity Finder projects – testing hypotheses by establishing hard causal relationships between datasets, which enables HR to devise much more targeted interventions.

In just one of these, we found above-median sickness absence and, by creating sickness absence champions, we literally halved that rate of attrition – it was a cost-saving of £1 million.

Employee engagement surveys are just the start

Surveys can be very powerful, and we’ve written about how to make the most of them. The key is to avoid these pulse survey pitfalls, and to understand how to turn open-ended questions into useful data.

The extra level of detail we bring is why we’ve been working with Virgin Media for so long. We can combine lots of separate data sources, and understand free text employee engagement responses to give you a much deeper analysis of your employees.

The outputs from the Qlearsite technology help us make better decisions - data-based decisions. In the people team, that’s really important because we want to get it right first time.

To read more about the work we’ve done with Virgin Media, you can read this article featured in the times:

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Tel: (+44) 0203 915 6200