Employee data is one of the most powerful tools at your company’s disposal – it reveals underutilized office talent, evaluates the efficacy of your hiring and training programs and highlights trends in overall employee productivity – all of which translates into the same thing: time, manpower and money saved for your business.

But if your HR department is merely collecting data without putting it to good use, you could be missing a great opportunity. In today’s data-driven economy, it’s vital that your company understands how to capitalize on its existing (and incoming) employee data. This will allow you to make smarter, more cost effective decisions about everything from hiring to building benefits programs targeting employee pain points.

Here’s how to make your employees’ data your company’s most powerful tool:

1. Properly utilizing employee data paints a comprehensive picture of your workforce and saves money
Employee data refers to all information collected by your company about its employees. It includes but is not limited to: basic identifying information (your employees’ age, race or gender) as well as in-depth information about workplace performance.  If you provide employees with benefits from third-party providers, you might also have access to additional employee information regarding retirement planning and healthcare expenses or financial wellness. Your company most likely tracks:

  • Employees’ work status (part time, full time, contract, freelance, etc.)
  • Employee attendance records
  • Commuting distance and method
  • Amount and history of compensation
  • Length of employment
  • Overall performance

If you provide employees with benefits from third-party providers, you might also have access to additional employee information regarding retirement planning and healthcare expenses or financial wellness.

2. Employee data is most beneficial when used holistically
Looking at data from one employee may not provide significant insight. But when employee data is viewed holistically, it can identify patterns of growth and loss. Similarly, you can often determine which new hires are destined for leadership positions by tracking performance, raises and overall involvement in company culture. For a company with 500 or fewer employees, a bad hire who quits prematurely or doesn’t fit with company culture can cost around $11,000, and this cost only grows as the size of your workforce increases. By simply analyzing the employee data resources you already possess, you can predict patterns of attrition while minimizing costs.

3. If you’re using employee data well, your employees will be much happier
Keeping employees happy while at work keeps productivity high and turnover low. Happiness might be difficult to measure, but your level of employee engagement isn’t. Regular data collection in the form of employee surveys, exit interviews and performance reviews help HR assess what employees need to succeed at work. Offering a tailored benefits program, more experienced and engaged management, increased collaboration and out-of-work support systems can make priceless improvements in your employees’ happiness. Understand what your employees need and provide just that to create a more enjoyable and more productive office environment.

4. A lack of confidentiality is not an option
If you collect employee data, you need to have a plan in place to protect it. Ensure that personal employee information such as medical records or sensitive identifiers (health and financial wellness, social security numbers, addresses) are well guarded. Look for third-party benefits providers who can anonymize sensitive information. HR platforms that are able to harness anonymized data in the form of employee opinions and benefits usage (how many people are using medical, retirement, or financial services), are often the best at identifying patterns in employee behavior. Keeping sensitive information anonymous allows your employees to feel confident that their personal information won’t be known to their management teams and coworkers.

5. Have a plan in place to protect employee data before you need one.
Sixty-four percent of Americans have experienced a breach in their personal data, according to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center. Of those affected, 55 percent reported missing time from work to deal with the breach and the stress of losing sensitive information. With so much potential for data leaks, security hacks and cyberattacks, your HR and IT departments need to work together to protect valuable employee information. Encryption and firewalls are crucial first-steps, but it’s actually your own employees who are your first line of defense, yet often the weakest security link. Hosting workshops with IT professionals will bring your workforce up to speed. Losing data puts both the company and individual employee at risk.

In order to attract and retain the right talent, your company needs to take an active role in collecting and utilizing employee data – for the purpose of improving the overall work experience. In many cases, the needed data is already at HR’s fingertips – it’s just a question of using it in the right way.

Best Money Moves believes that an employees personal information should be respected, private and not shared with employers, marketers, or creditors. As a result, Best Money Moves keeps no sensitive employee data in its system. All information that is kept is encrypted, and unable to be accessed by HR or any other employee.