How data can help you shape your Employee Experience

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The new year kicked off on a rather somber note, with uncertainty about returning to the office, fear of every new COVID variant, and a flurry of exits in what’s been dubbed ‘the Great Resignation’. With remote and hybrid workforces becoming the new normal, employees have a wider range of jobs to choose from now, without the limitations of physical location and access. According to the EX 2021 Pandemic Playback survey we conducted, people rated work-life balance and growth opportunities as their topmost priorities when looking for a new job. Employees that feel frustrated with cumbersome processes, lack of growth or inefficient systems are stepping back into the job market, to find a much larger playing field than before. 

That’s exactly why creating a good Employee Experience is more important than ever! Employers need to focus on every interaction that can impact their employee's wellbeing and ensure that each and everyone feels valued, respected, and supported

Fortunately, workplaces have evolved significantly over the months. While the bottom line continues to be the primary focus, companies have realized that output and results depend heavily on how engaged, motivated and happy their employees are. EX has claimed its place in the spotlight.

And as our understanding of EX becomes more nuanced, we need to be able to access and 'read' data for a fresh perspective on how we can use it to create a better experience, across the entire employee lifecycle.

Here are just some of the basic things you can do to use your data more effectively:

1. Connect the dots

Collecting data from employees right from the candidate stage has become common practice. We know so much about people today - their skills, ambitions, family background, hobbies - all of this information cannot just sit in a CV anymore. It should ideally be digitized and accessible by people managers at every stage of their planning process.

Especially for companies with an HR tech stack consisting of multiple specialized solutions, different types of data about one single individual probably sits on multiple platforms - e.g. payroll, time management, goal setting. To unlock the true value of this data, we have to make sure that relevant information can be shared seamlessly and efficiently across interconnected departments, functions, teams and, technology platforms. The bigger picture will only reveal itself when data flows freely and is connected. 

The first benefit of this is genuine, timely and nuanced insights into employee behavior, aspirations, concerns and, progress. The second benefit is the ability to then zoom out to see the overall EX 'health' of each team, department, location, country, and the company as a whole in terms of engagement rate, turnover rate, salary base, overall progress, etc. 

This kind of unprecedented visibility is what will truly move the needle on EX going forward.

2. Take the burden off

While collecting data is essential to creating great EX, it should not be a cumbersome task for employees. Data collection through different platforms and teams finally puts the onus on your employees, forcing them to make multiple entries in different forms, often duplicating data and decreasing engagement with the employees.

Make data collection a smart, continuous and natural process, without disrupting the employee's day-to-day functions and causing undue frustration.

3. Help them grow

The Great Resignation has been called many things - The Great Reshuffle, The Great Realization, The Great Onboarding, The Great Change-up. Many talented, ambitious employees are re-evaluating their careers and looking for work that is better aligned with their personal ambitions and can offer them growth opportunities. With many workplaces going remote or hybrid, geographical barriers have disappeared, giving promising, talented and valued candidates so many more options.

L&D managers have it hard because they now need to create an environment that can fulfill diverse learning needs and keep up with the growing hunger for better and better opportunities within the workplace. Without access to data, this is a near impossible task. The right information about employees can lead to customized learning journeys based on individual preferences. In addition to this, a data-driven approach will help create a smooth and seamless training experience, with the right information being delivered at the right moment, contextual pulse surveys and, gamified content that can keep engagement and knowledge retention rates up.

4. Take timely action

Data, once collected, needs to be continuously assessed and converted into intelligent insights so that any problem areas can be identified and addressed as soon as possible. Slow or generic insights from data often lead to frustrated employees who will leave before their employers even realize something went wrong.

Smart employee experience platforms that use data optimally, can flag concerns like decreased engagement or flight risks well in time for the employer to step in and do damage control. Leaders across the board, even non-HR folk, have highlighted the importance of this, like Guneet Singh, Head of Marketing and Creative Services, Google APAC, who said, “I’d love to know when my employees are feeling frustrated. Managers usually do have the tools to manage such a scenario but they usually don’t come to know till the employee escalates, which will be at the very end of their poor experience.”

There are so many more ways to put your data to work. While these are just the basics, getting this right will ensure you have a strong foundation on which to keep building a truly data-driven and yet human-centric Employee Experience.

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