Monday, March 14, 2011

Don't Just Survey Your Employees: Link Your Data!

I read an excellent article from March 2011's edition of HR Magazine this weekend, entitled, "Prepare for Impact" by Kathryn Tyler. (Membership SHRM National Required to view, insert sad face here...sorry!).

I really was excited to see this article in the magazine as it is a topic not only that I have been passionate about but one that I think is garnering much needed attention to the subject.

The article discusses the importance of using employee engagement data in a far different way than it has typically been used. In the past, we have surveyed our employees, we have broadcasted the results, and we MAY or MAY NOT have taken action on the data.

The article discusses the importance of using and leveraging your engagement data to understand what drives financial results in your organization. In the article, Tyler says there are several puzzle pieces that must fit together so that you can leverage the data:

1. Choosing the metrics to link to employee engagement
2. Determining the logistics of the research
3. Sharing results of the research with employees to create an action plan to achieve improvements.

An example from the article sites Starwood Hotels and Resorts. The global hotel chain linked its engagement data to its guest experience data understanding exactly what drives financial results for the company. If you know what behaviors are driving guest loyalty and revenues, you can focus your investments and priorities making sure those behaviors exist and continue.

What a concept! As we have discussed in this blog before, you can conduct this linkage pretty easily with the tools you have on your desktop. PhD's not needed.

If you are going down the linkage path, here are some tips to remember:
  1. Make sure you link to the right metrics. Look at your industry and company and make sure that you understand what drives your revenue and/or what impacts your strategic execution.
  2. Make sure your data is reliable and valid. This is one of the hardest areas for most HR professionals. When it comes to data hygiene HR hasn't been the best.
  3. Look at how you will be analyzing your data. Data is everywhere in your company. To be able to look at data system wide you have to have a unit of comparison. Whether that unit is by department or by location. You have to compare apples to apples.
  4. Tell a compelling story. Don't just do a show and tell of ALL of you cool data. Paint a picture on what you found out and what it means to YOUR AUDIENCE.
  5. Follow through on your observations and recommendations with action plans that hold managers and employees accountable for change.
Tell me how you are using your engagement data...

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