The case for practising careful data management often centres around cost controls, productivity gains, efficiency efforts, and strategic opportunities. All of those are real and significant advantages for companies who choose to make data management a priority. They are just not all the advantages.

One of the most frequently overlooked improvements that follow from data management pertains to employee safety and happiness. We don’t often link data with workplace hazards or team morale, but the connection runs deep. Here are a few ways that data management leads to a more welcoming place to work:

Optimize the Work of HR

Data management is about making better use of more data. That applies to every department and workflow, including human resources (HR). Relying on data-driven processes allows employers to find candidates who fit better with company culture, to track and manage employee engagement, and to anticipate and correct issues that compromise morale. Overall, data management makes it easier for HR to understand what employees want and put positive, proactive changes into place.

Identify Workplace Risks and Hazards

Much has been made of the ability of ERP products and other data management tools to perfect processes. That helps those processes to increase output and ensure quality, but it also helps them to run more safely. By tracking, storing, and analyzing data from complex workflows and connected devices, managers are able to spot risks and hazards that could compromise safety. A committed approach carried out over time leads directly to a safer workplace.

Reference New Metrics

There are a number of metrics that indicate how engaged a workforce is or how well team members are communicating and collaborating. These might include a measure of the number of documents that are shared internally or the number of sick days that staff take. Data management allows companies to focus on these types of metrics and incorporate them into their long-term strategy. By taking a broader and deeper look at data, companies are able to improve their culture, their recruiting strategy, and their public image.

Relieve Stress and Strain

The average employee spends a huge part of the work day simply shuffling around information, making routine updates, and tracking down facts and figure. Said differently, they spend all their time on data management. But once there are features and functions in place that handle a larger volume of this work, employees are free to focus on more meaningful responsibilities. They can brainstorm innovative ideas, collaborate in constructive ways, and draw on the full extent of their education, experience, and expertise. Talented professionals are naturally more comfortable in an environment that prizes their skills instead of treating them like clerks.

Make Safety Systematic

Workplace safety efforts often fail because they cast a wide net but don’t cover every conceivable area. All it takes is one oversight to lead to a catastrophic workplace incident. The goal of data management is to ensure everyone has instant access to the accurate, up-to-date information they need. And when that capability is applied to a workplace safety strategy it leads to efforts that are more careful and comprehensive. Safety managers have the means to distribute policies and plans throughout an organization. Then they can track that those plans are working as intended. Again, this leads to a steadily safer workplace over time.

As you begin to consider the opportunity costs of data management, don’t overlook or underestimate the improvement to workplace safety and happiness. Even the employees who have little or no direct connection to data are better served when you start taking data seriously.