Data for a healthy worklife balance

Dean Corbett explores data and its importance in wellbeing and engagement

Job burnout and a healthy worklife balance has become a subject of debate in response to the new hybrid approach to work – and rightfully so. Concerns around worklife balance are not only in response to lockdown; all corners of our societies struggled in some way to balance their work and personal lives, long before the onset of the pandemic.

Burnout is a state of emotional and physical exhaustion that is brought on by long periods of being overworked; feeling this way isn’t fair on employees and doesn’t support the overall productivity of the business. For employers to truly understand the mindsets of employees and adopt a strategy that is fit-for-purpose, data must be at the forefront of decision-making processes. This is particularly significant when it comes to critical business decisions that have the potential to impact employee wellbeing.

Initiatives like National Work Life Week provides opportunitiesy for employers and employees to focus on company culture and improve overall wellbeing at work, for both themselves and their people. Businesses must recognise employees evolving requirements and support flexible and hybrid working practices for the future of business operations. 

Our entire workforce can see that their insights and participation are valued, and that their contribution really does lead to change across the business

The analysis of current and pre-existing data plays a big role in this. At Avado, it has enabled us to prioritise our community’s happiness and retention. By developing a long-term strategy that delivers upon – and can be iterated in line with – the core experiences that are meaningful to our employees, we have identified tools and approaches for areas such as pay, career progression, personal growth and development, and flexible ways of working that appeal to our workforce. By listening and establishing to what employees want and need from their day-to-day roles, we have been better able to increase their sense of belonging within our organisation. For example, this combined approach has led to increased employee satisfaction and a drastic reduction in total employee turnover from 42% in 2018 to around 25% in 2021. Although we are never ‘done,’ we are confident that our continual analysis of data for the future will ensure that the business evolves in line with our people’s needs, desires and expectations. We can be certain of this, thanks to the data and the actionable insights we have gleaned.

Adopting an ethos within the business to embrace the power of data is critical. This can be done by analysing quantitative data drawn from formal sources like an engagement platform, and qualitative data from every form of discussion held in groups and one-to-one, such as workshops, coaching conversations, leaders checking in with their direct reports, etc. For us, satisfaction is measured through our weekly pulse engagement survey. As a result, our entire workforce can see that their insights and participation are valued, and that their contribution really does lead to change across the business. This gives employees incentive to participate in future surveys too.

Transparency is a very important component when working with data. Leveraging data is successful because of transparency, strong teamwork, and the sense of belonging we have fostered for all over a longer period time. It is important that employees feel confident to share their views on how best to improve their working life. We have also started to identify a link between the recruitment approach used and the sense of belonging individuals feel upon joining our business.

Data is present in every organisation but is often untapped. To keep people at the forefront of all key business decisions, data capture and usage is essential. 

Dean Corbett is chief people officer at Avado


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