How Will Big Data Change the Future of Employee Retention

Last updated: 04-15-2018

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How Will Big Data Change the Future of Employee Retention

Attrition hurts businesses. When it comes to employee turnover, around 70% of organizations report that attrition “has a negative financial impact due to the cost of recruiting, hiring, and training a replacement employee and the overtime work of current employees that’s required until the organization can fill the vacant position.”

You spend a great deal of time and money training employees. You rely on them, you entrust them with all your internal secrets, you grow attached to them in both a practical and emotional sense. Then all of a sudden, they’re gone. You know some level of attrition is inevitable, but isn’t there a way to go beyond all the normal efforts to ensure they’ll stick around?

The commonsense advice is to improve your HR and pay attention to employee engagement. Worldwide, in 2016 Gallupfound only 13% of workers are engaged, while the US numbers stand at 32%. Disengaged employees are more likely to leave, while engaged employees are likely to help a business succeed. According to a study from Harvard Business Review, 71% of respondents view employee engagement as “very important to achieving overall organizational success”.

Employee retention through the strategic use of big data is already happening. Bank of America used Sociometric analytics to recognize that employees who took breaks together had better performance. So, they instituted group break times and saw a 15 to 20% increase in productivity.

But what will the future look like, when new technological capabilities and Artificial Intelligence are a regular part of the business world?

Increasingly, open internal communications are driving employee engagement. About 70% of employees who say their employers’ internal communications are good also have a positive overall view of their employer. Discussing company goals, employees’ impact on success, and company performance helps employees engage with mission and culture. But as enterprises grow larger, email inboxes overflow, and meetings detract from workflow, employers need new methods of communicating internal info, including insights from data analysis and company objectives.

Four Winds Interactive pictures the future of employee engagement in continual communication through interactive digital signage. This would include “interactive screens mounted at each workstation, in every hallway, meeting room or break-room; everywhere employees gather or work.” Screens could show “Animated KPI numbers. Employee recognition videos. Interactive wayfinding. Performance metrics. New deal alerts. Happy birthday greetings. Upcoming event announcements. Wellness Challenges. Building updates. Departmental reports. Pictures of employee’s pets. Company performance statistics. Twitter feeds. And that list is just the beginning.”

The keyword here is “interactive”. Employees would be able to exchange information with management and with each other through these screens. But one possibly questionable side-effect of these “social stations” is that they would “further obscure the boundaries between work and personal life”. Yet, that very well may be the way to drive true employee engagement. When people are able to relate their work life to their livelihood at home, and understand the connection between the two, they’re able to involve themselves by establishing the same level of interest they have in their own personal affairs.

In the future, as employees and management continue to communicate with each other via interactive screens, these interactions will yield data. HR departments will be able to analyze this data to determine a number of things:

These are just a few of the great things data analysis and an open stream of communication could do for employee engagement and retention. The companies that do this well and do it fast will be able to outpace the competition with surprising alacrity. Companies are already doing a lot with data to try and improve the customer experience. Why not take this approach and apply it to employees? The future of retention will benefit a great deal from big data innovation. 

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