Data-driven employee retention
Thought Leadership

A Data-Driven Approach to Identifying and Retaining Top Employees

As the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the business landscape, organizations are still trying hard to cope with the changes. Walking around the office area is no longer an adequate measure to keep an eye on the employees’ performance, nor is this a plausible way to evaluate who’s doing better at work and who’s not. With a major portion of the workforce shifted to the virtual and hybrid work environment, businesses are now left with no better or preferable option but to embrace this novel change.

With so much changing around, businesses have to be diligent in their approach to identifying and retaining employees. The “instinct-based” employee identifying model is now replaced with a “data-driven” approach. The faster businesses get used to this model, the better it will be. Organizations struggling to develop data-driven ways to identify and retain their top employees can use the following tactics to regain their lost ground and be prepared for the future.

What is the Data-Driven Approach?

Leverage People Analytics

For the uninitiated, people analytics is the collection and application of the latest, cumulative talent data used to improve critical talent and business outcomes. It can be new for many businesses, but with the rapid use of online collaboration platforms, like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and other similar platforms, gathering and analyzing people analytics is now a straightforward task.

For instance, a great way to use people analytics to your company’s advantage is by identifying who gets asked the maximum questions in the team or answers or solves maximum problems. It can be found by critiquing the available data or online communication the employee had with other team members via official online collaboration channels or official emails.

Many businesses have started doing this to spot the gems in their organization and reward them accordingly to prevent their exit. But while exercising this option, don’t forget to respect the employee’s privacy.

Perform a Retention Risk Analysis

Performing a retention risk analysis requires a strategic framework and the right data set to gauge an accurate picture of employees’ planning to leave the organization. While it is excruciating and nearly impossible to get a 100% accurate prediction, it is quite possible to get near-accurate data that can be relied upon.

To perform a retention risk analysis, HRs will have to factor in data the organization holds for both the current employees and those who left voluntarily. Such data generally includes the employee’s location, salary, performance rating, incentive compensation, years left to retirement, and many more data points.  

The gathered data should be scrutinized to identify historical patterns or trends among the employees who left voluntarily. Doing so will unlock a whole new set of characteristics that can be applied to the current workforce to spot top employees at the risk of leaving the organization. Once identified, the best performing employees should be offered a better remuneration, working environment, promotion, or other things possible to make the employee his idea of leaving the company.

Take a Good Look at the Organizational Puzzle

While much of the work can easily be done by analyzing people analytics, the employee retention challenges of today require companies to look beyond that. It’s time that organizations replace their traditional and rigid organizational structure chart with a chart that highlights the flow of information within the organization. It will help them identify their company’s “movers and shakers” – the talent they cannot afford to lose out on.

Check the information flow to identify the people who contribute the most in terms of individual, departmental, and company-wide performance. This can be combined with the ability to analyze the “Who knows what” metric for better results. Together, these approaches can go a long way in identifying and retaining the best talent a company has.

Is Your Company for the “War for Talent?”

The COVID-19 impacted work environment, along with the fast-evolving technology, is fast reshaping the way companies acquire and maintain their workforce. If a company really wants to sustain itself in the long run, it cannot afford to let its best talent walk out the door. Hence, following some data-backed approach to identify and retain top employees, as mentioned above, can really help an organization grow, both in the long and short run.