People Analytics readings recommended by Network Perspective
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People Analytics readings recommended by Network Perspective

An increasing number of businesses are now using Organization Network Analytics platforms to analyze employee data and improve their satisfaction and productivity levels. However, wrapping your head around People Analytics might seem daunting at first. To give you a helping hand, we’ve listed a few introductory readings that will explain what ONA brings to the table.

#1 Lessons learned from science 

Design work according to tasks: teamwork is good for complex tasks & individual work is good for simple tasks  

Task complexity moderates group synergy” – PNAS

A report published by PNAS shares the results of a study run on 1,200 individuals. The experiment was conducted in two phases – the first one looked at how people work individually on tasks of various complexity. In the second phase, the same individuals performed similar tasks either on their own or as a randomized group. 

Two conclusions can be drawn:

  • Groups perform better than individuals when it comes to more complex tasks.They are as fast as the fastest individual within the group
  • Individuals perform better than groups when it comes to completing simple assignments.

For a more detailed look at the study, refer to the “Task complexity moderates group synergy” piece.

Design collaboration at a larger scale: remote cross-team collaboration and peer-to-peer learning is hard 

The effects of remote work on collaboration among information workers – Nature Human Behaviou

Before COVID, a mere 5% of U.S. employees were working remotely. Just a few months later, in April 2020, off-site workers already made up 37% of the entire workforce. The study involved over 61,000 U.S. Microsoft employees and analyzed the impact of transitioning to remote work on collaboration and communication. Arguably, a few other studies have been conducted to a similar scale, which makes it one of the most important remote work studies to date.

The research clearly showed that employees working remotely are more prone to operating in silos, with less synchronous and more asynchronous communication. All of which has a negative impact on learning opportunities and tacit knowledge sharing. 

Measure work experience: collaboration overload and context switching is rising

Beyond Collaboration Overload - book by Rob Cross 

Another important resource deeply rooted in employee data – this time, the experienced collaboration overload. Rob Cross presents how you can tackle a common (rather unpleasant) side effect of working out of the office, where it’s harder to draw the line between our private and professional lives. 

Cross helps you ensure that your employees do not remain in stand-by mode after their standard working hours. Paired up with the right data, this book will help ensure that your teams reach their peak performance, all the while not sacrificing on their well-being.

#2 Lessons learned from business   

Dropbox & GitLab: build one work experience, not two as hybrid suggests  

Why Hybrid Remote Teams Will Be So Hard to Get Right – Paul Boutin, Dropbox

While a hybrid work model might initially seem like the best of two worlds – remote and in-office, this thinking can be misleading. Hybrid work is hard to get right. According to Sid Sijbrandig, CEO of GitLab, “Hybrid creates two fundamentally different employee experiences to manage”. To avoid this trap Drobpox decided to declare themselves a Virtual First company. They aim at making sure that ALL their employees get a mixture of remote and in-person interactions. This helps them avoid any employee divisions, and splitting them into two kinds of employees – remote and office-based ones. 

Uber: measure work experience with advanced analytics to make it right  

Sustainable Productivity and Well-Being - RJ Milnor, Uber

In his webinar, RJ Milnor, Uber’s Global Head of People Analytics, explains how the experiences from the 2020 lockdowns can be used to boost long-term productivity and improve the perceived well-being of employees. In particular, Milnor explains why they’ve decided to take a deeper dive at Uber and explore the potential of organization network analytics. Namely, Uber realized that the usage of collaboration apps such as Zoom and Slack has gone up, and became the main communication source. They noticed two things:

  1. A 40% increase in meetings held
  2. The number in Slack communication and Zoom meetings increased three-fold.

All of the above resulted in a 30% decrease in time dedicated to focus work, which also had a detrimental effect on the company’s productivity. 

How did the company tackle these challenges? You can find out by watching the webinar on demand.

Collaboration Overload Is Sinking Productivity - Harvard Business Review 

Another piece worth giving a read is a piece by Rob Cross, Uber’s RJ Milnor, Mike Benson and Jack Kosta. Published by Harvard Business Review in September 2021, it sheds more light on Uber’s innovative approach towards employee analytics. The piece tackles how you can pair advanced People Analytics with employee empowerment strategies to prevent burnout and collaboration overload.

Dropbox & Paypal: enable teams with data about work experiences 

Pushing the Edge: Most Promising People. Analytics Innovations - PayPal

Paypal strongly supports the democratization of people’s data to enable all employees easy access to it. They mention that “We believe in providing a simple,secure and reliable People Platform, fed by one true source and ever-growing advanced Data System, which enables employees to answer deep questions which lead to better organizational outcomes”.

The exact same approach is followed by Dropbox, who have built their People Analytics on 5 key pillars including: 

  • 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

Final remarks

The above mentioned articles will surely serve as a good “beginner’s pack”.

If you’d like to learn more about People Analytics and read about the exact metrics you can measure, then be sure to also give our blog a visit!

July 11, 2022

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