Data is everywhere. We are swamped with information daily. Sometimes instead of it feeling like a useful tool, it can feel more like a scene from Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” as we are attacked from all sides. This can especially be true for employers, who turn to data as a means of tracking employee engagement, retention and building a positive and efficient workplace experience. But like a toddler throwing pieces of bread on the beach to seagulls, what starts as a friendly engagement can soon become overwhelming torrents of attack. This is not the way it is supposed to be. Data is meant to be supportive, and fortunately work is underway to recalibrate it back to being just that.
JR Richards and Ronn Alexander of Ewing Irrigation wanted to grow their company, but they knew that there were certain issues standing in the way. Turnover and the overtime caused by disruptions were seriously damaging their profits. Also, with over 230 locations in 31 states, it was hard to track the data. Ronn noted that in order to find out what terminations looked like the previous month he would have to sift through pages of data, and then try to remember which instances were voluntary or involuntary. Due to the time required to even get some information from a month or two ago, JR and Ronn admitted that all too often they ended up making major decisions based on their best guess rather than coming to an informed decision. And they are not alone in that feeling. Without a way to organize all the data, it ended up being more of a hindrance than a help.
Wrangling the Data
Fortunately, with programs like ADP® DataCloud are being offered, there is hope for making sense of it all. If you are familiar with mint.com, the online money management budget planning and tracker, then apply those same concepts to a business level and that’s exactly what DataCloud does. Data is tracked, then aggregated and broken down, which can then lead to recommendations. This can include real time tracking of overtime and turnovers. Which departments are paying overtime... and more specifically, which positions broken down by location and manager. ADP DataCloud also offers the ability to benchmark by job title - specifying it by states, base salary, tips and commissions. Employers can use Aging Storyboard which helps organizational leaders identify who will be retiring in the next five years. Top Performers Storyboard provides the ability to organizations to predict which top performers are at risk of leaving the organization. Numerous other factors employers need to consider, like how long the average employee remains in a position and how long does it take to fill that position can be compiled. Instead of it taking hours, days, weeks to attempt to find answers to these questions, employers can now get real-time answers in just minutes. And it is not only easily accessible, but also incredibly useful.
Going back to Ewing Irrigation, they were able to see which locations were putting in overtime and which locations have a higher turnover- and they have been able to act on that information. They saw that one location was below the local benchmark and so they adjusted wages accordingly. In other locations, management received the training and support that they needed to develop staff and create career paths. The turnover rate has dropped by 6%. Since each turnover costs the business about $7,500, this has saved them about $750,000.
On the other end of the spectrum, the trucking industry could use this program to fill employment. The average trucker stays in that position about 9 years, and it takes about 10 weeks to fill an open position. If employers aren’t prepared, this can lead to a lot of overtime and other complications as they try to bring on and equip new drivers. However, with a people analytics solution, employers are able to predict when they could be in need of truck drivers and start advertising those positions in advance.
And like mint.com, this program can make recommendations based on the data it draws. Susie was a top contributor at the business, but she has been less engaged lately. The program can recommend a raise or a bonus since she hasn’t had either in the last five years. Or Jacob just took a different job, and the program could point toward employees who have similar training or skill sets who would do well in his position. And all of these really are just the tip of the iceberg.
In our modern technological age, we are constantly overwhelmed with data. However, the quantity of information does not help if we cannot interpret and apply what we really need. The information is only as good as the growth it provides. So hopefully this article has provided you with information that will help you create a more engaging and dynamic workplace, as you understand and respond to the needs of your employees and business. It’s a brave new world out there, and now you can have the data in hand to meet it head on.