Promotion, Exit and Digitisation

A collaboration with the Royal Bank of Canada

The Challenge

The Royal Bank of Canada wanted to understand the drivers for staff promotion and retention across different business platforms and countries. In addition they had noticed that whilst there was an increase in the number of managers across the organisation, the number of employees they manage is decreasing. They wanted to understand whether this ‘drift to management’ phenomenon differed between business units.

How did we help

The team found that the main factors influencing employee retention were promotion, work environment, age and gender. Interestingly they found that a base salary increase did not affect employee retention and that women within certain business platforms were significantly more likely to leave the company.

The team also investigated the ‘drift to management’ phenomenon and identified the platforms causing this trend. They found that within certain platforms as roles were becoming more “digital”, low-spans of control were becoming the status quo for these types of roles which meant that this phenomenon may not be a cause for concern in these particular areas.

Key facts:

  • HR data covering 132,000 employees across 12 business platforms in 48 countries
  • Promotion, work environment, age and gender are the main factors affecting employee retention
  • Women within certain business platforms were significantly more likely to leave
  • Drift to management may not be a cause for concern within some areas
  • Featured in the Financial Times online
"The students did an impressive job of exactly what we see from really good analytics projects. On the one hand, it’s powerful to have beliefs and hunches confirmed by data, which they did. Even better, it’s great when you also see creative combinations of data to produce proxies of things you don’t have measures for, which they also did. For example, the students were able to determine if managers were likely working outside their country of origin, and that in some circumstances this may be a group that would benefit from additional support."
Robert Carlyle
Senior Director, Royal Bank of Canada