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Using data signals to understand your team

Communication | Benefits

Posted on: Wednesday August 03, 2022

by Julie Stayte, Chief People Officer

We live in the age of information and data is a lucrative billion-dollar industry. Big data, small data – all data is valuable. Why? Because our data is who we are. The monetization of data has created a demand and a reliable revenue stream for the insurmountable amounts of data we now generate.  

Everyone has the potential to leave their mark, to make some tangible, quantifiable impact. In the time before writing things down, long before the technology we take for granted, there was oral tradition. People’s stories, legends and histories (their data) would be passed down in whichever fragmentary form they took to the next through the spoken word. How could people separate fact from fiction? They didn’t, they couldn’t, or it was extremely difficult to do so. Today we have boundless technology that allows us to collect and accurately store data that allows for informed decision-making. 

In summary, data is all around us, whether we like it or not it’s being collected. Together, machines and humans are analyzing and deciphering various data points and using them to tell a story. The question in this week’s blog; what can you learn from the data on your people and how can you use it to deliver a winning wellbeing strategy?  

Employee data  

By law there are limits to the data that employers can collect on their employees, that’s not news. These laws serve to protect both employees and employers alike for there is relevant and irrelevant data. The special contract that exists between these parties is based on a common understanding that’s also legally bound. Great leadership entails following one's gut (when it's reliable), but it's best practice to back up one's views with factual information and insights.  

Harnessing employee data for good  

Most if not all employers will collect personal data, the depth and degree will vary by organisation but even the most basic data points: age, sex and education and qualifications are powerful to know. Using this data employers can decipher a census and begin to enact positive change accordingly. Focusing on the fundamentals, employers may discover that their workforce:

  1. Is made up of mostly one gender

It’s common knowledge that certain industries are traditional strong holds for certain genders. The transport and logistics sector tends to be male dominated. If you operate a business in this sector or another such as construction, you’re statistically likely to have a mostly male workforce. Deriving value from those insights, it’s imperative you deploy wellbeing initiatives based upon a strategy that recognizes and factors in their specific needs. Equally, if you look at the data and find that your staff are mostly female, it makes sense to also factor this in accordingly. Specific initiatives to support women at every stage of their lives are a good way to demonstrate that support. Menopause awareness is growing and with it the understanding that it can be highly disruptive to a woman’s life. Awareness diminishes stigma. Improving diversity and inclusion is firmly on the agendas of forward-thinking employers, meaning we’ll hopefully have fewer gender dominated sectors.

It’s also vital to consider and make room for employees that are non-binary and gender non-conforming as their specific needs will also vary. Thoughtful and carefully considered wellbeing strategies require data.

  1. Is multi-generational

Today’s multi-generational workforce is comprised of five generations – Maturists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, Generation Y (or Millennials), and an increasing amount of Generation Z. Each generation by definition will have different expectations and requirements from their employers.

Every year thousands of graduates and school leavers join the workforce whilst thousands retire at the other end meaning businesses will have ever-changing workforces. Staying abreast of upcoming changes is essential for prudent people planning. Additionally, this data is vital for driving recruitment efforts and the introduction of any employee benefits programmes. Using demographic data, people leaders can create the balance that is the foundation of a harmonious and productive workforce.

Through the data and beyond

Aside from the basic personal data most employers collect, there is a breadth of ways to collect additional data. Surveys and specific focus groups are popular and relatively easy ways to collect both qualitative and quantitative data. Having taken the time to collect employee data be it minimal or extensive, success lies in how an organisation is able to derive actionable, measurable insights that will help the company move towards greater efficiency and success. Collecting and ignoring data is a sure way to waste time and resources.

Personal Group designs data-driven employee benefits solutions that aim to improve the daily lives of employees. Contact one of our benefits experts for more on this.

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