Big data arrives to the field of human resource management. Are the indices dead?


Let’s start from an earlier time. I’m thinking of a time when we don’t go to work yet. The time of kindergarden and school. What information you receive as a parent in a kindergarden or school development interview, if you are told that our group’s recommendation index or satisfaction index is 6.8? Or 7.3? And how do children,  interpret the results? From here, I arrive at the conclusion that employee satisfaction and engagement survey indices mask the weaknesses and strengths of organizations and do not tell us too much. However, there is so much meaningful information out there to explore.

Surveys show that employees peruse their Facebook or Instagram accounts several times during the working day. There are also studies that show that more diligent social media users are also more involved employees. Brand ambassadors. However, they cannot be distinguished by social background, age, occupation, or the like. Employees today are simply largely open to the frequent communication and exchange of information. From this I come to the conclusion that employees are ready to use modern means of communication and interact with the employer systematically more often than once a year, quarterly, or once a month.

I will illustrate this idea with a few examples. Moticheck offers a solution for measuring employee satisfaction and involvement, where each employee is asked one feedback question every working day. Statistics show that more than 70% of recipients answer a daily question. If we remove those on sick leave or vacation, we get a figure that is between 75% and 80%. The example illustrates well that if you communicate with employees using modern solutions and without wasting their time, then employees are open to provide a very valuable input to the employer.

Let’s get back to the theme of big data. If you ask each employee a different question, how much data can be collected in one week ? A lot. Very much. So much so that very firm decisions can be made based on that data. However, all this data exists within the organization no matter if you ask the questions or not. The fact that an employer asks its employee for feedback once a year or quarterly is the employer’s own omission, indifference, or a convenient choice.

After all, employees have the answers to all employee survey questionnaires always there.Yet these answers are not constant values. They change as the environment changes. Whether it is influenced by the external environment, such as the Covid crisis, the customer’s refusal decision, or the changed market situation. There are also many internal influences arising from relationships with colleagues and workloads, and the home office matters in addition to everything else. Thus, employees have a lot of dynamic data about the seasonality of work experience, roles, tasks, work environment, working hours, relationships, management, and so on. It might be in the employer’s interest to get access to this data somehow. To get this information, you need to open the right channel and implement value-creating analytics. You don’t have to invent all this yourself, there are already elegant solutions available for this today.

It is good to bring in some more figures here. Moticheck’s statistics show that in 3% of all the questions answered by the employees, an additional free-form comment is added. Thus, for every 100 employees, the organization receives 3 comments per day, 15 per week, and 60 free-form proposals or messages per month. For every 100 employees! These are generally very substantive comments. This is wisdom that 99% of businesses and institutions today ignore without realizing it.

Are the indices dead then? Yes, they are and there is certainly no error in the methodology or veracity of these indices or studies. The world around us has simply moved on and opened up new possibilities for us. We no longer have to optimize the amount of data or worry that the questionnaire will become too burdensome. In fact, you can ask 10 or 50 times more questions. We can interact with people on a daily basis, and close communication allows us to significantly expand the number of employee surveys or feedback questions and topics. New tools do more work faster. A large amount of data is the future and it is a very exciting development from the point of view of organizational management.

Martin Rajasalu