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4 people data mistakes you’re making in the employee lifecycle

We all have good intentions when it comes to people data. We buy HR software, collaborate with stakeholders to create initiatives, and encourage employees to fill out surveys. And yet… we’re still afraid of it.

But if we move past the main reasons for our fear – legal concerns, distrust, and privacy – there’s still a prevailing issue: we don’t really know what to do about it. That’s concerning, especially since employees want to work for companies that make people-first, data-driven decisions about internal and external matters.

But to do better, we need to pinpoint exactly where we’re going wrong. Ready to pull off the band-aid? Below are four common mistakes teams make when it comes to people data. Luckily, once you target these issues, you’ll start working towards a better employee experience and stronger employee lifecycle.

1. You’re not gathering information during the onboarding process

One of the top reasons candidates choose to accept an open role is the chemistry they have with their prospective manager. The issue there is, in a volatile economy and rapidly changing job market, people move to new positions all the time. The solution? Collect pertinent data in the onboarding process.

Simply put, a robust onboarding process – which includes gathering information to help support new hires in their first 90 days and beyond – signals your values and investment in your people. Furthermore, by tracking your onboarding in tangible ways, you’ll understand why your new hire and manager clicked in the first place, and use that information to create stronger employee experiences across the board. And the better your employee experience, the higher your retention rate.

Alternatively, if you don’t collect the right data during your onboarding process, your new hires could be among the 33% who quit their job within the first 90 days.

While there’s various pieces of information you can collect during the first few weeks of your onboarding process, consider adding the following to your strategy:

Self-ID data

Encourage new hires to fill out self-ID forms (remember, these campaigns should be voluntary) to help measure DEIB efforts across your organization. For example, you can use this information to better plan your employee resource groups and holiday celebrations.

‘How to Manage Me’ forms

When new hires share how they best like to be managed – such as receiving praise or needing help goal-setting – they’re more likely to feel supported by leaders. If your organization sees steady workforce changes, this practice helps reduce risk and uncertainty for your people.

‘Get-to-know-me’ information

Other pieces of information – like t-shirt size and dietary restrictions – help you plan welcome packages, personalized social events, and on-site experiences for new hires.

2. You’re not tracking the right metrics

It’s easy to get bogged down by day-to-day tasks and forget big-picture strategy. But in stressful times, people often work in the business instead of on the business.

When you work on the business, you focus on your overarching people strategy and track metrics to help ensure employees feel supported in reaching their goals. You need to track employee data throughout your entire employee lifecycle to help make the right decisions and plan future initiatives.

Consider collecting the following data, but if this task seems too daunting, determine which part of your employee lifecycle needs the most improvement and start there.

Attraction and recruitment: Track your recruitment efforts to assess how much time, money, and resources you’re investing. In this stage, calculate Time to Fill and Cost per Hire.

Onboarding

The data you collect in this stage isn’t only a reflection of your new hires, but a reflection of your onboarding process. It’s therefore important to calculate time-to-productivity and new-hire-turnover to determine potential changes for the future.

Development

After your employees’ first 90 days, it’s important to collect a variety of data points – such as the employee net promoter score (eNPS), engagement surveys, and promotion rates – to analyze employee satisfaction and areas in need of further improvement.

Retention

In order to keep your top talent, you’ll want to track employee retention rates, turnover rates, and engagement rates to pinpoint any potential risks down the line.

Separation

While people’s reasons for leaving your organization may differ, it’s important to track responses to discover themes to help make your employee experience even better.

3. You’re not using data to develop your people

One of the biggest challenges with data isn’t in collecting it. It’s actually in using that data to make a change.

Therefore, one of the smartest moves you can make is to invest in your greatest asset: your people. To make people-first decisions, use your data to pinpoint areas of weakness and sources of strength. Next, plan initiatives to help create a stronger employee experience and retain top talent.

Some places to start are:

Identifying skills gaps

Many people leave their organization due to lack of development and career advancement – and to use a more specific example, 58% of tech workers cite skills development as their top motivator when choosing a new company. When you understand individual employees’ skills gaps, you can proactively offer professional development opportunities.

Furthermore, understanding the team’s skills gaps helps inform headcount planning scenarios so you can hire the best fit. In the end, you’ll have a well-rounded team, ready to collaborate and tackle any challenge ahead.

Tracking individual performance plans.

If only executives are privy to your people data, you’re missing out on empowering your managers. By granting middle managers certain access to their team’s data, you can enable them to track performance plans and OKR progress to better support their people.

Creating succession plans

You’re bound to experience expected and unexpected departures from your workforce, so it’s best to have plans in place so business is disrupted as little as possible. Luckily, you can use your people data to determine who has or needs the skill sets to become potential successors.

4. You’re not continuously analyzing your people data

You’ve collected the data. You’ve implemented your findings. Now what?

You guessed it: time to dive back into your data, regularly and often. It makes sense. How else would you really know if your initiatives are working or conditions are improving?

However, just because it makes sense doesn’t mean it always happens. In fact, out of 5,000 People leaders surveyed by Sapient Insights Group in 2021, 0% said they looked at diversity, equity, and inclusion metrics monthly. Yes, you read that right. Zero. This, in spite of the moral imperative that drives the majority of businesses according to a Workable survey on DEI also in 2021.

Therefore, in order to make data-driven and people-first decisions, develop a regular cadence to look over your metrics. Once you develop this habit, you’ll see a resounding difference in the impact you make on your entire organization.

Use your people data to create a stronger organization

It’s easy to make mistakes when it comes to your people data. Unfortunately, these errors – not collecting information during onboarding, tracking the wrong metrics, letting them go unused, and looking at data sporadically – put more than just your employee experience at risk.

When you don’t prioritize your data throughout the employee lifecycle, you also jeopardize your organization. And as we know, negative experiences can lead to disengagement, attrition, and missed goals, especially if you find issues in multiple stages of your employee lifecycle.

However, by implementing the tips above, you’ll be on your way to using your metrics effectively and make people-first, data-driven decisions to help your organization thrive.

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