When people think of the expertise needed to succeed in the HR function, having good people and communication skills is at the top of the list – it isn’t called the ‘people function’ for no reason. However, in recent years, especially as technology has developed so rapidly, HR practitioners have needed to familiarise themselves with utilising data to help them achieve their goals outlined in the people strategy they have developed.
Wellbeing tech has become prominent not only in the workplace but also in the day-to-day personal lives of many workers. It’s not uncommon to find someone wearing a watch that tracks their steps and heart rate, or another one using an online app for therapy. Health tech is all around us, and since the pandemic, businesses have done well to integrate these technologies into the workplace.
Taking steps to prevent poor health and wellbeing from developing is more effective than waiting until people become ill
The possible positive effects of this tech were highlighted in a 2019 pilot experiment carried out by PwC, when employees wore devices that connected their health to their work calendars. During the pilot, it was found that back-to-back meetings impacted an employee’s ability to sleep well. It also revealed a difference between actual stress, which was picked up from the device tracking worker’s heart rates, and perceived stress, which was tracked through regular surveys – suggesting that workers often can’t tell when they are stressed because of work.
From an employer’s perspective, understanding your employee data can improve employee experience, attrition, retention, engagement, and much more – but how can data be used to improve employee wellbeing specifically?
What we mean when we say ‘wellbeing data’
Data means information. Therefore, HR data is the information relating to a company's workforce. This includes the collection and analysis of information around recruitment, the performance of employees, engagement surveys, and indeed, information on the wellbeing of your workforce. In essence, HR data is all the information an organisation has about their workforce, which can be crucial in the growth and success of a firm.
In short, people analytics is about analysing people data to compliment your business and solve any key problems you might be experiencing. Typically, a people analytics strategy will have the aims of connecting people data with overarching business data – helping executives to make big decisions. Understanding data also allows HR to measure whether they are meeting the goals they’ve outlined in their people strategy.