While most organisations track employee relations and investigation data, they struggle to harness the full potential of this data, hindering their ability to make informed business decisions.
According to a recent study by HR Acuity, a significant number of organisations collect employee relations data but fail to leverage it effectively.
Underutilised data : Nearly one in five organisations collect but do not use employee relations data and metrics, reveals the Seventh Annual Employee Relations Benchmark Study by HR Acuity, the human resources SaaS solution for employee relations case management and investigations.
This lack of utilisation prevents them from effectively managing the growing caseloads.
Identifying training needs: Employee relations data holds valuable insights into patterns and hotspots that can be addressed through targeted training initiatives. However, one-third of organisations miss out on this opportunity to improve performance and prevent future issues.
Leveraging data for resourcing: Despite labour and skills shortages across industries, a staggering 75 per cent of organisations do not utilise employee data to inform their staffing needs. By leveraging employee relations data, organisations can reduce turnover based on case trends and proactively address retention, engagement, and organisational culture.
Integration with other data: The integration of employee relations and investigation data with demographics, performance, turnover, and engagement data has seen a decline. However, combining these data sources provides a comprehensive picture of the organisation, enabling strategic decision-making that aligns with business goals.
Building transparency and trust
Although some organisations have made efforts to improve employee experience and culture, many still engage in employee relations practices that undermine transparency and trust. The study highlights the need for organisations to address these concerns and improve their approach to employee relations.
Anonymity and reporting tools: While 91 per cent of organisations provide employees with a tool to anonymously report issues or concerns, transparency in addressing these reports remains a challenge. Only 17 per cent of organisations share investigation outcomes with employees, and even among Fortune 100 companies, the rate is just 27 per cent.
Just over half of organisations (56 per cent) that share outcomes with employees do so once a year or more. This lack of transparency can create barriers to accountability and may lead employees to believe that their concerns and allegations are not taken seriously.
Lack of mandatory investigation processes: The study reveals that for the third consecutive year, less than half (43 per cent) of organisations have implemented a mandatory and structured process for conducting investigations. This lack of a comprehensive investigation process can seriously affect any brand, including potential legal liabilities and reputational damage.
Limited access to substantiation data: Approximately half of the organisations lack access to case substantiation data for cases resulting in an investigation. This is a red flag for employee relations, as employee confidence deteriorates when investigation outcomes are unknown. Planning and executing effective follow-up and aftercare is also more difficult without substantiation data.
According to Deb Muller, CEO of HR Acuity, thorough, consistent, and fair investigation processes not only ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements but also help foster a culture of trust with employees and drive accountability within organisations.
“In short, the study's findings are a wake-up call for organisations to invest in training and resources for employee relations to provide the necessary support for employees. It's time to take action and use data to create a healthier and more productive workforce,” Muller added.
Investing in employee relations to address mental health crisis
The current mental health crisis is significantly impacting organisations, calling for investments in training and resources for employee relations to provide the necessary support for employees.
Mental health issues have emerged as a primary driver behind the rising volume of employee-related events and issues in recent times.
Increasing mental health issues: According to the study, two-thirds (67 per cent) of organisations reported an increase in mental health issues in 2022. An additional 15 per cent of organisations were unsure about the volume of mental health issues, indicating a potential gap in tracking or analysis of these issues.
Factors contributing to mental health issues: While the pandemic continues to have a lasting impact on mental health, other factors such as the return to work, increased layoffs or Reductions in Force (RIFs) in certain sectors, performance pressures, and economic challenges also contribute to mental health issues in the workplace.
Importance of addressing mental health crisis: Effectively addressing the mental health crisis among employees necessitates greater investments in investigation aftercare, additional training for employee relations professionals, and potentially allocating additional resources to employee relations.
The study surveyed employee relations professionals at enterprise organisations in the US with at least 1,000 employees. 190 organisations participated, representing a combined workforce of 6.3 million employees globally.