The term “data” is likely enough to make most people cringe. What we’ll be chatting about in this blog isn’t anything overly complicated and won’t be related to “big” data. As should be the case with data, it’s about using information that you have to make better decisions for your organization. From an HR perspective, a few items that can be tracked relatively simply include turnover rate, average length of service, average time to fill vacancies, etc. If your turnover rate is quite high (let’s say 40% per year), you’ll likely want to look at ways to lower this rate, as the cost of recruiting new employees – advertising positions, onboarding and training, and the cost of lost productivity when an employee quits – can all add up. Now, a high turnover rate may not necessarily be significant cause for concern if you can hire and train new employees quite easily and at a low cost. In addition to the above, a few ways to collect data include the following:

  • Exit interviews. This information can be collected/reviewed/themed and used to make decisions moving forward. For instance, if most exiting employees state that one of the reasons they are quitting is because of the poor benefits plan offered by the organization (ie. they are moving to an organization that has a more comprehensive benefits offering), then you may want to adjust your total rewards strategy.
  • Stay interviews. While exit interviews can be valuable, conducting stay interviews can be of significant benefit to your organization. These interviews let you know what is keeping people around. Maybe employees feel that they are challenged in their work. If this is the case, you will likely want to continue to focus efforts on work activities that challenge employees. As well, there is an opportunity through these interviews to determine those things that may make an employee want to leave. For example, it may be identified that if employees didn’t have any flexibility in their work start/end time, it may cause them to leave. Of course you’ll want to continue to make flexible work days available (ex. 8am – 5pm or 9am – 6pm), as this is clearly a retention tool.
  • Employee Engagement surveys. Somewhat along the same theme as stay interviews, conducting occasional employee engagement surveys can provide you with helpful information. You may be inferring one thing about your workforce, but the data may show something completely different. For example, you may believe that your staff are generally happy with the leadership in your organization, but results may show that only 60% of people are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with overall leadership. Results from engagement surveys can be communicated and then acted on in order to increase the level of employee engagement in your organization. As well, you’ll have good benchmark data to compare to the next time that you conduct this survey.

These are just a few examples of HR data that can be used to create an environment of continuous improvement. Data doesn’t have to be big and complicated; it can be relatively simple yet can provide the information that you need in order for your business to be successful and to grow.

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