What people leaders need to implement workplace analytics – 4 lessons learned

What people leaders need to implement workplace analytics – 4 lessons learned

According to a PwC survey which included 1,000 senior executives, companies that heavily rely on data are three times more likely to make good business decisions than those that are not as data-reliant. Even though access to workplace data plays a vital role in making data-informed decisions, data alone simply isn’t sufficient. People leaders need to be able to properly interpret it to be able to implement improvements. 

Today, we’re going to share with you four lessons learned by conducting 20 in-depth interviews with business leaders.

We showed them our workplace analytics platform and asked them what they would need to turn insights into practice. Here is what we got. 

How to turn workplace analytics data into practice? 

#1: Analytics describing current team’s work habits need context – historical views and future trends.   

A Product Owner from a large IT company said that while he appreciates the data describing his team’s work habits he is not sure if he interprets it right. He said: 

I understand the amount of work the algorithms do for me – I'd rather have it than not have it. Now I know how much time we spend on deep work, on meetings, how many meetings are unproductive, if we have work-life balance, if we are learning, or If I put enough attention to team members. Not cool, because I don't know how to interpret them. I don't know if it's right or wrong”. 

It’s hard not to agree with him. 

In order to put this data into context, it’s vital to understand where the team is currently, and where it can be in the future. For instance, let’s say that your team spends 10 hours weekly on deep work. Last year they had 15 hours – if deep work isn’t prioritized, then in the next 6 months, we might experience a situation where the team has no time for individual work. 

As you can see, analytics alone isn’t enough for people leaders to draw conclusions. What they need is access to historical data and future trends – and that’s what we offer at Network Perspective. 

#2: Aspirational metrics and reference range are a must-have  

Another insight we got while speaking to a Growth Manager of a 600-people IT company is that aspirational metrics and reference ranges are a necessity. They said: “If my average team member spends 5 hours weekly on meetings - is it good or bad? I don’t know. I need some reference ranges to know”. 

What do you need these metrics for? To better understand if the current situation that your team is in allows them to perform highly (this also accounts for well-being), or if the habits prevent them from doing so.

For this purpose, we’ve created Work Smart Index and Work Smart Aspirational Reference Ranges at Network Perspective for every single metric. This gives leaders the possibility to assess how close or how far their teams are from operating like highly-performing teams. 

Make sure to set your benchmarks properly – do it across companies, not within. If you set benchmarks within your company and allow teams to directly compare themselves, then you will instill a competitive culture which doesn’t necessarily make the work better. What if it turns out that no one is able to meet your expectations? On the other hand, setting benchmarks across companies will allow you to verify how your teams perform in comparison to the market. You will know what you should aspire to to become a high-performing organization. This is an approach that we use at Network Perspective. 

#3 Numbers alone are not enough. Leaders need knowledge on the why and how

When we spoke to a People Leader at an IT organization hiring over 5,000 employees, they told us that it’s not enough to simply look at numbers and compare them to previous benchmarks. People leaders need to know what each number stands for and what it can tell us about possible habits’ improvements. 

For starters, the definition for each metric should be perfectly clear. It should also be supplemented by examples of real-life situations where such metrics can be applied. For instance, what an analysis of a metric can tell you about a leader’s participation during meetings, or how much ongoing guidance they offer to team members.

The bottom line is that it’s really important to know why you’re sharing every single metric with people leaders, and how it impacts the team’s performance and well-being. 

Also, we recommend making team-level findings available to employees. After all, as these numbers concern them, they should be aware of the situation. Show the numbers in a format that’s easy-to-understand. At Network Perspective, for example, we display the number of hours the average team members spends on work each week. 

If you’d like to visualize your numbers in a user-friendly manner, search no further – by using our platform for your work habits’ analysis, you’ll be able to generate easy-to-understand graphs and reports for all key metrics.

#4 The key to positive change? Prioritizing and rewarding deep focus time, collaboration, and team-level improvements

An Agile coach at an IT company of over 5,000 employees told us that they had too many things to work on and prioritize throughout the month. This overload made it impossible for them to dedicate time to manual metrics’ analysis:

What does this tell us? People leaders should know which metrics to prioritize to make them the most relevant (and so, impactful) for each team. For this purpose, it’s worth equipping them with the right tools.

A solution like Network Perspective will give you a helping hand. It points to the areas that require most improvements and provides practical tips on how things can be done better.

Final remarks

The secret to effective collaboration and successful workplace analytics consists of two elements. The first one, undoubtedly, is access to relevant data. Each company should identify and track metrics that help them improve on an organization level. They should also recognize which numbers matter the most to each team and share them with relevant team members. 

However, numbers alone will not be enough to spark change within the business. Here’s where the second element – i.e., having a team of skilled people leaders – comes into play.

To help your people leaders make the most of numbers and gain internal buy-in from relevant teams, we recommend giving Network Perspective a shot. Our platform will not only visualize your numbers, but will also help you make sense of workforce metrics to inspire change.

Sounds interesting? Reach out for a free demo!

July 1, 2021

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