Human resource professionals are often the catalyst for improving employee engagement in organizations. One of the challenges for HR professionals is the constant need for them to roll up their sleeves and focus on day-to-day operations. As it relates to employee feedback, HR professionals are often trying to collect data, build surveys, create reports…all of the things that take time away from the high impact work of changing outcomes.
There are a number of administrative hurdles that need to be overcome before the functional teams can see a payoff. Data collection can be time-consuming, particularly for respondents without access to email. If data collection can be overcome, the team next has to figure out how to analyze the data that has been collected. Often, factors are overlooked in the survey design phase even with the best of templates, which challenges the analysis phase and limit reliability and validity. Report development is the next obstacle to overcome. All leaders need data how they want it, when they want it. Once these leaders buy into the report types, the HR team then needs to focus on getting the data to the businesses so that they can collectively impact change in the organization. It takes a lot of time and investment to get to this point, which could be why HR leaders have so little time to be strategic.
Software tools can help HR professionals move from administration to consultation by offloading the administrative work and get data in the hands of the business leaders. Once leaders have an opportunity to review the data, it creates a fertile ground for HR leaders to impact change. We call this being addicted to the data.
One of the obstacles to success with data is that it exists but it is underutilized. The best way to overcome that issue and ensure leaders are paying attention to the data is to offer high impact dashboards, automate the notifications and provide business leaders with engaging visualizations on a regular basis. The data needs to be relevant to the business leaders and presented in a similar way as the rest of the data they receive. Functional leaders receive data in dashboard format, so HR professionals need a system that can automate data distribution, which saves time and sets the team up for success.
Best practices for data distribution include flexibility (giving leaders the chance to provide input to how and when they receive the data), prioritization (aligning data to success indicators in the organization) and assimilation (how does this report fit into the total amount of critical data I receive in a day?). For example, monthly push reports with 3-4 key visualizations embedded in an email or attached as a PDF can be a valuable way to engage leaders in the data. The email may include access to an interactive dashboard with which the business leader can engage if they need additional information. This process gets the business leader “hooked” or addicted to the data. The leader is now ready to understand more about what is happening in their organization and how to fix it.
HR professionals can use software tools to get their business leaders “addicted to the data,” which is a precursor to action. This strategic distribution of high impact, simple data presented in a simple way is how HR professionals can get their business leaders addicted to the data which will lead to a change in outcomes. Through this process, the HR team becomes a strategic partner–vital to strategy and a trusted business advisor to business leaders in the organization.