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  • Annand Sharma

How software can help you get the best from your staff

While the pumpkin spice frenzy starts earlier each year, autumn is finally upon us and Q4 has begun. As we step into the final quarter, it's natural to assess the year's progress and contemplate the objectives for the upcoming year. As loyal subscribers, you are undoubtedly aware of our commitment to data-driven approaches. Yet, one invaluable source of data, often overlooked, is our own workforce. Each day, our employees bring forth a wealth of insights simply by walking through the door. In this exploration of the employee journey, let's discuss some data points to inform our strategic decisions.

A tablet with holographic silhouettes of people and a relational graph connecting those people to other people, emails, etc in the background


I’m new here

Many prospective employees start their journey with a job application. We covered a tech and data enabled hiring process in an earlier blog. What about the employee’s first day, first week and first month? Defining goals and empowering new hires to achieve those goals can improve their immediate impact. After all, payroll is probably the biggest line item on your P&L and that cost starts on day 1.


A well defined onboarding process which automatically grants access to various software and systems needed for the job ensures employees can get a running start. Many core HR information systems (HRIS), like BambooHR will integrate with your Applicant Tracking System (ATS) so that when an employee signs an offer and has an official start date, you can define a checklist of tools to grant the new hire access to.


Employees in certain fields, performing specialized jobs, or in certain localities will need training. This could be medical professionals needing HIPAA training or employees in CA who must go through harassment training. Software can ensure new hires go through the training. Whether you’re making that training content yourself or you can make use of content for your field, tools like Mineral, Ethena, or iSpring help your business remain compliant with relevant regulations. The same software will capture data on employee engagement with that material. Over time you can measure how engaging, effective, and impactful the training material is.


Settling in

As new hires become tenured employees there’s new data to observe. Likely the most universal piece of employee data is the performance review. Sometimes smaller teams or organizations may find the practice redundant. After all, everyone is working closely together every day. No matter the size of your team, it’s better to make sure everyone is progressing on the same goals sooner rather than later. Additionally, developing employees helps grow your business. It can be cheaper to develop talent in-house rather than always looking for new hires.


Depending on the type of work this starts with defining measurable goals or targets. Create a check-in process and use a tool like Reflektive or Culture Amp. Use these tools to track progress. If, for example, you have quarterly goals and take 5-15 minutes a month specifically to check in on those goals, you’ll learn more. You’ll start to set better goals and/or hit those goals more frequently. The proof will be in the data. These goals and frequent check-ins will make the formal performance review process much simpler. Making use of these tools will ensure management and staff are on the same page.


Beyond goals, managers want to measure employee satisfaction, engagement, and productivity without too much time or cost overhead. Periodically having employees go through training is helpful, and may even be required in some industries or states. With any of the aforementioned training platforms you can offer employees optional training for other roles in the company. Sending employees an annual net promoter score (NPS) survey through your HRIS tool (or separate survey tool) can gauge overall sentiment.


Bringing goal data, performance data, and sentiment data together you can get a picture for how all of your staff is performing. You can identify opportunities to develop new training modules, or ask happy employees to refer other folks for positions in the company. Don’t leave managers and other leaders out of this data too! Everyone’s voice matters.


Time for something new…

Turnover happens. In 2022 there were 77.2 million hires and 72.3 million separations. About 70% of those separations were employees voluntarily quitting. Gallup found that replacing an employee can cost 1.5-2x the salary of that employee.

Set up an exit or onboarding process in the HRIS system you can capture additional data on why folks are leaving. Make an effort to collect feedback from the employee on their way out. Whether they are disgruntled, or leaving peacefully, their candor can give you insight into the business.


With this data you can start to answer important questions like, why do people quit? Could you retain them? What did that exit cost the business, not just for money but what about morale?


Your new HR Tech Stack

A detailed diagram showing various HR functions and software layers to define them
TQSolutions Technology & Innovation - Optimising the Enterprise HR/Talent Tech Stack - 2021

Coming full term with the employee lifecycle there’s a new opportunity: to bring together the various HR tools we’ve been using. The ATS we used to hire our team has employee resumes and their start date. Their exit date will be captured in the payroll and HRIS system. The HR tech stack comprises software that addresses key HR touchpoints: talent management, finance and compliance, and core HR.


The glue holding it all together is your core HR management (HRM) or HR information system (HRIS). Tools like BambooHR, Rippling, or Workday. Smaller organizations can probably leverage payroll software to fill this function in the early days. As you expand you will want to upgrade to one of these.


Hiring, onboarding, training, and performance management fall within talent management. ATS software as we discussed in the past, training like Ethena and performance management like Culture Amp all fit into this area.


Payroll and benefits are the key areas in finance and compliance. Depending on your organization or industry you may need to look beyond the popular Gusto, Zenefits, or Paylocity.


Conclusion

There is data everywhere. Making sense of that data and taking action is the best way to extract value from your data. Not all of your data is actionable and some data may not even be relevant. Until you start collecting and measuring that data you won’t know which metrics apply.


This type of workforce data is not obvious at first. This data can be very valuable, but collecting it is quite sensitive. Putting a new HR process in place with high frequency can be overly burdensome while limited frequency makes the data less useful. It will be tempting to take big action on the first set of results. Unless there are critical business or legal risks, we’d suggest being cautious and not doing anything rash. If something looks out of whack, monitor it closer and double check your data gathering method.


Picking the right tools for each function is crucial here. These tools are expensive and go to the heart of your organization. These tools combined create your HR Tech Stack. Think about your business goals as it relates to your staff first, and then the data you want to gather. Implement the right tool for your business, start measuring those areas, and see what happens. With enough rigor and data, you will unlock interesting and unique findings.

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