If you were asked to find employee data or insights right now, how long would it take you?

A few minutes? A day? A week? Worryingly, a recent survey found that 60% of HR teams have to spend up to a week or more to gain access to this data. Even worse is the fact that 10% have to wait more than a month to access it. Incredibly, 8% can’t access it at all.

Difficulties finding employee data and insights can be detrimental to an organisation’s real-time decision making. It also has a direct impact on employee retention rates. Why so? Let’s say you needed to understand the key points discussed during an employee’s last performance review – but it took a month to see that information. That employee could then decide to leave the organisation during that time. If the team could have accessed the data instantly – via logging the information in a central place with all other employee insights – then any issues with that employee could have been identified and rectified quickly.

It’s clear that there’s a direct correlation between employee data and an organisation’s productivity and retention. So, why are so many HR professionals restricted by a lack of real-time data? It comes down to spreadsheet hell and the fact that many – half, in fact – still log data on paper or spreadsheets. This suggests an inability to react or implement changes in real time, in addition to the inability to strategise and plan accurately.

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Are you in spreadsheet purgatory?

Finding the right spreadsheet, document or paper file is incredibly time consuming. It leaves HRs in limbo – they can’t find that piece of key information, but they also can’t carry on with the tasks they need to. It wastes time and can be very frustrating.

Because of this, it’s surprising that so many HRs stay in spreadsheet purgatory for so long. But this isn’t a problem solely limited to HR teams. In fact, research has found that more than 50% of office professionals spend more time searching for files than on work. For HR teams in particular, that time can be utilised elsewhere, especially at a time when retaining employees is harder than ever before.

So what’s the answer? It comes down to embracing scalable systems that provide all the performance, engagement and development insights in one place. Without this, pulse surveys, performance management data, and awards and recognition will be all over the place and much harder to analyse. This can also lead to difficult, inaccurate data.

Worryingly, a recent survey found that almost half of HR professionals aren’t confident in the accuracy of their employee performance, engagement and development data. In HR, visibility breeds confidence. So, it’s no surprise that HR teams aren’t confident if their data is spread out in various places.

The bottom line

New Year is a time to reflect on the past 12 months and daydream about what the next year will bring. If getting rid of spreadsheets is what you daydream about, then now is the time to set the wheels in motion. For 2024 in particular, there’s a real opportunity to elevate the importance of real-time insights and decision making, especially when it comes to improving retention rates.

However, the whole organisation needs to be brought into this mission, it can’t just be HRs shouting into the void and asking for change. Making the case for better HR data management is paramount and involves showing the impact of HR across the whole business. Every employee will be positively impacted by this change, and the role of HR teams will get a lot less manual.

Just imagine: a 2024 without hunting for employee insights.

Authored by Mark Seemann, CEO of StaffCircle

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