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April 30, 2021 | Time and Attendance | Posted by Ascentis Thought Leadership

What’s Changing with Workplace Data Collection?

Data drives the modern working world in ways that would have been unfathomable not so long ago. In many industries, capturing and analyzing workforce data was once the domain of third-party companies specializing in business analysis, but today data has become the responsibility of every employer. No matter your industry or the size of your organization, your employees generate a tremendous amount of information every day. Understanding those outputs and acting on it accordingly is essential to staying competitive and cost efficient.

Fortunately, employers now have access to high-quality workforce management (WFM) software solutions to aid in data collection. Consistent, strategic tracking and analysis of employee data is essential to setting key performance indicators (KPIs), increasing efficiency, boosting employee engagement, reducing turnover, and many other vital functions of an active workplace. Here are just a few important areas for employers to focus on when assessing their data collection efforts.

Understanding your workforce

Possibly the most obvious application for extensive employee data is developing a better understanding of your organization’s employees. Your workforce management system can help you understand utilitarian functions like employee time and attendance management as well as less tangible areas like work-life balance and employee engagement. Research shows that employees who feel engaged with their roles are more productive and less likely to seek outside work. That makes measuring engagement-related data worthwhile for any company looking to reduce turnover rates.

Workforce management software with a strong data collection component can help boost employee engagement with self-service options and mobile apps. Not only do those tools make workers feel more empowered by giving them more control over scheduling, time-off requests, and submitting feedback, they also give managers a unique window into the preferences and work styles of their workforce. That knowledge in turn can inform decisions about the kinds of learning and performance management systems your organization employs.  Analyzing that kind of data opens new channels of communication, improves retention rates, and fosters a strong workplace culture.

Planning your budget

The employee data you collect via your workforce management software can play a key role in planning out your organization’s budget for the future. A thorough analysis of the data generated over days or weeks of work can provide a clearer picture of what processes are taking up the most time, what roles are most productive, and what areas need the most improvement. For example, a manufacturing business might analyze time and attendance data and find that overtime hours go up significantly while working on a certain type of project. That could lead to adjusting the hiring budget to bring short-term or contingent workers on board for similar projects in the future.

One of the biggest advantages of a reliable data collection process is that it allows your organization to make decisions based on hard numbers and verifiable facts. Beyond budget planning, workforce data can be a vital tool for studying trends and developing long-term strategies. Understanding data surrounding productivity, overtime hours, performance management, and other key figures can help leadership make decisions on everything from hiring practices to product promotion to technological investments. Making a useful cost-benefit analysis becomes much easier when you can quickly pull up numbers on a workforce management dashboard and determine whether it is more cost-efficient to train an existing employee in a new skill, bring on a temporary freelance worker, or hire a new employee for a full-time role.

Ensuring compliance and mitigating risk

Staying compliant with all of the rules and regulations relevant to your industry requires keeping a constant eye on your data collection efforts. In heavily regulated industries such as healthcare and manufacturing where laws related to minimum wage, overtime pay, and paid time off play a large role, having an automatically generated, easily referenced database of employee information can make a major difference. An accessible dashboard that helps your HR team keep track of time and attendance, scheduling, paid time off, and other day-to-day functions can go a long way toward keeping you compliant with requirements laid out in the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Affordable Care Act (ACA), and various state and local regulations.

From another angle, an automated workforce management system also helps keep you compliant with regulations focused on data collection itself. A number of states set specific rules on the ways an organization can collect, process, and store employees’ personally identifiable information. Couple that with the European Union’s General Data Protection Act (GDPR), which applies similar limits to any company that does business in Europe or with European residents, and it makes sense to keep that data as digitized and organized as possible.

A reliable data collection system is a tremendous asset in building a more connected, consistent, and functional workplace, no matter your industry. Find out how Ascentis workforce management solutions can help your business build a better data collection process.

With more than 35 years of experience in providing Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, Ascentis thought leaders have become a respected source for insights, tips, and innovations in the Human Capital Management (HCM) space.