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4 Key HR Data Sources to Scale a Successful Team

Mar 3, 2022| Reading time: 12min

BY Kate Super

Content Writer

From your diversity, equity, and inclusion policies to your wellness strategies, data can decisively shape your company’s goals and initiatives. In fact, your decisions moving forward can make or break not just your people ops program, but also the scaling of your business as a whole.

While scaling your business and team may seem daunting, having the right leadership and processes in place will help you create a space for all current and future employees to be successful. But before you even plan next steps for how to use the data you collect, it’s important to choose appropriate data sources to guide your decision-making process.

Improve your hiring and people ops decision-making across the board by focusing on the following four crucial HR data sources.

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1. Employee Lifecycle Data

Employee lifecycle data–which covers everything from core recruiting metrics (cost-per-hire, time-to-onboard) to turnover metrics and exit interviews–is the bedrock of your HR data program.

There are certain employee lifecycle metrics you should prioritize to scale successfully. Almost any kind of HR operation will benefit from these tracking metrics:

  • Time-to-Onboard: An effective onboarding operation helps new hires get up to speed and provide value quickly, while a poor one leaves them vulnerable to sub-par performance and frustration.
  • Time-to-Quality: Your onboarding philosophy sets your company and your hires up for success. If you focus on teaching tools to navigate roles instead of just simply giving them information, employees will be more able to begin quickly and consistently hitting value targets.
  • Retention/Attrition Rates: Because scaling successfully requires stability and because high attrition rates are both disruptive and expensive, all HR departments need to make sure they’re keeping staff retention rates high.
  • Time-to-Promotion: Clear internal promotion pathways have considerable positive effects on areas like retention, employee engagement, and morale. If the data shows people are being promoted regularly, you can congratulate yourself on the quality of both your hiring strategy and your planning and development efforts. If your employees are stuck on the same level for years, you may see this lack-of-growth reflected in other metrics, such as engagement, as well.

Looking Further

Finding the intersectionality of your employee lifecycle metrics can provide additional insights into the effectiveness of your hiring operation and employee experience. For instance, a short average-time-to-onboard combined with a long time-to-quality can alert you to weakness in your onboarding approach. Likewise, long average-time-to-promotion combined with low retention rates suggests that employees may be leaving due to a lack of opportunities for advancement.

2. Performance Data

Performance data allows you to assess how your employees are doing relative to their goals and objectives. It also provides you with insights to better build beneficial onboarding, promotion, and training programs.

Long gone are the days when a promotion decision would be made largely via a manager’s own discretion. Performance data allows you to take a closer look at where employees are excelling and where there are opportunities for growth:

  • Who gets the most positive feedback from clients?
  • Who consistently brings in their projects ahead of schedule and above the expected standard?
  • And who isn’t hitting their marks?

When you’re scaling, your company needs to focus on creating a culture of high performance with high-value players in each role. One way to use your performance data is to incentivize and reward employees. While some companies choose larger incentives like bonuses, others without robust compensation resources may motivate employees with additional PTO, gift cards, or travel perks. And don’t forget small-but-appreciated gestures like thank you notes and shout outs; the Harvard Business Review reports that 40% of employees would put more energy into their work if they were simply recognized more.

You can also use performance data to make decisions about employees who are struggling to meet their goals. One way to address these shortcomings is the concept of continuous performance management, which is vital to any plan for creating a high-performance culture. Once upon a time, managers and HR professionals would have been satisfied with annual or bi-annual performance reviews. But if you want to see your team make improvements quickly, check-ins should be scheduled regularly and should include weekly meetings and quarterly reviews for each employee.

Having these regular conversations promotes a culture of open communication and ongoing learning while also giving employees an understanding of the quality of their own performance at all times.

Looking Further

It’s also helpful to overlay your performance data with other data points to see the complete picture. For instance, combining employee lifecycle metrics like time-to-quality against performance can provide insights into the quality of both your hires and your onboarding plan. Likewise, analyzing and comparing performance data of office, remote, and hybrid employees  can give you important clues as to whether or not you’re creating the right kind of environment where everyone can excel.

3. DEI Data

DEI data is information about your company’s approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Using DEI data to create fair, clear career-growth frameworks and hiring practices provides your employees with the opportunity to perform in a positive environment.

What if your company is dedicated to DEI but doesn’t collect or utilize data? Unfortunately, even if you implement DEI training or have a dedicated DEI team, you’re more likely to fall into inequitable practices around who you hire or promote if you don’t use DEI data.

To help you maintain strong internal DEI practices, we recommend building a self-ID DEI program. This allows employees to self-disclose any aspects of their identity. For example, a self-ID form allows people to identify their personal pronouns in a non-invasive way. This is also beneficial for your people ops department, as it provides data to cross-reference against later outcomes. For instance, you can consider if one demographic is more likely to apply for or receive a promotion than another.

DEI data allows you to create an environment where everyone can thrive. Your business won’t scale to its full potential unless all of your people feel supported in the workplace.

Looking Further

Strong decision-making based on DEI data should be matched with employee lifecycle data to not only ensure that your company is hiring a diverse workforce, but also that you are creating a culture in which all hires feel supported and want to stay. This will allow you to preserve your high-performance culture and create an equitable promotion process that’s vital for timescaling successfully.

4. Employee Engagement Data

An engaged team is over 20% more profitable than an unengaged one, while employees who feel that their voice is heard within their organization are at least four times more likely to perform at their best than those who don’t. Those statistics alone should give you a sense of how vital it is to track employee engagement data.

A solid basis for measuring employee engagement data is your employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS). This measures how willing your employees would be to recommend your organization to friends who are looking for jobs (and remember: employee referrals generate the highest return on investment among all sourcing channels!).

eNPS only provides a basic feelings matrix for measuring employee engagement, so it helps to build on these insights with qualitative data. Use regular surveys to find out how your employees feel about things like:

  • The quality of your company culture
  • The standard of compensation and benefits they receive
  • The quality of their relationship with their manager
  • The quality of their relationships with their teammates
  • The state of their workload and whether they are getting enough assistance from management

And employee engagement doesn’t end when a team member has decided to move on to new opportunities. In fact, some of your most valuable engagement data will be taken from exit interviews, where soon-to-be-former employees may feel more empowered to be candid about their experience with your organization. This is your chance to sideline generic questions and instead dive into deeper questions to help you create a stronger culture or more supportive processes in the future. In order to draw the most valuable information out of a departing employee, consider staging your exit interviews as 1:1 sessions with a basic but open-ended framework.

By following this approach, you can find out key information while also allowing your resigning team member to speak their mind on topics important to them. You might discover aspects of your culture and practices that you never knew about.

And once you know what is persuading your employees to leave, you can use that information to drive down turnover and increase retention.

Looking Further

Consider cross-referencing your employee engagement data with your DEI data. Are certain demographics more or less engaged? How does this data look across all engagement platforms? By analyzing these metrics, your team will be able to pinpoint areas to grow– cultural, team, or leadership-wise, to help foster a workplace that is ready to scale successfully.

Great HR Data = Great Decisions

The great thing about HR data is that its benefits are universal — the right decisions in hiring, retaining, promoting, and training will have positive effects throughout your company.

And it really is all about the decisions. Scaling successfully involves getting tens of thousands of little decisions right. As a people ops pro, you’re in a unique position to use the data available to you to keep your company’s scaling phase on a smooth course. And now that you know what data you need, it’s just a question of finding the perfect platform to help you collect and use it.

You need an intentional and data-driven plan when it comes to scaling your team. Learn how to build your processes and engage employees at every level here.

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