Carol Lee Andersen, President, North America, Questback, discussed emerging trends in the use of technology to align the employee experience to strategic goals and objectives in her presentation to Argyle's CHRO membership at the 2017 Human Capital Forum: Employee Experience in the Digital Era in San Francisco on March 22. In her presentation, "Secure the Survival of HR: Transforming People Processes into Strategic Human Capital Management," Andersen explored what it takes to form a complete, strategic view of enterprise interactions with all people, at all times.
According to Andersen, HR professionals can access a wealth of employee data any time they choose. Advanced analytics empower HR professionals with a broad assortment of employee data, allowing HR professionals to assess employee patterns and trends and make more informed decisions than ever before.
However, HR professionals sometimes struggle to collect data directly from workers. This may force HR professionals to miss out on relevant insights that they could use to help a business engage its employees and foster long-lasting partnerships with them.
"We have a prolifera of data right now," Andersen said. "And we're entering the people era."
Although many HR professionals commit substantial time and resources to collect and analyze big data, these professionals must consider "soft data" too.
Soft data includes employee feedback, information from employee surveys and other relevant insights that come directly from workers. With these insights at their disposal, HR professionals may be better equipped to drive ongoing employee engagement.
"The next wave of technology allows us to live soft data," Anderson noted. "This should be the very most powerful time of HR. … HR has never had such a time where it can become more relevant in an organization."
How HR professionals approach data collection and analysis can make a world of difference in organizations of all sizes.
"I think engagement is about creating trust and transparency so our employees, our workforce, our contractors, our alumni and our customers have an opportunity to dialogue with us and create engagement."
If HR professionals look beyond big data, they will be able to use a combination of big and soft data to obtain pertinent employee insights. As a result, these professionals may be able to help an organization meet or exceed its employee engagement goals consistently.
"If you can find ways to start collating and harnessing this data, there's pure gold right in front of you," Andersen pointed out. "We collect data from sensors and everything else. … So why don't we collect data from the people in front of us?"
Moreover, the collection and analysis of soft data may help bridge the gap between C-suite executives and employees.
Andersen indicated many C-suite executives struggle to make strategic decisions that deliver the best results for all employees. But with employee feedback at their disposal, both C-suite executives and HR professionals can gain unprecedented insights from employees and explore innovative ways to enhance their respective organizations.
"All of that insight around operations [is something] that employees know," Andersen stated. "We're seeing CEOs and executive directors try to make decisions about strategy and wonder why people aren't aligned. But why don't we ask people why they're not aligned? Because they know."
Ultimately, building a culture of employee engagement requires HR professionals to connect with employees and listen to their concerns and questions.
"We're seeing CEOs and executive directors try to make decisions about strategy and wonder why people aren't aligned. But why don't we ask people why they're not aligned? Because they know."
HR professionals can open up a dialogue with employees at any time. By doing so, these professionals can learn from workers and gain business insights that they may struggle to obtain elsewhere.
"By opening up dialogues [with employees], it can be so transformational," Andersen said. "Engagement is about opening up a dialogue and valuing what people say."
An open dialogue with employees may provide insights into the customer experience as well.
For example, customer service representatives frequently understand the problems that customers are encountering with a brand. These representatives may be able to provide insights that can help a business identify various problems and address such issues quickly.
"I get symptoms that things are not OK for my business when [customers] call into my customer service department," Andersen said. "My root causes are down below, and my employees know what they are."
It also is important to note that employee engagement requires an ongoing commitment from HR professionals.
Performing regular employee surveys to check the pulse of a workforce can provide HR professionals with meaningful insights. In addition, encouraging employees to speak up and share their thoughts and opinions about an organization, its products and its services may help build trust and loyalty across an organization.
"I don't think engagement happens just once a year," Andersen noted. "I think engagement is about creating trust and transparency so our employees, our workforce, our contractors, our alumni and our customers have an opportunity to dialogue with us and create engagement."
Carol Lee Andersen, President of Questback, is an exceptional executive woman in technology, voted as one of the Top 150 Most Powerful Women in New Zealand. Carol Lee joined Questback on the foundation of an esteemed career including 23 years of leadership at IBM, SAP, SAS, and Oracle. A global executive, Carol Lee lead Tier 1 information technology teams in New Zealand, Australia, Asia-Pacific, and North America. She has assisted numerous Forbes 1000 enterprises solve their toughest challenges in innovation, business intelligence, human capital management, and advanced analytics.
Carol Lee's leadership and business acumen are evident whether advising the Minister of Technology, founding the non-profit Women in Technology, or serving on the executive boards of innovative startup companies and educational institutions. Her leadership is distinguished by a captivating ability to relate to people on all levels - from the boardroom to the frontline. Involved with various events such as Bersin by Deloitte’s IMPACT conference and SHRM’s HR People + Strategy conference, Carol Lee is a human capital visionary in belief and action: People matter. Get their insight.