People Analytics at Dropbox: ensuring that every team can access, understand, and act on people data
Expert | People Leader

People Analytics at Dropbox: ensuring that every team can access, understand, and act on people data

Collecting, analyzing and sharing data can have a massive impact on your organization. However, it’s not enough to share your findings with your HR team only. You should make sure that every single team can freely access, understand and act on people's data. Turn your People Analytics into a self-service for teams, just like Dropbox did. 

In this piece we’re going to take a deep dive into how Dropbox uses People Analytics and what impact it has on their organizational culture. 

Lesson #1: Provide your teams with data on you teams

Dropbox Head of People Data Analytics, Scott Walker, and David Gainsboro, People Data Analyst, have shared their philosophy towards data sharing in a recent presentation. They aptly called it the “Arrival of Self-Service People Analytics”.

The system provides easy-to-digest data reporting, and even leverages automation. For instance, when their People Analytics software spots a negative trend, such as attrition rise or a decline in engagement rates, their staff receive automatic alerts.

Source: Arrival of Self-Service People Analytics

Furthermore, Dropbox has built their People Analytics strategy around five key elements:

  • Prioritizing providing access to data
  • Investing in scalable PA technology and education
  • Empowering users to tell stories with data and experience
  • Identifying data champions
  • Continuous partnership and iteration.

This approach aligns with our own philosophy at Network Perspective. We believe that People Leaders need to be trained on skills such as resilience, versatility, and compassionate leadership, and use collaborative analytics’ insights to spark conversation around teamwork improvements.

Lesson #2: Provide insights in addition to the numbers

Numbers without context don't have much impact. According to David Gainsboro, it’s vital to provide teams with insights that will explain the numbers. He says that “Data cannot exist in a vacuum and a few numbers can’t provide teams with answers to questions about external hiring, reorganization, or even performance.”

This is an approach that we follow at Network Perspective, we strongly believe that analytics describing teams current work habits need context i.e. historical views and current trends. We have to gain a deep understanding of where the team is now, and where they can be in the future. For instance, if you noticed that your team in 2021 had 15 hours weekly for deep work, and in 2020 it was 20, then you can quite right assume that if deep work isn’t prioritized then your team won’t have enough time for individual work. 

Lesson #3: Data helps to create a happy organizational culture 

As mentioned earlier, diving into data to justify workplace changes is the first step to creating a happy organizational culture, and Dropbox is a great example of it. They have over 1800 employees on board. Dropbox invests significant resources to get access to data that would let them create a work environment that would not only allow their employees to stay productive but also happy. They say that “the talent market is tough right now. It takes a lot of resources to hire the right people. We want to make sure that once people are hired, that they stay awhile. Investing in people analytics is about investing in understanding what makes people happy.”

This is exactly what we’ve observed at Network Perspective, if you give managers access to insights about how their teams work, then huge changes start to happen. Teams can immediately incorporate new habits. 

And we’ve got the numbers to back up this claim. We’ve run an analysis of the short-term impact of using our People Analytics solution at a company of over 1000 employees. Within the first six months, the organization has seen:

  • 600 hours saved per week after the time for deep work was increased for 30% of the most heavily overloaded employees,
  • 2000 hours saved per week by eliminating unproductive meetings,
  • 600 hours saved per week by reducing the number of context switching for 30% of staff members.

Jointly, the company has seen a total of 3200 hours saved per week.

Final remarks

When it comes to People Analytics, we’re seeing a lot of overlap in how the folks at Dropbox and we at Network Perspective approach data sharing, analysis, and actionability. Both of our organizations believe that data from People Analytics software help create a happy organizational culture, reduce attrition, and improve overall engagement rates. Today’s businesses must therefore empower their People teams and Managers with access to the right tools and taught how to take action.

If you’d like to see how Network Perspective can help in achieving this, reach out!

June 2, 2022

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