Using Data to Improve Workplace Culture

Blog / Using Data to Improve Workplace Culture

Tests, Assessments, and Interviews, Oh My!

Data nerds rejoice!

Big data is making waves in nearly every industry these days. Organizations use it to power their insights on consumers, the future of their industry, and so much more.

But don’t limit your data to just what decisions your organization makes about marketing or new product ideas.

Using it internally to improve your workplace culture and HR practices can really be a boon to your organization.

What kind of data are we talking about?

There are two key types of data you can use to improve your workplace culture.

Front Loader: Assessments

On the front end, you want to use assessments, or pre-hire testing. These assessments give you more data points, or knowledge about your potential job candidates. When it comes to hiring, there are three main assessments that organizations use to find out more about a candidate.

The first of those two types of assessments are those that test hard skills. Hard skills are tangible, measurable attributes a person needs to do their job. And because these competencies are more quantifiable, you can measure one candidate against the next. Hard skills tests vary depending on the industry you are in. For example, if you are a tech company, you might want to test the coding skills of potential hires. If you are in education, you might want to see lesson plan examples.

Knowing how competent a candidate is will tell you how well they would be able to do their job. But remember, hard skills aren’t the end-all-be-all. You can always teach skills–and you’ll find that most people are more than happy to develop or learn new skills through training.

And that leads us to our second type of front-end assessment: soft skills. Soft skills refer to the interpersonal characteristics of an individual, such as communication, critical thinking and organization, to name a few. Most hiring managers avoid soft skills because they are far more subjective. However, everyone agrees that in order for a candidate to be their most effective, they need to have a good blend of both hard and soft skills.

The third and final form of front-end assessment is personality. Now you might be asking, is there a difference between personality and soft skills? And the answer is yes! Personality traits are features of an individual’s character that are either an existing aspect of genetics or developed through life experiences. While hard and soft skills can be learned and improved or changed over time, personality remains relatively constant throughout a person’s lifetime. An example of a personality trait is genuine empathy, or how naturally an individual can relate to others. You’ll find that people with this personality trait will more easily get along with a wide range of people from all backgrounds and cultures–something that can be extremely important if your company values diversity in the workforce.

So personality and soft skills are just as important, if not more so, than hard skills. Great. But how do you test for these when it’s so hard to quantify them? That’s where Workzinga enters the scene. We saw that it was time to change the way jobseekers and employers come together. We believe culture matters. Our innovative personality assessment tool is changing the game by combining personality insights with soft skills assessment, helping both job seekers and organizations alike make better, more informed hiring decisions. In other words, you’ll have the data you need to not only find someone with the skills you need, but also has the soft skills and personality traits that will help them fit in with your current workplace culture. And that translates to better collaboration, more creativity and better employee loyalty!

Now that we’ve loaded up your front end with a multitude of assessments that will help you analyze data about potential candidates, let’s take a look at what you should be doing further down the road.

Back End: Exit Interviews

The second key type of assessment is the exit interview. Now we do want to note that it’s a good idea for supervisors to routinely check in and have conversations with employees to head off any potential issues in the workplace. You’ll need to have a workplace culture that values open and honest communication for this to be truly effective, but that is a conversation for another day.

Exit interviews, on the other hand, give you quantifiable data and a unique perspective on employee satisfaction. You often find that when people are headed out the door with a new job in hand, they feel they can be more brutally honest about their experiences because they have no fear of immediate repercussions. Not only that, but their recent job hunting and interviewing can offer some useful intelligence on how your organization compares with similar employers.

In an exit interview, there are three main purposes: learn where the organization can improve itself, make sure employees leave feeling good about their service, and in some cases, encourage the employee to stay under new circumstances.

To truly make the most of an exit interview, you do want them to be required as a formal part of outprocessing. Otherwise if they are voluntary, you might not get very many people participating in them and your data will be unreliable. Also, you want the person who is doing the interview to be an experienced interviewer. This is because an exit interview does have the potential to become confrontational or too perfunctory. You want someone who is skilled enough to probe for the full truth, but also has strong empathy and listening skills.

Data is all around us but you have to be willing to put in the work to collect it! By using assessments in the hiring process and by performing exit interviews, you’ll have plenty of data to analyze in pursuit of improving your workplace culture. You’ll not only make better hires, who more closely align with your company values, but you’ll also be able to make improvements when and where needed.