Working with Data and Analytics

By Clare Hems, Executive Business Partner

Introducing #8 in #TeamPTHR’s Unorthodox and Unplugged blog series. Brought to us by Clare Hems, our Executive Business Partner and a masterful planner, organizer, and numbers enthusiast! Today she shares a bit about her journey learning the ins-and-outs of business and how to use data to drive energized people.



For as long as I can remember I have been interested in businesses and how they operate, I think the reason for this is for the main part of my childhood, my parents owned multiple businesses, the main one being a pizza restaurant in my local town. 


The business world was often a main topic of discussion in my house growing up and I must have spent hours watching my dad ‘work on the books’ (wages, bills and earnings) after the restaurant closed while waiting for a lift home after an evening out in town with my friends.  It felt natural to me to go on to choose Business Studies for my A-Levels, followed by a university degree in Business Management. 


My career then started by becoming a PA to the Managing Director of a small Defence company based in Bath and then relocating to London to become PA to two Finance Directors within a large housing development company. I absolutely loved how being a PA gave me such a unique view of not only my team but the whole business and the ability to witness each department’s operations join together continuously to contribute towards the growth of the business.


Before my current role, I was the PA to the People Director of a fashion retailer, where I was very fortunate being in a position to be supported and encouraged by my Director to really develop and challenge myself; by getting involved in projects and work outside of the usual PA job description.


Being within an HR department was new to me as none of the previous companies I had worked for had a separate HR team, but after spending a few months in the role I felt like HR was definitely where I was the most engaged. I love how HR supports employees through the whole timeline of their involvement with the company and the whole experience right the way through to their final days with the company and beyond. 


Many of the projects I felt naturally drawn to and became involved in revolved around data. This is where I discovered my passion for all things data-orientated! The main reason I love working with data is that it just makes sense, and you have the evidence behind you to back it up. It allows us to make informed decisions whilst taking away all of the guesswork.


One of my biggest projects involved analysing data from an annual employee survey sent out to nearly 10,000 people across the UK and Europe. Collecting and working with this data allowed us to celebrate and continue with the areas employees felt most satisfied, but also to focus on common areas of dissatisfaction and target these areas for improvement.  By working on this and monitoring annually, it became clear our employee engagement numbers were improving year upon year and we were helping create a happier, more engaged workforce. 


We also launched a new add-on to the company website where I tracked all the traffic, bookings and click through rates. I measured the geographical location of visitors, what platform they found the website through which helped us gauge the success of marketing our activities. We could also identify at which point we were losing customers and if we needed to improve our booking process. 


It was not long after this I discovered the role of a Reward Analyst and how passionate I felt about the role.  I feel one of the most important things as an employee is to feel cared for by the company that you invest so much time and effort in to. Reward really embraces all of this by incorporating how we motivate and appreciate people through not just making sure your salary is the right reflection of your work, but also bonuses, benefits and employee wellbeing too. 


One of the most challenging jobs of a Reward Analyst is the annual Pay Review, but I really loved the challenge and the sense of achievement I had after we had completed it each year. This involved every employee being individually assessed by their line manager to decide how much to increase pay and possible bonus amount by, keeping within a strict set budget and taking into account performance, any unpaid leave or maternity leave, disciplinaries, time spent in current role etc. This was a huge amount of work involving thousands of lines of data with no room for error which all had to be completed within a short time frame. 


The only negative with the role was losing the company overview my previous role gave me, I felt much more siloed in one department and didn’t have as much access to the bigger picture apart from our bi-monthly company updates.


Now working for PTHR I have the best of all worlds; we are insight-led and enhancing our data collection, analysis and utilisation. I feel like I have a lot to add beyond my current role working directly with Perry as CEO.


We are an open organisation by nature. We have a weekly update and scorecard which is a key overview of our operation and spotlights on areas of our work. We are transparent on work – we can see what each other is working on at any time which helps avoid unnecessary checkpoint meetings. We share company successes and challenges, which increasingly I will help make more data- and evidence-based. We can see then how to develop as priorities change and we need to come together to realign ourselves.


I’m going to be working more closely with Kirsten, our Head of Research and Sustainability. So there will be plenty more data-related work for me to get stuck in to and I can become our resident Data Geek, I am sure of it!