It’s no secret that HR departments across the world are sitting on data treasure troves with the potential to inform the direction of the business if opened and used correctly. Data is any HR’s most important asset. It can be used to improve decision-making, make employees happier and optimise processes no matter how ingrained they are. Basically, it can add a colossal amount of value to any company if utilised intelligently. This claim can be made because data is at the heart of every decision a business makes; if analysed correctly, past mistakes can be avoided, and the future of the business can be shaped. Rather than employing the hamster wheel effect of repeating set processes that are tried and tested, why not use data and analytics to pave a new path in your business, especially considering the evolution of businesses in this digital age.
The Importance of Employee Data
Although data is imperative to the improvement of almost every aspect of a business, we are going to focus on how data can contribute to creating a happier workforce. In recent years, there has been a massive focus on improving employee wellbeing. With the average UK worker spending over 82,000 hours at work over the course of their lifetime, it’s critical that these labour hours are nurtured. Companies are gradually learning to acknowledge this statistic, rather than deny its existence, and what it means for their business if those 82,000 hours are spent wisely. Studies after studies demonstrate the causal link between a boost in employee wellbeing and productivity; something every business constantly needs to improve. If you would like to read more about this, click here to view a previous blog of mine dives into this issue.
In many companies, HR data is currently being used to monitor standard KPI’s such as absenteeism. With development in analytical tools and technologies, employee data can be used intelligently to benefit your business in ways that are more advanced than standard KPI monitoring. Data can be used to improve employee wellbeing in a whole host of ways, including making better HR decisions, gaining a deeper understanding of employees and improving director’s decision-making processes when it comes to employee issues. Ultimately this contributes to the improvement of overall business strategy, and employee wellbeing.
According to thinktank Accenture (link), almost eight in every ten business leaders surveyed said using workforce data will help them grow their existing business. The minefield of GDPR guidelines and restrictions must always be honoured; the individual rights of employees are a potential barrier to data collection. The stakes are high: the growth rate between losing and gaining employee trust is 12.5% depending on how data collection is tackled. If used correctly, there are clearly huge rewards to be gained as many view data collections in a more positive light rather than a breach of their privacy.
In 2018, Accenture reported that 92% of 10,000 employees surveyed are open to the collection of data on them in exchange for an improvement in their productivity, their wellbeing and any other benefits that could be gained.
Importantly, this figure did not fluctuate much country to country, demonstrating the universal acceptance of data collection as a potential force of good, rather than evil. Although data collection can be legally and ethically challenging, it undoubtedly adds real value to your company in the form of workforce happiness and productivity, optimisation of procedures and improvement of critical decisions.
It is unsurprising why so many businesses have started focusing on their treasure trove of data and what it could mean for the future of their business. Many companies have used new sources of workplace data to unleash higher levels of performance, unlocking trapped value in the business and, most importantly, improving the lives of employees. In the era of analytics and free data tools at our disposal, companies are transforming data into insights. So, why aren’t you? These insights can shed light on several different areas of employee wellbeing such as: predicting when employees will leave, where to recruit top candidates from, how to identify and attract those candidates, and most importantly, how to keep them happy once they become employees. This is undoubtedly critical information for any HR department in employee engagement and retention.
The Rise of Intelligent HR
Intelligent HR, aka. Data-driven HR has become a buzz phrase for the way HR departments are shifting towards people management using data. The numbers gathered from data analysis dictate where budgets are best spent, using all the tools already at the HR team’s disposal: data, sensors, analytics and even AI. A perfect example of this is Google; a global company with one of the biggest focuses on employee wellbeing. Offering employees offices with nap pods, three free meals a day, generous holiday allowance, space to grow their own fruit and vegetables and even laundry facilities, they’ve truly positioned themselves as an omnibenevolent employer. Crucially, has this been successful in increasing employee satisfaction? Crowned the top company to work for eight out of the past eleven years, they’re clearly getting something right. Google’s HR departments have used the data at their fingertips and identified the key to their employees happiness, make them feel rich without even thinking about money. Besides, who needs money when almost everything you would usually pay for is free?
Of course, a HR department should not just be solely focussed on data and numbers, but there is a colossal amount of reward to be gained when data is used intelligently. The role of a HR team should be constantly evolving to adapt to the digital climate. There is always value to be added to a business, and intelligent HR is clearly a viable method in developing the business through improving the wellbeing of a workforce.