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Can data analytics drive employee engagement and company culture?

group of young multiethnic diverse people gesture hand high five, laughing and smiling together in brainstorm meeting at office, company culture

Big data. For many of us, it’s one of those buzzwords that is overused, but not understood.

And yet, workplace analytics represents a crucial part of the puzzle for any company that’s committed to fostering a collaborative culture and creating a team that’s driven to deliver the best service for its customers.

This is a trend that’s only set to grow. Remote working is on the rise, which has led to the accelerated adoption of collaboration tools – especially video. This means we’re all generating more data than ever before. So how do we make use of it all, exactly?

Caroline Lewis – sales director at workplace data analytics business Tiger – explores the power of insight in driving employee engagement and a positive office environment.

A fear of the unknown

When it comes to how an employee feels about data analytics, they usually sit in one of two camps – they either love and embrace it or they’re really wary of it.

But no matter which side of the fence they’re on, their chosen stance often stems from how business owners have communicated the concept with them in the first place.

Those who are more ‘on board’ tend to have been informed about the ‘how’ and ‘why’ behind its implementation – hearing how it can be used as a company-wide efficiency tool. Whereas, on the other side of the coin, those who are less familiar with its usage usually have a more negative perception of what benefits it could possibly bring to an organisation – believing it’s solely a mechanism for identifying job cuts or people who need to work harder.

And it’s this lack of clarity from management which gives way to this ‘Big-Brother-like’ cynicism.

Perhaps it’s because the term ‘data’ is commonly associated with ‘exams’ and ‘tests’, that we’ve naturally shied away from it – being fearful of the end result. Put this in a workplace context and the prospect of introducing data analytics into the fold can quickly make colleagues feel uneasy – especially if they’re left to wonder why it’s being applied.

With no steer or messaging from management, it’s easy to head straight down the avenue of negativity – worrying it’s because people are performing badly and it’s a tool to keep a close eye on staff performance.

However, this really isn’t the case. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Maximising efficiencies and empowering a workforce

When communicating what data can do, it’s important to stress its role in supporting and engaging colleagues with their day-to-day jobs, and that it’s not there to test or trick them.

The role of workplace analytics looks different for every company, as it’s ultimately down to what a particular enterprise wants to achieve. That said, on a granular level, it’s all about looking at bottlenecks within an organisation – promoting better use of collaboration tools both old and new, creating efficiencies, optimising staffing levels and improving KPIs. In addition, its purpose is to equip workers with the ‘evidence’ to make, or complement, informed business-critical decisions, that positively impact not only their department but the organisation as a whole.

However, the above is only possible if this data is made accessible to ‘the masses’ – aka the whole labour force. If dashboards are disseminated solely on a c-suite level, this is when it can quickly feel like results are being scrutinised and the data is nothing more than a surveillance instrument.

Instead, if everyone has oversight of the detail, they can see exactly what’s going on and utilise this knowledge to empower their team to make individual improvements which contribute to achieving a greater business-wide objective. And it’s when all employees have visibility over the enterprise’s performance, that a culture of trust and autonomy naturally develops.

What data organisations want – or need – a view of depends on what they’re keen to achieve. It could be anything from tracking how long call-wait times are, which employees repeatedly suffer with a lack of connectivity or technical issues, the seasonality of call volumes, or looking at whether or not more staff are needed and break times need staggering etc.

The possibilities really are endless, but what’s pivotal to remember is that when the intelligence is there acting as an ‘enabler’ – helping employees to carry out their day job more efficiently – engagement levels increase and everyone feels like they’re working towards one common goal.

The domino effect

Interestingly, if workplace data analytics are used in a transparent and collaborative way, this will also, by its very nature, lead to happier customers – and staff who feel fulfilled and proud of the job they’re doing.

It’s all one big cycle – one element cannot exist without the other.

That’s because detailed insights often highlight the pain-points or bugbears clients have too – no matter how big or small, such as long call-waits at a certain time of day. When this is identified and addressed, neither the workforce nor the customers have to deal with the other’s frustrations over a call or via email.

In short, when employees are engaging with clients for positive reasons, this quickly closes the loop and positively impacts company culture too. Workers feel less stressed, aren’t dreading awkward conversations, and feel empowered to confidently interact with their accounts.

Data for the future

Additionally, as a result of having more insight into how an organisation works, this allows teams to make more intelligent forecasts.

