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You want to get the most out of your employee survey results. You realize diverse groups of people in your employee population have unique employee experiences. But how can you segment employee demographics in a way that makes it easy to see and understand those differences? In a way that’s meaningful to executive teams and direct managers and actually influences positive change? 

The jobs we hold, who we report to, where we work geographically, our interests, motivations, and life outside of work all contribute to our employee experiences.   

When an organization uses an employee segmentation model to interpret pulse and employee engagement survey results it’s like putting on a pair of reading glasses that magnify the fine print. Looking at employee responses by different demographics, traits and values brings clarity to issues and insights that might have been difficult to read, if not completely hidden from sight. 

What is Employee Segmentation? 

Employee segmentation is a crucial part of people analytics. It looks at survey results based on a grouping of one or more employee attributes – the characteristics that make us unique. This data is typically found in your Human Resources Information System (HRIS). Information missing from your system can be captured in a new survey.  

The main intentions behind using an employee segmentation model are to easily find where there are issues. To see the smoke before there’s fire. And to see the positives happening in your organization so that you can replicate or emulate them elsewhere.   

Like a painter who arranges and mixes paints on a palette to create compelling works of art, employee attributes lists can be arranged and mixed in survey reporting to create compelling insights that lead to great work experiences for all.  

To segment satisfaction surveys, frequent pulse polls, and more extensive employee engagement survey results can be split into groups that share common characteristics. A variety of other attributes and different sentiment factors can be blended to paint a picture far more detailed than one painted using broad brush strokes. 

For example, rather than looking only at aggregate (broad brush stroke) employee engagement survey results, you can look at how GenX women with racialized cultural backgrounds feel about team and collaboration, their direct manager, communication. What are their sentiments around job satisfaction or training and development? How does this compare by business unit or region or with their male counterparts? What’s happened since the last survey? Did results move up or down? 

Employee Attributes Lists: Then and Now

Traditionally when employees fill out surveys, organizations have included questions like:  What department are you in? Who is your leader? One of the problems with these types of questions is the increased risk to data integrity. People can and do accidentally make the wrong choice (inadvertently identifying as a member of marketing instead of sales for instance). Plus, people are less apt to give real feedback because of a perceived lack of confidentiality.  

Sophisticated survey tools have changed all that.  

Nowadays leading employee survey platforms import demographic employee attributes directly from your HRIS. 

Employee Segmentation Examples

The number and types of employee characteristics you can divide into groups are as expansive as the information in your dataset

employee survey results - group at class

Business-based employee demographics

Employee attributes lists can include business-based employee demographic information such as: 

  • Business function (Finance/Professional Services/Sales/IT/Engineering/Operations)
  • Job level (C-suite/Director/Manager/Individual contributor)
  • Business unit
  • Country, region, or location
  • Compensation level
  • Full or part-time status
  • Union or non-union
  • Blue or white-collar
  • Tenure
  • Stage in the employee lifecycle (new hire, mid-career, broaching retirement)
  • Last performance rating 

People-based characteristics

Employee survey results can be segmented by people-based characteristics that have little to do with your organization and everything to do with the individual. People-based attributes include, among others: 

  • Gender identity
  • Sexual orientation
  • Religion or belief system
  • Ethnicity
  • Language
  • Socio-economic status
  • People with a disability
  • Age 

Generation  

    • Traditionalists (born between 1922 and 1945) 
    • Baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) 
    • Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980) 
    • Generation Y or Millennial (born between 1981 and 2000) 
    • Generation Z (born after 2000) 
  • Marital status
  • Family size
  • Caregiver status
  • Education
  • Personality type
  • Interests 

Sentiment-based factors

Analysis can also segment responses by sentiment-based attributes involving: 

  • Motivation factors
  • Engagement factors
  • Orientation towards change
  • Work/life balance
  • What makes employees feel valued
  • Loyalty to the organization  

Themes surfacing from open-ended survey comments  

Because of the way we each capture and describe the people in our datasets, the number of potential segments coming out of employee attributes lists are close to infinite.  

WorkTango’s platform captures whatever data you have in your HRIS, or that’s built into a new survey and allows you to segment the data in any way you want. 

That said, confidentiality is crucial. For more information on WorkTango’s confidential employee survey platform, download the information sheet here. 



employee survey results - woman with book

Keeping Employee Engagement Survey Results and Other Feedback CONFIDENTIAL 

In the WorkTango world, it’s our job and firm conviction to “project and protect” the voice of employees. This gives your employees the confidence to share candid views. And gives you reliable data on which to make impactful decisions.   

Employee ID, email address and name are excluded from attribute filter list choices as well as employee engagement or frequent pulse survey reports. As your arms-length survey partner, this information is accessed and used exclusively for distribution and response rate reminder purposes.  

When it comes time for employee survey reporting, if the number of people on a team doesn’t meet the minimum threshold (we recommend five at least) data will never be lost but will only be reported in the aggregate.  

How To Analyze Employee Survey Results 

Using Segmentation

Segmentation is more than just seeing data. It encompasses the same marketing principles used to understand consumer behavior, to uncover and understand employee behavior. And then armed with these insights, adjusting people strategies accordingly. 

Deloitte report points to Starbucks as a case in point. The company “took a customer ‘action segmentation’ approach to understand what attracted, motivated, and retained employees. Based on the results, they found three clusters: ‘skiers,’ who work mainly to support other passions; ‘artists,’ who desire a community-oriented and socially responsible employer; and ‘careerists,’ who want long-term career advancement within the company. The clusters helped managers better tailor programs to multiple sets of employee needs, as well as enabling the company to understand what needs span groups.”

Your survey analysis and reporting tools should be able to group results by any attributes you wish, separately or in combination.  

HR and your executive team should be able to see it all. And easily slice and dice data to dive deeper into the motivations behind what John Boudreau, author of Transformative HR calls your “consumers of work.”  

Give managers access to their team employee survey results

The real power that drives change is when you make it possible for leaders at all levels to see feedback. With WorkTango’s sophisticated permission features you can define who can see what. You can easily offer people leaders access to specific survey types, customize what they can see and do with specific survey types, and set confidentiality thresholds. 

Segmenting results and then giving Starbucks managers access to their team results shifted HR from being an information filter to being an action enabler. Direct access to valuable employee demographics painted a landscape that managers could navigate with action-oriented confidence. 

To take control of your employee demographics and empower your leaders, you need the right data tools along with the right partner. Teaming up with WorkTango provides you with both. Schedule a demo today to get WorkTango in your corner.

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Additional Resources

Check out our guides on workplace culture, employee engagement, and employee surveys. Learn about every aspect of a successful employee voice initiative!

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