How to Put Your Employee Engagement Data to Work

HR analytics produces large amounts of insightful employee engagement data, filled with potential insight into employee attitudes, morale, retention rates, and more. Even so, it’s often difficult to explain how employee engagement affects business outcomes and solves company problems. For many outside HR, the influence of employee engagement is poorly understood, making convincing C-level executives of the need for investment in engagement a challenging prospect.

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Linking employee engagement to key business outcomes makes it much easier to demonstrate the effect of engagement on business priorities. To get the most out of your employee engagement data, take the following steps:

Understand the Business

Data that’s important to HR rarely reflects the data driving business outcomes. While HR focuses on retention, headcounts, time-to-hire, cost-to-hire, and employee engagement data, the larger business values data on revenue, profits and losses, customer satisfaction, cost-per-unit, etc. Each business has its own core metrics. Understand your company’s metrics and how employee engagement data influences those priorities.

Link Employee Engagement Data to other Sources

Employee engagement data alone can’t explain how engagement affects business results. To be effective, engagement data needs to be combined with data from the business’ enterprise resource planning system, performance management system, and other systems gathering data on the company’s core metrics.

Locate all this data in a single analytics system that allows you to develop data visualizations and identify opportunities, pain points, and achievements. The goal is to connect employee engagement data to performance management, profits, and other large-picture business concerns.

Identify Engagement Issues

Linking employee engagement data to other data sets can reveal engagement issues that previously flew under the radar. Dig into the data to determine the cause of such issues and how resolving the issue affects business goals. Why does one department have low engagement and high turnover rates while a second is doing well? How does this affect the company’s bottom line or customer satisfaction?

Answer Questions

Use employee engagement data to ask questions, and evaluate how the answers affect the company’s bigger picture. Deconstruct your answer to make sure it holds up–you may need to ask follow-up questions or develop alternative explanations. The answer you develop becomes a data story you tell to management, so be sure the tale is both accurate and compelling.

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Create Business Value

HR needs the help of the company’s pivotal decision makers to secure investment in employee engagement. To do so, you need to prove engagement data creates business value. Every proposal you make should lead back to core metrics. If improved employee engagement reduces turnover rates, provide the amount the business could save on hiring new talent, onboarding, and training. What effect does higher engagement have on customer satisfaction, and how does that translate to profitability? Provide hard figures proving engagement improves business priorities, and company leaders will take engagement seriously.