Get ready for the promise, not the peril, of workforce data

Organizations must create the right practices and programs to take advantage of the growing volume of workforce data. The trust dividend you earn for doing this correctly can grow your revenue by 6%.

Workforce and organizational data have been drizzling down on companies for decades, but as more jobs interface directly with technology, this has swelled to a heavy downpour. Most companies erect thin, umbrellalike policies to protect themselves from potentially misusing the data; a small fraction recognizes that this deluge is contributing to a new operating environment in which they can boldly seek growth. New research from Forrester helps executives see this workforce data downpour as a source of insight rather than merely something of a flood. 

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The timing couldn't be more fortuitous, truth be told; many companies are drowning in the data they already have. The idea of being swamped in 10x more data than they already know how to manage is stupefying. No wonder people -- us included -- have referred to the wave of data that's coming as a tsunami, with all the destructive force that that implies. But workforce data can offer more promise than peril. Unlike a tsunami, this data isn't crashing on us and then retreating -- it's here to stay. And it can be the source of guidance we need. 

Getting there is about harnessing the data, sure, with the help of the right systems. But it's also about having the right practices, programs, and culture to take advantage of the growing volume of workforce data. As we report, the trust dividend you earn for doing this correctly can help grow your revenue by as much as 6%. 

It won't be easy, and there are many companies that would consider themselves fortunate to merely avoid the peril of the data downpour, much less seize the advantage available for doing this well. Working together -- across HR and IT but also including every other executive whose success depends on a successful workforce strategy (which is all of them) -- you must ask the right questions of your organization and answer them with the right reasons, processes, and technology solutions. Then you can happily find yourself singing in the (data) rain as it continues to fall! 

When done right, this is a work environment powered by workforce data at every level, potentially every day. As Forrester predicted, individual employees will eventually use their own data to tweak their performance in real time; managers will have smart dashboards that suggest win-win enhancements that they can offer their teams; and executives will receive AI-enhanced notifications that alert them to workforce issues that they can meaningfully influence. 

For more Forrester insights, download the Executive's Guide to the Future Of Work

This post was written by VP, Principal Analyst James L. McQuivey, PhD, and it originally appeared here