02 Oct 2023

Which data indicators tell you whether your employees are thriving?

Well-being is crucial for whether your employees want to remain part of your organization. HR can use data to identify alarming trends in employee well-being before they become a problem and can thereby benefit your bottom line and the retention of your top talent.


Employees in 2023 demand more from their workplace and are more focused on their own needs and preferences. It is therefore crucial that you as an employer manage to keep your employees motivated and happy – both in the short term, but especially in the long term. Otherwise, you risk losing your organization’s skilled employees one after the other.


Fortunately, HR data can give you important clues about where and how you can take action to minimize the likelihood of employee turnover. And the more data you have, the better equipped you are to act on it. Nevertheless, it can be difficult to know which data gives you valuable and useful insights into employee well-being and which data you should therefore measure.


Here are four possible data indicators you can use to spot trends and issues in employee well-being.



1) Employee turnover


Employee turnover measures the number of employees who leave your company during a specific period of time.


This data is important because employee turnover costs your business money when hiring new employees or reallocating staff. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, organizations pay an average of over DKK 30,000 to recruit and hire new employees. That's why most organizations want to have an efficient and low employee turnover. But in a market where workplaces are almost willing to pick up your children, do the laundry and cook to attract the next talent, that goal has become more difficult to achieve - especially if your employees aren't thriving.


Therefore, analyzing employee turnover is crucial for your company's leaders and HR managers to explain the causes of your churn and then act on it to convert your employees' well-being from negative to positive.


Read: The five most crucial parameters for employee well-being




2) Absence due to illness


A lack of well-being is also reflected in the level of absence due to illness. In addition to impacting your organization's finances and productivity, an increase in absence due to illness is often a sign of dissatisfaction or problems with the work environment.


Systematic measurements of the level of absence due to illness can reveal gradual or significant changes, either at a company level or in individual departments, so you have the opportunity to follow up. If necessary, you can remove long-term sick leave etc. from the equation, so that the monitoring of ordinary absence due to illness is not affected. 


Tracking trends over time will also give you an idea of whether your initiatives related to well-being are working as intended.


For example, an increase in sick leave after COVID may possibly be explained by the fact that many employees miss the flexibility and opportunity to work from home that they enjoyed during the pandemic. If you restore that flexibility, you could measure whether absenteeism has decreased and well-being has improved after six months.




3) Job satisfaction


Job satisfaction comes in many varieties. Does the workplace have a good culture? Do I have good colleagues? How good is my relationship with my boss? Do I have ideal flexibility and the right development opportunities? Am I receiving the feedback I need? In other words, job satisfaction is highly individual and depends on profiles, departments, life stages and purposes, among other things. That's why measuring exactly what creates job satisfaction for your employees is important. 


Continuous follow-up through well-being analyses and ongoing feedback is essential if you, as an employer, are to know whether your employees are thriving. Normally, companies work with two types of feedback. The ongoing individual feedback, 1:1 conversations, ongoing surveys or staff development interviews, combined with a larger company-wide pulse survey, typically conducted every year. Your measurements allow you to extract data, such as the well-being score, which gives you an indication of the current level of well-being in the workplace, both overall, by department and individually.


It's entirely up to you and your organization what data you want to collect. Usually, it will be beneficial to compare the data points in your well-being analyses. Is well-being higher for certain employee groups? Can we see a correlation between whether employees are more likely to recommend us as a workplace if they have good development opportunities? Or greater flexibility? This is where you really gain insight into how you can improve the level of job satisfaction and thus the retention of your employees. 


Read: Feedback culture strengthens your business




4) Exit interviews (... when it's too late)


If you have reached this point, it's too late to ensure your employees’ well-being – they're already on their way out of the revolving door. But there is still valuable input to be gained, even if you didn't manage to retain the employee in question. What can we learn from the loss to minimize the risk of it happening again?


You can spot these indicators if you collect data through exit interviews. You can ask the employee about the reason for their departure. Could you as a company have done something differently? What advice would the employee give you for the future?


The data you collect can enable you to spot trends before the next employee decides to leave. Examples could be:

  • Do we have many resignations in the same department? And if so, does it give you a reason to speak to the head of the department?
  • Does everyone mention that our onboarding program is flawed? What can we do about that?
  • Did the employee want a greater opportunity to work from home? Can we accommodate or address this in the future?

There are also data insights to be gained during the lay-off process. Look at why you had to fire the employee in question. How did it end up like this? And do we as a company also bear responsibility for that? Use the opportunity for internal reflection to ensure that you only end up firing employees when absolutely necessary.




Identify data trends and support your business with Emply


You can use Emply's HR solution to gather and combine a wealth of HR data that can give you indications of your organization's performance and development in the short- and long-term. When you have the right data, you're in a better position to make the right decisions and implement them in practice. Say goodbye to gut feelings and hello to concrete data that can make a business difference to your company's goals, focus areas and KPIs.


The Emply system allows you to compare and visualize your real-time data, so you can constantly spot important areas of focus and trends in co-relationships (e.g. absence due to illness versus job satisfaction). This allows you to explain trends and to dismiss some of them if necessary (is the average rate of absence due to illness high in the department due to multiple absences or just one long-term sick leave?). This gives you the best basis for the data you collect.


Read more about Emply's complete HR solution here.

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