Despite an increased focus on creating positive employee experiences, a new report by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services and sponsored by Alight Solutions reveals organizations are missing the mark when it comes to measuring employee performance and job satisfaction, largely because they are not properly collecting and utilizing valuable employee data.
In late 2020, Harvard Business Review Analytic Services surveyed 465 executives to determine how their organizations are currently using data to drive employee experiences. According to the report, “Unlocking Enterprise Value How Leadership, Culture and Data Define Profitable Employee Experiences,” 36% of respondents said that a lack of prioritization by leadership is the biggest reason why employee data isn’t being used to its full potential. Thirty-two percent of respondents said data silos/fragmentation are also hindering their organization’s ability to derive insights from employee data, which can have an adverse impact on employee engagement, productivity and retention.
“Positive employee experiences can be catalysts for business recovery and growth and not applying data-driven insights concerning the workforce is a missed opportunity for organizations looking to emerge from the pandemic in a strong position,” said Cari Wilkins, vice president of analytics at Alight. “The power of data lies in making it actionable so it can help employers positively impact the health, wealth, wellbeing and careers of their employees, which drives better business outcomes.”
There are clear opportunities for organizations to amplify the value of employee data:
- Build a business case for C-suite. When asked how much organizations prioritize data-driven insights, 77% of respondents gave their organizations a low to mediocre rating. A possible explanation is that fewer than 20% of respondents said their organization is doing a very good job of measuring outcomes tied to employee experience initiatives. To remedy this reality, organizations must ensure top executives understand how data can be used to derive insights that show the impact of employee experiences on an organization’s bottom line.
- Establish a clear data agenda. Nearly half of respondents (43%) cited poorly integrated applications/technical infrastructure as the main obstacle that prevents their organization from mining employee data for insights. Differing departmental goals (39%) and cultural resistance to sharing data (30%) are other contributing factors to data fragmentation. To align corporate goals around leveraging data, organizations should establish a clear agenda on what insights they want to derive from employee data. For example, examining health profiles in the aggregate can show how much value employees are getting from the benefits options provided to them.
- Look beyond HR data. Organizations have only just scratched the surface of data’s potential to create an engaged, more productive, and purpose-driven workforce. Seventy-one percent of respondents said HR data dominates when it comes to shaping employee experiences, but new sources like finance data and wellbeing data are emerging and revealing deeper and more nuanced insights. Organizations that connect the dots among these data points can better predict employee choices and behaviors around their health and financial wellbeing and have better line of sight into the downstream impact of those decisions.
To download the full report, “Unlocking Enterprise Value How Leadership, Culture and Data Define Profitable Employee Experiences,” click here.