Wouldn’t it be great if we all had information at our finger tips that showed what action needed to be taken to improve the employee experience and productivity levels? It would empower us to make positive changes that would increase workforce satisfaction and boost performance.  

For many, this type of actionable insight remains elusive. With all the data now available from an ever-growing number of digital tools, it seems so tantalisingly close. Yet, a study by Deloitte has found that just 10% of organisations are ready to capitalise on workforce information.  

The reality is that we can only analyse information effectively if we have all the data we need in one place. The problem some organisations have is that many of the systems were developed independently of one another and the information remains isolated.

If we want to address this HR challenge there are only three options available:  

  1. recruit data analysts to pull together different data streams,
  2. retrain HR professionals as data specialists so they can do it themselves,
  3. ensure systems are integrated so all information is available to HR in one place.  

The latter would be the simplest option, and also makes sense from a practical perspective.  

Think about the process of onboarding a new employee. It usually involves several departments –the facilities manager for access passes, IT teams for equipment or software licenses, and many others – at different times.

With integrated systems, all departments would be automatically alerted to a new starter’s requirements whenever anyone updated their details. Ensuring that everything a new starter possibly needed was available to them, without hiccup would go a long way towards improving that employee’s onboarding experience, and improve retention rates.

From a more analytical perspective, bringing all this information together in one place will also help HR teams to spot patterns of behaviour. For example, low employee satisfaction could lead to potential flight risks.  

It would be possible to correlate time and absence data with information on career prospects, such as performance reviews and learning and development records.  This information could be shared with management teams, so they can see if individuals need additional support to reach their potential.  

So how do we ensure that data is not trapped in silos?

1) Integrate disparate systems

Information is often held in different systems. For example, attendance data might still be captured on Excel spreadsheets for individual departments. If systems can’t talk to each other, and pass information back and forth, it will always be a challenge to keep systems up to date. Instead, organisations need to create systems that are capable of sharing information by default.  

2) Changing company culture

Having a holistic approach to company data is vital. Although data may exist in a variety of systems throughout the organisation, it’s important that any change is done involving all departments. By using this approach the whole organisation can understand the benefit of sharing workforce data. Once in place, the business can then start to gain insights into their workforce, thereby helping to reduce staff headaches, improve staff morale and ultimately boost productivity and performance.

‍There are many ways to approach breaking down data silos, these two simple steps are a great start.