Demystifying Data-Driven HR: How To Use Text Analytics


The ubiquity of accessible data coupled with advancements in AI technology has caused somewhat of a revolution in strategic business. But while companies boast their strong data culture in distribution, finance, marketing and customer service, the majority of HR leaders struggle with basic people analytics.

There remains incredible potential for businesses to use data to make better decisions with regards to employee recruitment, training and retention.

To help demystify data-driven HR we’re covering how you can use Symanto AI text analysis technology to empower your decision making.

Using Text Analysis for Data-Driven HR

What is text analysis?

Also called “text mining”, text analysis is the process of extracting information from unstructured written data. Symanto uses AI and leading Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology to process and analyse any source of qualitative written data.

All you need is a body or “corpus” of written data. Written data can come from social media comments, review sites, emails, surveys or chatbot transcripts to name just a few sources. Our popular product, the Symanto Insights Platform, is connected to over 75 online channels including social media channels and employee review site Glass Door. You can also feed your own database into the platform in the form of an excel document or CSV file.

Gathering a corpus for data-driven HR

As well as employee review sites, you can use any number of sources where your employees communicate with or write about your organisation.

Text analysis software enables you to use more open-ended questions in employee satisfaction surveys and exit surveys. Closed-ended questions can be leading and you may miss out on key insights. Open-ended questions, meanwhile, encourage your employees to freely communicate their opinions, concerns or suggestions.

Internal employee communication such as emails may also be a useful source of unstructured written data. However, it’s vital to ensure that employees are aware of and consent to the use of such data in this way.

Measuring employee satisfaction

One of the features of the Symanto Insights Platform is sentiment analysis. Find out how employees feel about every aspect of your organisation.

The Symanto Insights Platform categorises comments by topic and subtopic and then measures the sentiment of each piece of text. Is the sentiment positive, negative or neutral?

The platform then cross tabulates this information to give each topic and subtopic a sentiment score, enabling you to easily identify common themes and issues in your organisation from the perspective of your employees.

You may find, for example, that employees feel a lack of opportunity for growth, or there may be multiple reports of toxicity in the workplace causing your organisation to haemorrhage valuable employees.

The way Sentiment analysis is structured in the Symanto Insights Platform not only gives you a birdseye view of the HR challenges within your organisation, but its interactive data visualisation enables you to easily delve deeper and explore each issue on a granular level. Click through to read all of the comments relating to “training”, for example, to see exactly what people are saying.

Symanto’s Emotion Text Analysis API reveals more information about how the author of a given text feels. Our API detects seven emotions based on Paul Ekman‘s Universal Emotions model: anger, disgust, enjoyment, fear, sadness and surprise.​

Combined, this information gives you objective insights into employee data without relying on the analyst’s subjective interpretations.

Employee psychographics

The Symanto Insights Platform also reveals employees’ key personality traits and communication preferences.

Find out whether employees are more emotionally or rationally driven. You can use this information to segment your employees and devise tailored incentive programmes for each personality trait.

Understanding your employee’s preferred communication style can also help you to keep them engaged. When an employee comes to you with an issue, are they seeking answers or are they seeking action? Do they prefer to share their emotions and experiences, or are they more fact-oriented? These insights can help you communicate more effectively with your employees.

Companies are also using psychographic data in the recruitment process to get to understand candidates better.

Other uses of text analysis in HR

Assess internal communication

So far we have spoken about interpreting employee data, but you can also flip the switch and use text analysis to review your internal materials and communication.

For example, assess the wording used in job postings and onboarding material to understand how they might be perceived by new and prospective employees. Are you giving off an accurate impression of your business? Use text analysis to make sure you’re striking the right tone.

Analyse Diversity

Subtle forms of discrimination can be difficult to detect and correct effectively. There is potential to use text analysis to determine whether individuals from diverse backgrounds experience different treatment in the workplace. Text analysis can be used to assess tone and frequently used words used in performance assessments to ensure that all employees share a consistent experience.

Data-Driven HR with Symanto

To find out more about how Symanto technologies can be used to support HR or to discover how text analysis can be applied to other departments such as marketing and product development, get in touch.