Which trends in workplace analytics tools will dominate in 2021?
General business

Which trends in workplace analytics tools will dominate in 2021?

The global shift to remote work has made workplace analytics more important than ever before. Among others, it gives leaders access to extensive data linked to productivity, employee engagement, and turnover.

Using such insights helps keep your employees happy instead of having them feel isolated and allows you to better lead the team. 

This can turn into a great competitive advantage over other companies in the New Normal.

With this in mind, I’d like to share some of the trends in data analytics that I believe will dominate workplace analytics in 2021.

Five main trends in workplace analytics tools

Five main trends in workplace analytics tools

Trend #1: From people analytics to experience analytics 

Recently, a People Analytics Specialist from a consulting services corporation told me that “while people don’t change often, experiences do. For this reason we focus on analyzing experiences”. And he’s absolutely right – when you think about analyzing people, your insights probably change once a year. However, when you start thinking about their experiences, you will see that things will shift every week. How so? The standard data in People Analytics includes basic information about people, for instance talent within your organization –  gender, tenure, or KPIs. These insights won’t change as dynamically, as things like how much time a team  spends in weekly meetings. 

Such an approach has already been adopted in tools like Microsoft Workplace Analytics, which measures employee experiences in terms of the time spent on meetings, numbers of emails sent, or collaboration on cross-team projects. While you can derive such data from other collaboration systems like Office 365, JIRA, or the G-Suite, my tip would be to use this information in an ethical way, just like we do in our platform at Network Perspective.

Trend #2: From one-off data to real-time, big data

Workplace analytics offer huge potential as far as team insights are concerned. However, what you might not be aware of is that many organizations leverage less than 1% of the data they could be using. These are usually insights from HR Information Systems (for example, employee tenure, absenteeism, no. of people in teams, or span of control). What about the remaining 99%?

This data is hidden in systems that employees use for collaboration. Surely, there are tech-savvy companies that already derive such insights through more traditional methods like R and Python scripts, or by using BI tools like Tableau. Still, not every organization has the competencies, time, and resources to extract this data internally. Through the Network Perspective platform, we provide you with access to the remaining 99% of the data.

To sum up, I believe People Analytics will be enriched with workplace analytics, collaboration analytics, and experience analytics on a team level. Here’s the point where Excel genuinely won’t be enough and you need to start using big data in your HR analytics. 

Trend #3: From description to prediction & planning  – the power of forecasts

I’ve recently spoken to an HR BP at one of the best-performing agile corporations I know. She told me that it’s not enough to react, and the HR team tries to proactively keep the rotation level at 7%. This is a great example of another trend in data analytics.

While understanding the status quo on a team level is a necessity, so is predicting various scenarios within your organization. You can’t rely on reactive measures only and need to be able to predict and prevent problems from happening. 

Let’s assume your team is working at full speed on a project. You must be able to assess that if you keep a high workload for, say, 6 weeks, there’s the risk of employee burnout and they might start thinking of leaving. Here’s a question you need to answer – how many weeks of hard work can your team manage? It’s important that leaders know how much time they have to close the project, as it allows them to better plan the schedule and maintain balance.

Many companies are already shifting from a reactive to a proactive way of working. In fact, it’s something that 8 out of 10 HR Directors already expect to get from the workplace analytics tools they use.

Trend #4: From top-down to bottom-up driven insights 

“The greatest thing about the workplace analytics software I use is that it allows me to act by sharing insights with managers” – told me Maciej Noga, HRTech Expert & Co-Founder of Pracuj.pl, an HR company with EUR 100 million annual sales.

I think that People Analytics insights should not be kept within the HR team only. They should empower leaders as that’s where the real change and business decisions happen. More and more vendors are addressing this need, including us at Network Perspective

Trend #5: From people to teams & networks

A lot of People Analytics projects still focus on individuals (with questions like “what are the characteristics of our top performers?”). When you implement PA, you notice that team-level analytics (such as retention factors, L&D experiences, work-life balance, work overload, or work habits) are more ethical. To protect employees’ privacy, we don’t describe individuals but teams, all the while providing leaders with actionable insights. 

At Network Perspective, we go one step further by implementing Organizational Network Analysis (ONA), i.e., visualizing team networks for the entire company and implementing this data into our algorithms. 

Important note

Why is ONA important? Because studies show social interactions impact our behavior. Let’s take obesity, for one. If your friend becomes obese, your chances of becoming obese rise by 57 percent. It’s not different for turnover, as employee exits are contagious, too. People quit when their peers leave the company. Once you know where and when the risk appears, you can act. 

There are tools on the market, such as Network Perspective, that take into account the network context of employee experiences and analyze data ethically on a team level. 

Closing remarks

To summarize, with the end of the pandemic nowhere in sight, if companies want to operate effectively in a remote setting, they will have to leverage workplace analytics. That said, it should be done with a strong focus on teams – not individuals. Reach out if you’d like to learn more about making the most of experience analytics in 2021 and beyond.

July 19, 2021

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