This is an excerpt of a post that originally appeared on Career Builder on March 20, 2015.
“Big Data” and “analytics” are hot business buzzwords these days, which may cause some people to doubt their value or get overwhelmed at the idea of employing them — neither of which is a wise course of action. Companies have a wealth of data at their disposal, and the ability to generate additional data to address questions that arise in the decision-making process.
The key is to consider that data alongside your business strategy and use it to help you move closer to your goals. HR leaders should always be reflecting back on their desired business outcomes and asking whether their current practices, policies and programs are helping them get there.
Consider these five ways you can use data to understand your employees better and drive business decisions that help you achieve your goals.
Redesign Your Retirement Plan
I worked at Scripps Networks Interactive when it was first spun off from its parent company, EW Scripps. We learned the new company’s workforce profile was strikingly different from that of the larger company it came from. Scripps Networks had a much younger workforce made up of people who worked for shorter tenures and higher demand skillsets.
We learned that by looking at HR demographic and activity data on attrition, career mobility and retirement. And we learned from employee preference data gathered through a benefits survey that those employees overall did not place a lot value on having a pension benefit.
We needed to redesign the company’s retirement plan to make it a more competitive benefit that would help us attract and retain valuable employees. That redesign involved making a more portable benefit that yielded employees more choice and flexibility.
Reallocate Your Wellness Spending
Like many companies, one of Scripps Networks’ biggest spends was employee health and wellness benefits. We wanted to make sure we were getting the most out of that spend and delivering great value to our employees with it. Examining activity data from our vendors, we found we had a very competitive benefits plan, but there were things we could do to deliver more value to employees.
One big change we made was in how we spent our wellness dollars. After years of handing out pedometers and hosting walking challenges, we knew there had to be a way to offer some options and engage employees who didn’t like walking. Again, we looked at HR demographic data and HR activity data as well as an employee survey.
Armed with that knowledge, we decided to provide employees with a menu of choices for how they could spend their wellness dollars. Each employee received a voucher to put toward a wellness activity of their choosing, such as a gym membership, fitness classes or Weight Watchers.
Rework Your Learning and Development Strategy
As ING (Voya) was working to execute its strategy in the US, the leadership team also mapped out the skills and competencies we’d need to drive the company forward. Then we redesigned our corporate learning and development strategy to help employees develop those skills and competencies.
As employees engaged in these learning and development experiences, we tracked their performance and competency levels and used the data to monitor how we were advancing toward our goals. We continued to monitor our tactics and a related training programs and used the data we gathered to adjust and make them more effective.
Want to know my other two tips for using HR data to drive business decisions? Visit Career Builder to read the rest of this post.
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