What to do When You Get Lost in a (Data) Forest & Other Employee Engagement Tips

Data Forest

Image courtesy of Gabriel Garcia Marengo at https://unsplash.com

You hear it all of the time: “get a handle on your big data,” “use big data to transform your business” and “the future is data.”

I hate to break it to you, but all of these heckling voices have a point.

Using data to understand the world around us, and make it better, is disrupting the notion of business as usual.

And don’t think for a second that CSR (or whatever you call it) isn’t part of that equation.

Everything can be counted, measured, equated, catalogued and analyzed. CSR initiatives are no exception.

I recently spoke with Andrea Yoder Clark, PhD, CEO of Livegoode, who talked about the effectiveness of incorporating data into corporate social responsibility and employee engagement, more specifically.

We began our conversation by discussing the correlation between strong employee engagement and happy employees. She also spoke about why happiness at the workplace matters (beyond the obvious fact that making people happy is imperative): it’s very expensive to rehire new staff. Andrea emphasized this point by saying that strong employee engagement is a “simple ROI perspective [and] it’s smart for business.”

I couldn’t agree more.

It’s pretty evident that data and employee engagement are both good for your business, but what can CSR leaders do about it?

Well, like all things, employee engagement can be quantified, tallied, tracked, critiqued and reported on.

If this makes you nervous, it doesn’t have to. Big data shouldn’t make you feel as if you’re lost in a forest.

Take for instance the Livegoode app, a free mobile app that lets people track and share the good they do. Companies can register and encourage employees to sign up and join their circles (groups). The app allows employees to input volunteer hours, take photos of their volunteering-in-action, tag their initiatives in reference to particular causes and then share those posts on other social media platforms.

Companies can then compile the data inputted by employees–in their circles–to identify the number of users, the amount of volunteer hours contributed, the most common causes of interest and the top performing geographical regions.

Knowing that all of this information is valuable, but also understanding that there are other ways to track employee volunteering initiatives (whether it be via a database or a simple spreadsheet), I asked Andrea the obvious question:

What sets the app apart from other options?

Her answer was compelling.

She made the case of immediacy. Andrea referenced the point that people tend to forget to input their hours when they get back to the office. The overflowing inbox of priorities takes precedence.

The moment passes. 

However, with the immediacy of a mobile app, users can quickly snap a photo on their smartphone and have their hours catalogued in a matter of minutes. Moreover, users can share their posts on other social media networks with friends and connections outside of the workplace.

Not only can this improve the accuracy of the data collected, but companies also gain meaningful exposure and social media attention at no direct cost. It’s a win-win!

Big data doesn’t have to be a scary, undefeatable monster. With the development of apps such as Livegoode, companies and CSR leaders have access to a wealth of tools right at their fingertips to help improve employee engagement, all the while taming big bad data.

How does your company track volunteer hours and collect employee engagement data? How do you showcase stories about workplace volunteering via social media? I welcome you to share your experiences and best practices in the comments section below.

And don’t forget to follow the blog and follow me on Twitter @CSRtist for more posts and tweets on all-things relating to employee engagement and corporate good.

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