How Reddit Thinks About People Data: An Interview with Farah Kassam

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A data dashboard can be a powerful thing for your org.

But a data dashboard about your people? Now that’s sexy.

Earlier this year, Reddit publicly shared their People & Culture Dashboard template for gathering and sharing the metrics that matter for People teams.

In advance of our panel, A Sexy Data Approach to People Ops, we sat down with Reddit’s Director of Talent Development, Farah Kassam, to learn more about how the org thinks about this topic.

How did the People & Culture Dashboard come about?

We needed a translation tool to talk about the work we do with people outside of our function. We wanted to make the work we are doing on the People team visible and show to others that we have rigor and data for making decisions. Being data driven from when we joined Reddit has helped us highlight the importance of the work and it also helps us to focus on high impact initiatives that will support the top line company priorities.

How did you come up with the metrics on the dashboard?

Katelin Holloway, our VP of People & Culture, initially developed this dashboard with three departments on our People team: recruiting, talent development, and employee experience. Together, we developed the metrics that we felt gave us a good indicators of success for our functions. And, of course, these metrics have been refined over time.

How do you use this dashboard?

We update the dashboard frequently for executives and for internal use, and then update it for the board quarterly to show our work and the impact that it’s having on the organization. It’s helped  a lot. In general, people have a harder time understanding “people work,” but they can understand numbers. This is a way to bridge that gap.

Let’s dig into the metrics and how you source your data. Can you tell us more?

First we have the employee engagement and inclusion sentiment. We run our engagement and inclusion surveys through Culture Amp and we use its benchmark data to get a read on how we’re doing within the industry as well as how we measure against ourselves.

Then we look at the recruiting metrics. In general, we have a low attrition rate, so we mainly focus on new roles and not backfills. We also look at the number of key hires and acceptance rates. One of the reasons we look at offer acceptance rates is to track the efficiency of our process.

Lastly, we always track the key initiatives for each of our teams and our headcount to show growth year-over-year.

Can you tell us about a recent initiative to shift these metrics?

We learned that our people felt that we could do more around recognition. So, we created a way for people to give public recognition through #upvotes to start acknowledging and celebrating wins as a team. We also learnt that as we had scaled, we had to improve our sense of connection with our remote hubs. In order to make sure that our New York office felt included we changed the timing of our company All-Hands meeting from the end of the day to mid-day. It was a small change, but it has made a big difference for our company overall.

How do you use this data to empower managers to increase engagement on their teams?

This is something we are constantly working on. When we started doing this work, we actually did not have a significant management layer. Now we do. So we’re thinking through what makes sense. We want to equip them with data, but also help them make sense of it. How much support do they need to interpret it? Sometimes we, as the Talent Development team, do more of the analysis and other times, we let the managers make sense of it. We are experimenting and learning with what works for our organization and our managers. As a result, we’re investing more in People Analytics to help us think through this process.

Anything else you’d like to share?

I’m excited for our panel and learning from other companies that are moving in this direction. We love hearing about people initiatives that are working well so that we are inspired to do more for our team.

*********Learn more about how Reddit thinks about people data at our upcoming panel at General Assembly, “A Sexy Data Approach to People Ops,” on June 6th. Register here