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In the realm of people analytics, data quality, accuracy, and relevance are paramount when it comes to optimizing employee wellbeing. As an employer, it’s crucial to take a moment and reflect on whether you are tracking the right data with your employee wellbeing provider.

In this article, we’ll talk about the significance of data and offer specific examples so that employers like you can ensure that data tracking efforts align with your wellbeing goals.

Why good data is so important

There’s a lot of substance in the world of employee wellbeing. Boastful claims can feel captivating in the moment, even though, when the smoke clears, they reveal a lack of substance.

Many wellbeing providers disregard the multifaceted nature of employee wellbeing, which spans physical health, mental resilience, work-life harmony, job satisfaction, and meaningful connections. Employees deserve wellbeing providers that dig deeper to make real change.

What happens when you track the wrong data? A lot.

Impact becomes murky. Without the right data, employers can’t actually determine whether their programs are effective in improving employee wellbeing, satisfaction, or productivity. This lack of insight makes it difficult to make informed decisions, optimize programs, and demonstrate a return on investment.

You can’t identify where you need to improve. Ideally, as you build up a body of good data over time, you’ll start to identify patterns, trends, and areas of concern related to employee wellbeing. Without this data, providers may miss opportunities to address specific issues and make targeted interventions to enhance employee wellness. Tracking relevant data allows for a proactive approach to addressing employee needs.

Your resources go to waste. When you’re not tracking the right wellbeing data, you won’t know where to best allocate resources, whether it’s financial, personnel, or time. You might end up making investments in areas that don’t really move the needle, while neglecting areas that truly require attention.

Inability to demonstrate value. Decision makers within organizations often require evidence of the value and impact of employee wellbeing initiatives. Without relevant data, you’ll encounter a lack of buy-in from organizational leadership and skepticism about the value of investing in employee wellbeing. This is a problem that many managers experience within just a few months of trying a new wellbeing program. It’s only when you’re tracking the right data over time that you can build credibility and support.

Missed opportunities for customization. At MindFi, we believe that one size doesn’t fit all. Every employee has their own unique needs. Paying careful attention to these preferences opens up wellbeing programs to customization and tailoring. Without this data, you’ll be stuck with generic solutions that fail to address the specific challenges or priorities faced by employees, resulting in suboptimal outcomes and limited engagement.

The pitfall of vanity metrics

When you’re making your choice of wellbeing program, make sure to sit down with them and ask how the metrics their platform tracks directly link to wellbeing and ROI. Vanity metrics are often superficial and can mislead employers by providing a false sense of progress or accomplishment. When it comes to employee wellbeing, there are a few metrics that may be considered unimportant or misleading in terms of providing actionable insights.

Number of sessions attended: While encouraging employees to participate in wellness activities is valuable, tracking the sheer number of sessions attended may not reveal the actual impact on employee wellbeing. It’s more important to focus on the effectiveness of these activities and whether they contribute to improved mental health and stress reduction.

Attendance of company-sponsored wellness programs: This number isn’t actually a “bad” number to track in most circumstances. In fact, MindFi tracks this as well. But many employers consider participation in employee wellbeing programs as the be-all-and-end-all number, even though participation rate in wellness programs alone doesn’t indicate the effectiveness or impact on employee wellbeing.

Your chosen provider should be able to communicate the connection between participation and the outcomes and benefits derived from these programs, such as improved health indicators, reduced absenteeism, or increased employee engagement.

Number of exercises/surveys completed: While employee engagement surveys and self-help exercises are valuable tools for gathering feedback, the number or proportion of surveys completed doesn’t actually reveal much. Managers should pay much more attention to the qualitative feedback received, and take concrete actions to address the concerns mentioned.

What kind of data reveals real insights?

Here are five specific data points related to employee wellbeing that employers can track using MindFi or a similar platform:

Wellbeing Practice Frequency: How committed are employees to making change a part of their daily routine? When you monitor the frequency of employees’ practice sessions through the MindFi app, you’ll start to get a clue. You can track the number of sessions completed per week or month, and delve deeper into the exercises employees are completing. They’ll help you understand “problem areas” where your employees need support.

Average Session Duration: Similarly, when you measure the average duration of practice sessions completed by employees, you can begin to assess the effectiveness and impact of the mindfulness program. Longer sessions may indicate deeper engagement and a greater need for help.

App Engagement Metrics: Monitor various engagement metrics within the app, such as the number of logins, total time spent on the app, and specific features utilized, such as guided meditations, breathing exercises, or sleep aids. This data provides a comprehensive view of employees’ overall engagement and usage patterns, helping employers understand which features resonate most with their workforce.

User Feedback and Ratings: Gather feedback and ratings from employees regarding their experience with the app. Ask them to provide insights on its usability, effectiveness, and overall satisfaction. This data provides valuable input for improving the app’s features, addressing any user concerns, and enhancing the overall employee experience.

Stress Levels: Stress has a direct impact on employee productivity. You can measure stress levels with a combination of the MindFi app and smart wearables, like FitBit, combining physiological indicators like heart rate variability with mental indicators like the app’s self-reported assessments. You may begin to notice certain periods of time where stress is higher than normal.

Sleep Quality: Tracking sleep patterns, duration, and quality can provide insights into employees’ overall well-being and potential issues like insomnia or restless sleep. This is also made possible with wearables. One client of ours decided to launch interventions for better, higher-quality sleep and even hosted a sleep apnea class when they discovered that sleep quality was consistently low.

A data-driven approach is the way forward

A data-driven approach is necessary for the continuous improvement and optimization of your mindfulness program. Without it, your wellbeing programs and initiatives will see criticism and pushback from all sides.

The kind of data you ultimately choose to track matters less than this: is the measured impact meaningful and relevant to employees? The last thing you want is to unveil a fantastic number, such as, “87% of employees felt their wellbeing improve,” only to see that employers don’t feel helped or supported at all.

By tracking relevant data with your employee wellbeing provider, you can amplify the impact of your initiatives. Strive for data quality, relevance, and alignment with key metrics. Listen to the symphony of employee feedback and adapt your strategy accordingly.

Remember, it’s not about flashy solos or gimmicks; it’s about creating a harmonious ensemble of people analytics that truly enhances employee wellbeing. Fine-tune your data tracking approach, and let the power of informed decisions guide you towards a thriving and resilient workforce.