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How Technology Can Intercept Workplace Turnover and Prescribe Lasting Remedies

Gregg Paulk, Director of IT, Anderson Center for Autism And Adam Rogers, CTO, Ultimate Software

Gregg Paulk, Director of IT, Anderson Center for Autism

A lack of employee engagement can result in dire consequences for organizations across all industries. It is no surprise that a research conducted by Deloitte found that 87 percent of human resources (HR) and business leaders list employee engagement as a top concern. Although employee engagement and satisfaction are critical, businesses consistently struggle to recognize problems and address these challenges.

"Combined with personal attention and action, organizations can deploy the tools of technology to support employee retention and engagement"

The Anderson Center for Autism, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing the highest-quality care programs for children and adults, experienced first-hand how employee engagement and satisfaction can have a direct and significant impact on employee retention. Using technology, Anderson transformed its HR operations, reduced turnover, and changed corporate culture with new processes and tools to monitor and sustain the engagement of its workforce.

In 2001, Anderson was in jeopardy, facing scant funding, inadequate technology, and staffing issues. The organization appointed a new CEO, and over the following couple of years, secured funding to support a $40 million, decade-long campus revitalization effort. Evolving its technology, Anderson built an internal data center and deployed a state-of-the-art computer network across the campus in Staatsburg, NY, and at locations in three counties.

With this infrastructure in place, the organization had the platform to improve critical areas of the business such as its human resources. Anderson turned to Ultimate Software and deployed UltiPro as its comprehensive HR, payroll, and talent management solution. Since activating UltiPro more than 10 years ago, Anderson has been able to achieve numerous benefits such as reducing turnover by 15 percent, decreasing paper by 95 percent, and growing its workforce by 60 percent without adding administrative headcount. In 2016, Anderson took advantage of UltiPro’s cutting edge analytics technology to assess concerns about employee retention and engagement.

Data can Illuminate Employee Retention

Because its HR solution includes predictive analytics tools, Anderson was able access “flight risk” scores for each employee. By applying algorithms to employee data stored in UltiPro, such as employee benefits details, job history, professional certifications, and more, the UltiPro Retention Predictor identified employees who may be at risk of leaving. Anderson recognized immediately that the retention scores were highly accurate and decided to take action.

Adam Rogers, CTO, Ultimate Software

The organization looked at the scores of their high performers and grouped them as “high risk” and “low risk”. Anderson’s leaders found that their high performers, specifically those with the specialized education and experience upon which the organization relies, had a higher flight risk than other groups.

With this data in hand, leadership began studying the high risk group and evaluating workforce data such as termination reasons, compensation, and benefits, and developing strategies to retain their valuable employees.

Prescriptive Actions Inspires Effective Leadership

Anderson also utilized UltiPro’s Leadership Actions—a library of recommended actions for managers to help coach and develop their employees. These actions provide practical advice and inspirational messaging and serve as an effective mechanism to improve employee retention and engagement. 

To test a prescriptive actions approach, Anderson created a pilot program with 25 managers whose employees constituted the highest flight risk. Anderson’s IT team used reports that notified managers when their employees’ retention scores reached a point of concern, and managers then had to take action which was recorded in UltiPro.

Thanks to the pilot program, managers at Anderson learned how to pinpoint at-risk staff, and as a result, increased time spent with these employees by 30 percent. In addition, managers began creating a list of action items to engage with high risk employees. The result has not only improved retention but also developed an enriched culture that fosters communication, professional development, and care for employees. The identification of employees at risk of leaving is only useful if managers are also prepared to answer the question, “Now what?”

Insights on Using Technology to Impact Engagement

Your HR solution contains a wealth of valuable data that can be analyzed to provide insight and help you make better business decisions. Leadership should consider HR technology software as a tool for managers to address employee concerns and make adjustments to prevent valued staff from taking their talents elsewhere. The insight provided by predictive analytics can be useful for actions such as starting a dialogue to proactively impact an employee’s success and retention.

Technology is not a cure for turnover, and data should not be used without human insight. However, it can prove to be important, by prompting leaders about building issues. Combined with personal attention and action, organizations can deploy the tools of technology to support employee retention and engagement.