If businesses want to get the most out of their employees, one of the keys is to promote employee engagement. Of course, this is much easier said than done, especially considering the fact that so many organizations fail at it. According to Gallup, less than a third of U.S. employees say they’re engaged while at work. That number tumbles to only 13 percent when including workers from around the world. One might call this an epidemic that businesses need to address quickly, and yet companies are spending more than $700 million every year trying to improve employee engagement. Obviously, the traditional techniques and methods aren’t working, which is why many businesses are starting to explore the use of big data vendors to solve the problem. Big data analytics have already been used in numerous business areas, particularly when it comes to customer interactions, so it makes sense that big data could prove effective in helping workers become more engaged.
One of the most common methods businesses have used to measure employee engagement has been through surveys. This doesn’t necessarily change when big data comes to the forefront, but the overall effectiveness of using big data can transform the average survey into a more capable tool. A number of startups that specialize in employee engagement surveys have cropped up that take full advantage of big data analytics tools to measure worker satisfaction and happiness. These surveys are usually accessed via an app on a mobile device and can help track worker engagement almost in real time. Data is collected from employee responses to questions, and that information is analyzed and stored so managers can get a better picture of employee engagement over a period of time. By tracking responses to specific issues, the tools can help managers respond to any issues quickly instead of waiting months down the line. Problems that are solved rapidly often help employees feel like management is listening to their concerns, thereby increasing engagement.
These tools can also be a big boost for managers since the data is visualized. While some managers may need a bit of training in interpreting data visualizations, for the most part they are placed in an easy-to-use interface. By pinpointing what makes their workers happy or unsatisfied, managers become more effective at their jobs. This approach essentially places value on two areas: speed and transparency. As long as managers are open in how they are using these engagement tools, workers can feel like they’re part of the process.
Big data may also promote employee engagement through the use of performance metrics. While workers have almost always had their performance tracked in some way, big data makes that tracking for detailed. What most intrigues businesses about the possibilities of using big data in this manner is how it can be used to ensure only relevant performance data is collected. This helps companies identify who the top performers are while also noting who might be struggling. Equally important is the use of big data to pinpoint the causes behind any identified performance issues. By giving this type of feedback to employees, workers feel like they have something personal invested in their own improvement. This sense of ownership can easily increase their engagement while on the job.
Big data can also be used to help employees take charge of their own performance. This basically eliminates the need for middle management positions since workers would have full access to their own performance statistics. Getting data straight from the source can also eliminate the biases that come from managers’ interpretations of points of data. It also helps businesses focus on the performance metrics that actually matter in terms of encouraging performance improvements.
Increasing employee engagement may only be one of many big data analytics use cases, but it still remains a vital component of business success. More employee engagement usually leads to happier workers who are more productive. That also means higher employee retention and a safer work environment, all big bonuses for organizations. Companies have plenty of reasons to want to see their workers become more engaged in their jobs. Big data provides the key to making it all happen.