Integrating Workforce Data to Uncover Hidden Insights

Integrating Workforce Data to Uncover Hidden Insights
Human Capital Analytics

03 of 10

This insight is part 03 of 10 in this Collection.

October 11, 2023 20 mins

Integrating Workforce Data to Uncover Hidden Insights

Integrating Workforce Data to Uncover Hidden Insights

CHROs are using workforce data and insights to craft solutions that address organizational challenges and elevate their people.

Key Takeaways
  1. Understanding the underlying causes of workforce issues and their effects on employee health, wellbeing and productivity is a growing business priority.
  2. The right data can help analyze the population, identify top business issues and create customized solutions to address specific needs.
  3. CHROs and business leaders should work together to make better informed investment decisions to remain competitive in the talent market.

Ask senior leaders what ranks highest on their agenda, and workforce considerations are likely to sit at or near the top. Concerns about employees’ health, wealth, wellbeing, safety, performance and engagement are perennial and paramount. While it may fall primarily to human capital and finance leaders to design and deliver employee benefits solutions, business leaders across departments have a vested interest in building a high-performing, resilient workforce and a supportive work environment.

Understanding the unique organizational dynamics at play across a company and within specific employee segments is inherently complex, especially in large organizations with numerous employees. Leaders often struggle to identify the underlying causes of workforce issues and their effects on the business and its employees. Slumping productivity or increased safety risks may not be correlated to underused time-off benefits, for instance. 

When it comes to benefit programs and workforce solutions, determining what is working and what warrants additional investment is equally important yet challenging. For example, senior leaders may see trends, such as employees’ changing time-off patterns or lowering spending on chronic-condition management, but not connect those trends to last year’s investments in additional wellbeing programs. These types of challenges — including difficulty seeing the important interconnections coursing through organizations — are exacerbated by siloed business units and functional teams, which is a widespread issue. In a survey of more than 1,000 business leaders in the U.S. and UK, nearly four out of five respondents (79 percent) said teams throughout their organizations are siloed.

Fortunately, business leaders needn’t fly blind. More than ever, large organizations are awash in data about their employees and, to a lesser degree, their dependents. Indeed, many companies have been successful at analyzing discrete data sets — especially health data and compensation data — and using the resulting insights to inform business decisions. Very few, however, have taken a top-down, structured and coordinated approach to aggregating and analyzing workforce data, uncovering hidden insights and developing solutions that can then be implemented with relevant groups. However, eight in 10 decision makers said reducing data and information silos is a top priority for their organizations.1

Organizations Can Use Employee Data to Make Better Decisions
Integrating Workforce Data to Uncover Hidden Insights

An Integrated Analytics Intelligence Approach

Chief human resources officers (CHROs) can initiate such a coordinated effort with tools like Aon’s Integrated Analytics Intelligence (IAI) solution. 

IAI relies on a consultative, project-based approach to aggregate sensitive data, analyze the population, identify top issues affecting the business and create customized solutions to address specific needs. Although leaders typically begin an IAI project with questions or concerns about particular workforce issues they hope to solve, the process itself frequently uncovers other interesting observations upon which they can act.

Enlisting key stakeholders in talent and benefits, workplace safety, finance, technology and risk management to contribute relevant data and expertise is crucial to ensuring a truly interdepartmental effort.

Analysts then examine the aggregated, anonymized data to discern insights about the overall population. They use filters, including geography, business unit, job type, chronic condition and absenteeism, to further identify which subgroups align with the challenges. Combining filters provides an even more nuanced view and can help tease out root problems. 
Quote icon

Using data and analysis allows clients to better understand connections between health conditions and safety and risk, employee performance and time away from work, social determinants of health, financial wellbeing and so much more.

Bridget Neurer
Senior Vice President, Health Solutions
Data and analysis present a critical foundation to developing and fine-tuning solutions. Next, leaders can develop strategies for potential integrated solutions and targeted tactics that can address each of the key findings. It also includes defining the metrics — for example, impact on employee experience and potential savings — that will be used to gauge the effectiveness of the actions taken.

Improved Health Outcomes Based on Rigorous Data and Analysis

Using resources like IAI for data analysis can support organizations in a variety of ways, including:

  • Improve performance and cost management by mitigating group health risks. Health risks such as high blood pressure, lack of sleep and high reported stress levels exacerbate risk for chronic conditions. This can worsen employees’ health, contribute to low performance and cost the employer more in insurance spending. In this case, an IAI analysis identifies cohorts with these health risks (for example, based on age, working hours or job role). Targeted actions could include free blood pressure screenings or discounts on personal wellness devices to all employees to mitigate health risks. 

    On the other hand, high performance may be shown to connect to a different set of risks. High performers may also correlate with high blood pressure. They may not take their allotted time off, thus increasing their risk of burnout and attrition. Targeted actions could include encouraging leaders to set an example by creating an environment in which taking time off is standard practice. Companies can also set flags in systems for employees with excessive unused time off.
  • Enhance employee engagement through more personalized wellbeing. Employees often do not take advantage of the wellbeing programs offered to them such as emotional support and chronic-condition management. A data analysis can identify which population segments received and responded to outreach about programs, engaged in programs and why they engaged. The responding action could be adjusting communications approaches with an eye toward increasing engagement to boost prevention, reduce risks and achieve costs savings.
  • Strengthen retirement readiness by efficiently refocusing existing budget. Companies typically match employee contributions to retirement savings up to 3 or 5 percent a year and plan their budgets accordingly. A deep dive into the data may find employees are not sufficiently saving for retirement, the company could consider restructuring this benefit and budgeting for it. For example, the company could contribute 1 or 2 percent to every employee’s retirement savings irrespective of their own contributions. It could also auto-enroll employees in retirement savings with the option of opting out.
  • Identify and mitigate workplace safety and health risks. Analyzing employee safety data and occupation-driven disability claims could reveal insights such as a link between safety incidents and chronic health conditions (e.g., musculoskeletal, mental illnesses). By developing an integrated strategy to improve workplace safety, an organization could address two issues with the same root cause. Moreover, a data analysis could also help the company pinpoint the underlying drivers of safety risks, such as geographic locations, job types and susceptible body parts. The company could then measure and quantify the impact of health conditions on the performance and productivity of employees. Stakeholders in health, wellbeing and safety groups could work together to devise integrated, holistic solutions to mitigate safety and health risks and improve productivity.

Although tools like Aon’s IAI rely on a structured approach and methodology, companies have wide latitude to adjust data sources, analytics and solutions to meet their unique needs. The power lies in uncovering — often for the first time — the insights hidden in a company’s data that can inform business actions and elevate workforces.

With a much richer understanding of workforce data, CHROs and business leaders can work together to make investment decisions that are better informed and more effectively compete in the talent marketplace. 


The Crisis of Fractured Organizations, Forrester Research, December 2022.

Aon Thought Leaders
  • David Mallett
    Senior Vice President, Health Solutions
  • Bridget Neurer
    Senior Vice President, Health Solutions
  • Kristen Grady
    Vice President, Health Solutions
  • Robert Foldes
    Assistant Vice President, Health Solutions

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This document is not intended to address any specific situation or to provide legal, regulatory, financial, or other advice. While care has been taken in the production of this document, Aon does not warrant, represent or guarantee the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or fitness for any purpose of the document or any part of it and can accept no liability for any loss incurred in any way by any person who may rely on it. Any recipient shall be responsible for the use to which it puts this document. This document has been compiled using information available to us up to its date of publication and is subject to any qualifications made in the document.

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