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How HR Can Use Employee Data to Create a Better Workplace Experience

published13 days ago
5 min read

Having written about and studied workplace trends for over a decade now, I’ve seen just how quickly the concept of employee experience (EX) can evolve. Compared to even just a few years ago, today’s workers expect so much more from their employers, from greater flexibility to better support for their well-being, especially their mental health.

I know most leaders would agree that keeping up with ever-changing employee expectations is a priority for their organization, but this is easier said than done. The fact is, how we define a great employee experience will always be evolving — and this presents a real challenge to business leaders, especially those in Human Resources.

That’s because with so many different touchpoints making up each employee’s experience at work, it can be immensely difficult to make sense of it all. And this means leaders will also likely struggle to identify key trends and patterns that should be informing their long-term decision-making around EX.

I’ve spoken with dozens of HR leaders about this challenge, and they all say the same thing: being able to analyze employee data is key to unlocking a better EX. Doing so allows you to develop a holistic view of your workforce, uncover historical trends, overlap significant events, and enable predictive modeling. This in turn lets you to make adjustments that will have a measurable impact on EX for your people.

Despite these benefits, many companies aren’t gathering enough employee data or leveraging this data in any meaningful way. Some leaders may be hesitant to ask for personal information from their workforce, but most studies have shown that this fear is largely unfounded. For example, research from isolved found that 77% of employees are comfortable with their employer examining personal data if it means a better employee experience.

Even among HR leaders who are gathering the right information, they may find themselves overwhelmed with unending streams of data that are essentially unusable beyond surface-level metrics. What they may not know is that there are robust, cost-effective tools designed precisely to manage the task of analyzing and interpreting employee data, for example isolved's Predictive People Analytics solution.

HR leaders may also not realize how these tools can help them connect the dots between different elements of EX in incredibly insightful ways, whether it’s to drive immediate workplace decisions or inform long-term planning. That’s why in today’s article, I’m going to describe 5 ways HR Leaders can (and should!) be using employee data to create a better experience for their people — let’s take a look.

How collecting employee data can help HR leaders improve EX

There’s a wide range of employee data you might gather, some of which is fairly commonplace: length of employment, performance, compensation, educational / training history, and key socio-demographic information. But there are other types of employee data that could help you identify ways to improve EX as well; for example, commuting distance, work habits, and remote versus on-site work status. Here are just a few examples of how these types of data can enable smarter decision-making around EX.

1. It can help you support your people and improve their performance.
With the right performance data, you can easily pinpoint consistent dips in productivity during certain times of the year — for example, during the summer or around the winter holidays. Or you may be able to identify an unusual change in productivity among one of your top performers that could signal a personal issue going on in their life.

This type of information presents you with an opportunity to better support your team members and maintain more consistent performance levels. During those slower times of the year, you might want to offer more schedule flexibility and ensure that workloads are reasonable. If you find that an individual is struggling, having a one-on-one conversation with them will allow you to come up with ideas for how best to assist them.

2. It can uncover specific issues with the day-to-day employee experience.
A recent article described how a restaurant manager might find through employee data that all the female servers are clocking out 15 minutes early when they work at night. The manager could reasonably assume that something is causing these servers to leave early. For example, perhaps the parking lot lights shut off before their clock-out times and they don’t want to walk to their cars alone in the dark.

Being able to identify these types of trends can help you pinpoint ways to improve EX that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. And remedying these issues — even if they seem small or insignificant at first glance — can cumulatively have a sizeable impact on your people’s overall experience working for your business, not to mention their productivity.

3. It can help your company bolster employees’ career progression.
It can be easy to overlook high-performing employees if they aren’t assertive or demanding about advancing their career. But remember, just because an employee doesn’t ask for a promotion, it doesn’t mean they don’t want one. And with so many organizations struggling with talent shortages right now, I think there’s never been a better time to reexamine how a strong focus on internal mobility can help your company thrive.

With the right solution, HR leaders can easily drill down into the data and identify employees who should be promoted into more senior roles — for example, those who have completed additional training, delivered a high level of performance, or demonstrated leadership capabilities in the past. Giving your staff these opportunities can also go a long way toward boosting morale, especially among workers who feel they’ve been overlooked.

4. It can help you make sense of high turnover rates and address the root causes.
Although the vast majority of businesses track their turnover rates, there’s much more that HR leaders could be doing with this information. Examining turnover rates at a macro-level can help you identify who is leaving your company at a higher-than-average rate, whether that’s individuals on certain teams, those who work remotely, or those who identify with specific genders or races/ethnicities.

With this information in-hand, you can then come up with solutions to address the underlying causes. Unusually high quit rates in one department could indicate the need for additional managerial training. Abnormal turnover among certain demographic groups might point to cultural problems that could be improved through DE&I efforts. And of course, by addressing these issues you’ll also be improving your EX — a win-win scenario.

5. It can help you retain your best talent through salary analysis and predictive retention.
There’s no denying that receiving a fair salary contributes a great deal toward an employee’s overall experience with their employer. Various studies have found that employees who feel they are underpaid (or paid unfairly compared to their peers) are less motivated at work and more likely to seek out employment elsewhere.

The ability to see aggregate salary data — not only within your organization, but also across other companies and industries — can help ensure that your company is offering marketable and equitable wages. Predictive retention functionality can also play a key role in helping you retain talent, by allowing you to model how giving employees a certain raise would affect their retention in the future.

Navigating a new course toward better EX

The vast majority of companies say they’re prioritizing EX, and many are gathering employee data in some form. However, leaders need be able to interpret this data in a meaningful way if they want to make changes that will drive lasting impact for their workforce. That’s where a best-in-class AI-based tool comes in, like isolved’s Predictive People Analytics solution. It’s the difference between flying blind to charting a course toward proactive human capital management — and that’s a direction I think all HR leaders should be aiming for.

Thanks for reading — be sure to join the conversation on LinkedIn and let me know your thoughts on this topic!