“Data will talk to you if you’re willing to listen.” Jim Bergeson
The world of work has undergone an enormous transformation over the past couple of years. While most organizations once had the majority of their teams working in the office, hybrid work is now presumed to be the new norm for companies with remote-compatible roles. This will require HR teams to reconsider many aspects of work, including performance management, tools and technologies, and even seemingly small things like how meetings are run.
After a period of so much change, tracking HR data is more important than ever. Here’s why.
Foster remote inclusion
It’s not uncommon for remote team members to feel like second-class citizens compared to their office-based peers. They may be inadvertently left out of meetings, overlooked for promotions, and undervalued in reviews. This can impact everything from their engagement and productivity, to their career growth potential and compensation.
Tracking the right HR data can help you spot many of these issues so you can take the appropriate steps to correct them.
For instance, compare promotion rate and the ratio for office-based and remote team members. Investigate discrepancies and look for patterns. You may find that some managers are more or less remote-friendly than others. Provide training and guidance as needed to ensure managers are contributing to a strong employee experience for each of their reports.
Employee surveys can also be a useful source of HR data. Ask team members how they feel about things like opportunities for advancement, compensation, and benefits, and compare responses by remote status. Write-in answers can provide additional insight you can use to make improvements and foster remote inclusion.
Improve processes and policies
The transition from office-based to remote to hybrid work in the span of a couple years will undoubtedly require updates to many of your company processes and policies. You may not get these right from the get-go—but HR data can help you continually improve.
Consider your employee onboarding process. While office-based team members might require a desk to be set up, remote team members would require that equipment be shipped to them. But beyond the administrative tasks, there are things you can do to help remote team members have an exceptional early employee experience. For example, you could send them an Uber Eats gift card to use for a virtual team lunch on their first day. Track your 90-day turnover rate over time and by remote status to look for indications your onboarding process may need to be revisited. You may also send a new hire survey to gather additional data that will help you improve.
You should also consider your policies around remote work, sick leave, paid time off, and travel. Dig into your HR data to see how things have changed over the past couple years, and survey your team members to learn how they should change going forward.
Enable better HR and leadership collaboration
When everyone has their own perspectives and opinions, data can help provide an objective viewpoint.
For instance, there may be leaders who believe the company should call remote team members back to the office for better productivity. In that case, you could provide data around key productivity metrics, including revenue per employee, billable hours, and progress toward OKRs. You might also include some data around employee sentiment toward remote work, so business leaders can understand the full impact of this type of decision.
You may also find that distributed HR and leadership teams have widely different viewpoints on the state of the workforce. One leader might observe high levels of employee burnout, while another leader may see high employee satisfaction and engagement. Data can offer a more objective, complete view of the state of the workforce so appropriate solutions can be implemented.
Tracking HR data has always been important for ensuring—and proving—compliance with laws and regulations. But as remote workers relocate to new geographic areas, it’s crucial that you track the right data.
For instance, companies with team members working in San Francisco must comply with a paid sick leave ordinance, and employers should track accrued and used hours. Companies with over 100 team members in Brazil must ensure 2-5 percent of their workforce is made up of professionals with disabilities, and should track each team member’s disability status to ensure compliance.
Pay equity laws also exist in many parts of the world, so it’s important to track compensation data as team members relocate—especially if you use local market compensation.
Your HR data can provide so many useful insights to help you build a stronger, more engaged workforce. And that’s going to be important in the new world of work. The widespread adoption of remote work means that your team members can now find new work opportunities anywhere in the world. Some estimates show that 65 percent of workers are already looking for a new job in what’s been dubbed “The Great Resignation.” Data is a powerful tool to help your organization hold on to your most valuable asset: your team.