For instance, if managers can see what ‘issues’ are seasonal and which are day-to-day concerns, they have greater flexibility to adapt and make decisions for the long-term good of the business – instead of knee-jerk reactions.

Additionally, while real-time stats are useful, the value of analysing historic information shouldn’t be overlooked. Companies can learn from what is happening – and has happened – to ensure operations run as seamlessly as possible, with maximum employee engagement and productivity.

And it’s arguably this level of informed collaboration that forms the basis of any workplace which values and wants to retain its people well into the future.

Caroline Lewis About the author

With over 20 years’ experience in the tech industry, Caroline Lewis is the sales director at data analytics business, Tiger. She first joined the company’s customer support team in 1999 after achieving a BA Hons degree in computing and informatics, and it was her love of people and tech which soon saw her develop a keen interest in the commercial side of the business.



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How to build an inclusive and resilient company culture

group of young multiethnic diverse people gesture hand high five, laughing and smiling together in brainstorm meeting at office, company culture

By Verónica Miñano, Head of Talent Acquisition at Kwalee

When I joined Kwalee back in 2016, I had to build our talent acquisition department from scratch.

Back then we were a company of only 23 employees; we are now up to 90 and growing fast, firmly established as the UK’s biggest hyper-casual mobile games company.

But when you’re growing at this rate, it’s very easy to change the fabric of the company in ways you did not anticipate, and to lose things that were previously important to your working environment.

This is especially true if you are making big changes like opening new offices, establishing new departments and creating more opportunities for remote working.

So here are my biggest pieces of advice on building a company culture that is resilient to these kinds of changes and that can survive even the most dramatic upheaval – including the events of 2020!

Identify and celebrate the pillars of your company culture

Company culture does not, and cannot, appear out of nothing. The first step is to identify what makes your company a great place to work and what employees already love about it, before enshrining these things as core values.

For Kwalee when I joined in 2016, the obvious example was how creatively everyone worked and the freedom people had to pursue their own ideas.

The clear way to develop this was to formalise this process to make it not only a fundamental influence in the company’s success going forward, but also something that could be used to embody our values as a company and set the standard for how we work.

Creative Wednesdays are now a weekly institution, encouraging employees of all roles and experience levels to pitch their own game ideas to the rest of the company. Those that find favour with the team have a chance to be made, and this approach has been behind nearly all of our global hits!

Not only does this approach filter through to every other area of the company in terms of encouraging new ideas and experimentation, it shows everyone that their ideas are valued highly – and that goes for prospective new employees too, who can see straight away from this that we are serious about these principles.

Our lunchtime pool, table tennis and Smash Bros. sessions are great, but these aren’t the things that build culture; it’s important to develop more lasting practices that can define your workplace no matter how much circumstances change.

Consider culture fit just as much as talent

We all want the most talented people to be part of our companies, but if you’re serious about building a company culture you need to consider how well an individual will fit into your team first and foremost.

An applicant could have the perfect range of skills that you’re looking for, but not be the best fit for the culture you have built. It’s easy to overlook this but a culture can begin to shift very quickly and it’s crucial to maintain this as you grow by hiring the right people.

Establish continuity to ease transition

Kwalee will soon be establishing our first overseas studio in Bangalore, India, and the first decision we made was that this will be the extension of our Leamington Spa headquarters in every way. While the official opening has been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are already hiring in the region and will be opening as soon as it is safe to do so.

The two will collaborate as a single entity, with departments and teams made up of members from both Leamington and Bangalore, and the look and feel of the Bangalore studio will mirror that of our headquarters as much as possible.

Crucially, all employees, whether in Leamington Spa, Bangalore or working from home, will be eligible for participation in Creative Wednesdays and our generous profit share scheme. This consistency is key when attempting to scale a company, everyone will be happier knowing that the team is aligned, and it will be far easier to replicate success from an established blueprint.

These are just a small selection of tips, but the truth is that building and maintaining your culture should be a daily consideration! And if you like the sound of ours, our team at Kwalee is growing all the time and you can find all our open positions here.

About the author

With more than a decade of HR and recruitment experience, first in the engineering industry and more recently in gaming, Verónica Miñano has built Kwalee’s Talent Acquisition team from scratch and has overseen the company more than tripling in size in less than four years. She is passionate about how different personalities and skill-sets can be best combined to create a harmonious and creative working environment.

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