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Five Important Tips for Successful Ongoing Data Collection

The ongoing study of exit and onboarding survey data provides key insights into equipping and retaining employees for long-term success. For organizations who do not have a digital process to collect this data, the task can be complicated and cumbersome to complete on a regular basis. Qualtrics Directory Automation allows organizations to fully automate data collection using any organization’s HRIS data. To fully maximize the automation process, there are a few important things to know and consider.

Four Steps to the Automation Process

The automation process for utilizing Qualtrics Lifecycle projects for onboarding and exit surveys is easily broken down into 4 prominent steps.

  1. The push of employee data from your organizations’ HRIS to a shared file service (either SFTP or an API call scripted within a Qualtrics license).
  2. The pull of employee data into Qualtrics’ Employee Directory from the shared file service.
  3. A sequenced audit (often daily) of the Qualtrics Employee Directory for qualifying employees to be drawn into a respective survey project (i.e. a term date or hire date that qualifies them for either an exit survey or an onboarding survey, respectively).
  4. An email or text invitation to all qualifying employees to participate in the respective survey.

With these steps in mind, through WSA partnerships with hundreds of global organizations, have identified five important aspects of this system setup to help ensure the successful automation of an organization’s ongoing data collection.

Five Practices to Fully Optimize the Automation Process 

The first important key is ensuring your process for internal HRIS updates is timely. The biggest struggle we consistently hear about is capturing the participation of exiting employees in a timely manner. Oftentimes, when the internal HRIS is updated, which is the first trigger in the process for full automation, the employee has already left the organization and their organizational email is no longer valid. While you will never be able to capture every exiting employee, reducing the time for your internal processing of this data will significantly bolster your participation. The survey process can only be as successful as your internal data process.

A second important key is including an “Employee Status” metadata field in your employee data transfer. This metadata field should refer to the current status of an employee. Status options could be: Active, termed, on-leave, retired, etc. This is an important field to include because of the intended functionality of the Qualtrics Employee Directory. This directory serves as a cumulative repository of employee data. It is cumulative because response data is tied to each record in the directory – so removing a termed employee from the directory would also remove their response from any respective exit survey. The directory can also be used for importing participants into point-in-time survey applications such as an engagement survey or return to work pulse survey. With this metadata field, you can import all “active” employees into your project instead of pulling in the entire population of the Employee Directory which would include terminated employees, employees on leave, or retired employees.

A third important key for successful ongoing automated data collection is including a metadata field with the “Current Date” in your employee data field. Having a timestamp for reference when viewing a participant’s most recent metadata update is not only a useful reference, but this particular metadata field can also be used for allowing multiple responses into a project that requires daily feedback.

As a fourth important consideration, manager information can be a helpful addition to your integration. With fields such as: Manager Name, manager ID, and manager email the system can use this data from the employee’s record to trigger a specific email to their identified manager as a follow-up. It can also be used to build relationships from the directory for use in a direct feedback assessment, such as a 360 program.

The fifth consideration for your HRIS integration is the inclusion of metadata that could be deemed as sensitive. This could be information such as: Race/ethinicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc. While this may be important information for your survey data, in some cases, this information might be better protected if it is imported directly into the respective project as opposed to being permanently housed in the Employee Directory. Consider who will have broad access to the organization’s Qualtrics’ license with access to the Employee Directory and determine whether or not sensitive fields should be included in the integration.

With the ongoing data collection maximized through these efficiencies and considerations, it is easier to rely on the data provided from this collection to help make informed decisions and process updates within your organization. For additional insights on WSA and the leadership within the industry of workforce performance, check out our performance lab at

Karrie Rosa, Implementation Service Leader, WSA


Average Increase in Client Engagement

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