Data Integration Buyer's Guide

The Relationship Between Enterprise Data & Talent Retention

Solutions Review’s Contributed Content Series is a collection of contributed articles written by thought leaders in enterprise tech. In this feature, CData Software‘s Jerod Johnson offers commentary on the relationship between enterprise data and talent retention.

To keep your business competitive, running smoothly, and on a long-term growth trajectory, you need the ability to recruit, and more importantly retain, top talent. But it’s an area where most organizations could use some help. In fact, eight in 10 organizations face a significant talent retention problem.

Many factors affect employees’ decisions to stick around. Incentives like a strong salary, good benefits, and work-life balance might attract someone to your organization. On the other hand, disincentives like high stress and burnout, or few opportunities for advancement could cause them to look elsewhere.

It’s crucial to know exactly what’s causing your employees to stay, what’s causing them to leave, and what your organization can do better. That’s where enterprise data can play a crucial role.

Robust data practices provide a 360-degree view of your organization, offering a clear picture of your employees, their needs, and how you can meet them. By connecting information and data across your organization, you gain valuable insights and data-driven strategies to improve recruitment and retention long term.

How Data-Driven Insights Can Improve Employee Retention

Enterprise data might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about employee retention, but it’s a valuable asset for understanding what attracts and retains key talent.

Consider all the valuable insights you could glean from data tracking employee satisfaction, job performance, and team/department metrics. Drawing on this information enables you to identify common trends, areas of frustration, and effective strategies to enhance retention and tailor efforts for specific groups.

For example, if you can better identify top-performing employees, you can implement reward and recognition programs that promote job satisfaction, open up opportunities for advancement, and improve long-term retention.

The challenge is that the data you rely on to inform your strategy and decision-making rarely comes from one place or even in a consistent format. The average company relies on hundreds of data sources in day-to-day work, with vast volumes of data siloed in various formats, structures, and systems.

But it does little good to have all this data if you can’t put it to use. Most organizations struggle to access and use disconnected information from disparate sources, with six in 10 business leaders citing data silos as a top barrier to capturing, analyzing, and acting on data. If potentially valuable information and insights are slipping through these gaps, what else might you be losing?

3 Steps to Gain Actionable Insights from Workforce Data

To gain a comprehensive view into all aspects of your business and your workforce, you need an integrated data strategy that connects and expands access to data.

What does that look like in practice? An example from retail chain BJ’s Wholesale Club underscores how a modern data strategy can enable organizations to gather vital information and actionable insights about employee satisfaction, hiring trends, and other aspects of their workforce.

The following considerations were crucial to BJ’s Wholesale Club data strategy — and offer valuable takeaways for other businesses looking to make data-driven decisions around employee retention.

Identify Data Sources and Users

BJ’s Wholesale Club generates massive amounts of data related to sales, inventory, membership, employee retention, food waste, and safety, among other metrics. The HR department needs to share this information with thousands of employees in various locations, including market vice presidents, regional directors, and club managers across the organization. To build an effective data strategy, BJ’s Wholesale Club first needed a comprehensive view of its data, the teams using it, and the tools supporting it. From there, they could start to bridge connections between data sources and users.

Takeaway: You need a clear understanding of what data is created, where it resides, and who needs to access it. Start by mapping out all data sources across your organization as well as your analytics expertise. Your HR team may be best suited to understand and analyze data from Workday or Paylocity, while business analysts are likely the experts when it comes to Tableau and Microsoft Power BI.

Choose Data Connectivity that Meets Your Needs

In the case of BJ’s Wholesale Club, the retail chain’s HR team was tasked with creating cohesive and informative dashboards to share across the organization. The problem was that the company’s management software, Workday, didn’t integrate with their data reporting platform, Tableau. To solve this roadblock, BJ’s Wholesale Club deployed a real-time, zero-ETL connection tool that provided instant data connection from Workday to hundreds of applications. As a result, the HR team and other business units could see and share live Workday reports within their existing Tableau dashboards, without extensive workarounds or delays.

Takeaway: Seamless data connectivity is the linchpin of strong date operations. If you need real-time access to data spread across SaaS applications or other cloud environments, you might consider live data connectivity or virtualization solutions, which can provide direct access to data with little to no delay. For more extensive data integration needs, ETL/ELT pipeline technologies can help consolidate and transform mass amounts data from various sources into a single place for historical reporting.

Leverage Automation and Scalable Solutions

BJ’s Wholesale Club initially explored having HR generate Workday reports, send them to a shared folder, and then build a custom process to move those reports to a data warehouse and then again to a Tableau dashboard. This solution would work, but it wasn’t sustainable or scalable. So, they turned to real-time connectivity tools to automatically distribute Tableau dashboards to employees on a regular cadence. Rather than struggling to solve data challenges as a one-off issue, BJ’s Wholesale Club could focus on analyzing metrics and deploying insights to improve operations.

The result? Sharing out and analyzing these Workday metrics helped BJ’s improve employee retention by more than 10 percent over the last year.

Takeaway: As your organization’s data grows in volume and complexity, you need scalable practices that can grow with your organization’s needs. While manual processes, such as data downloads and transfers, can provide effective stop-gap solutions, they are often error-prone, time-consuming, and inefficient. Meanwhile, connectivity tools make data access seamless and easy to manage, no matter how large your organization becomes.

Retaining Top Talent in an Uncertain Market

Today’s talent market is anything but certain. While the number of skills required for a job continues to grow, employee turnover remains high and organizations are finding it more difficult to fill roles. Retaining your top talent has become important given these market conditions and challenges.

The key to hanging on to employees comes down to harnessing the power of enterprise data to gain a more thorough understanding of your workforce and your organization, and the strategies that work best for both. By deploying workforce data to your advantage, you can keep your employees and your business working together toward long-term success.

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