It's Trending, Should HR Care?
Friday, May 12th 2023
Social media platforms have become an essential source of information and communication for people worldwide. With millions of people sharing and discussing content on these platforms every day, social media companies have developed complex algorithms to measure and identify trending topics. These trending topics are of great interest to businesses as they can provide insights into customer behavior and preferences. However, in recent years, there has been a growing trend among companies to track trending topics among employees in the workplace. This approach can provide valuable insights into employee engagement, employee experience, and even help with employee retention.
How Do They Do It?
So how do social media companies measure trending topics on their platforms? At its core, the process involves tracking the popularity of certain keywords and phrases across the platform. For example, if a large number of users are discussing a particular topic or using a specific hashtag, it is likely to be identified as a trending topic. Social media companies also use sophisticated algorithms to analyze the content of posts, comments, and other user-generated content to identify patterns and trends and assign the content to trending topics they are associated with even if they don’t specifically mention a specific word or phrase.
Understanding Your Company's Trending Topics
Businesses can use similar methods to track trending topics among employees in the workplace. By leveraging people analytics and new employee insights tools like Scanta’s TruPulse, companies can gain valuable insights into what employees are discussing, what topics are important to them, and how they feel about the company culture and overall employee experience. This can be an incredibly valuable tool for businesses looking to improve employee engagement and retention.
The technology behind trending topics in the workplace is not as simple as looking for specific words. Take for example a trending workplace topic like Covid. It could be Covid, Covid-19, Coronavirus, the Rona or some other slang term. A trending topic like Company Benefits could be derived from hundreds of words including 401K Plan, Health Plan, PPO, vacation, sick pay or co-pay. It takes sophisticated AI algorithms and lots of machine learning to move past simply counting words to understanding what a topic really includes.
Empowering HR With Trending Topics
Once these topics can be identified, there are many benefits to HR teams. One of the primary benefits of tracking trending topics among employees is that it allows businesses to gain a better understanding of what employees are thinking and feeling. By analyzing the voice of the employee, companies can get a sense of what is working and what isn't. This information can be used to make improvements to the employee experience and create a more positive work environment.
Having a list of trending topics is nice, but the power of solutions like Scanta’s TruPulse goes way past making a list. You can also see volume trends over time to see if the topic is gaining traction. Is Return to Work increasing as an employee issue or decreasing? Would you be interested in knowing if the sentiment around Return to Work is more positive than last month? Would it be valuable to know if the emotion employees feel about Return to Work is anger, frustration or happiness? Having access to a realtime, continuous and automatically generated dashboard of trending employee topics with sentiment and emotional analysis can be critical to improving the employee experience.
In addition to providing insights into the employee experience, tracking trending topics can also help with employee retention. Employees who feel that their voices are being heard and that their feedback is being taken into account are more likely to be engaged and satisfied with their jobs. By tracking trending topics, businesses can identify areas where employees are expressing dissatisfaction and take action to address those issues before they lead to high turnover rates.
Another benefit of tracking trending topics is that it can help to create a culture of openness and transparency within the organization. When employees feel that their voices are being heard and that their opinions matter, they are more likely to speak up and share their thoughts and ideas. This can lead to a more collaborative and innovative workplace culture, where employees feel empowered to take risks and try new things.
Respect Employee Privacy
Of course, tracking trending topics among employees does come with some potential risks. It is important for companies to be transparent about their data collection methods and to respect employee privacy. Companies should also be careful not to use this information to punish or discriminate against employees based on their opinions or beliefs. The heart of any analytics strategy should be to make sure that whatever tool is used, it de-identifies all communications of any personally identifiable information before it analyzes it. Remember, the goal here is to track what topics are important enough to trend within the organization, not to find out who said what.
To ensure that the process is both ethical and effective, it is essential for companies to implement a comprehensive people analytics strategy. This should include a clear set of guidelines and protocols for data collection, analysis, and reporting. It should also involve regular employee followup feedback requests to ensure that the data being collected is accurate and representative of the employee population.
The Voice of the Employee = Trending Topics
Tracking trending topics among employees can be an incredibly valuable tool for businesses looking to improve employee engagement, retention, and overall employee experience. By leveraging people analytics and other data sources, companies can gain valuable insights into what employees are discussing and how they feel about the company culture and workplace environment. This information can be used to make targeted improvements to the employee experience and create a more positive and productive workplace culture. However, it is important for companies to approach this process ethically and transparently, and to prioritize employee privacy and data security at all times.