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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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Four ways tech firms can improve their employee engagement

Kirsty Carter, chief of staff for cloud and technology professional and managed service provider, Solutionize Global.

Group of people smilingBusinesses can’t escape the numerous analytics available that reflect the power of an engaged workforce, and there’s no wonder more tech firms are tapping into the ways in which they can enhance their day-to-day environments.

Firms with an engaged team are said to achieve 21% higher profitability according to Gallup. And yet, the study delves further into the detail – revealing how a huge 85% of organisations are failing to motivate their staff globally.

The latter figure appears to be quite a surprising fact when dissecting the tangible advantages of what it means to have a truly engaged workforce. From productivity to happiness – a team that’s positive about where they work is more likely to produce commercially savvy results, impact that all-important bottom line positively and ultimately enjoy a better quality of working life and improved mental health and wellbeing.

And several reports back this up, with Gartner detailing how enterprises that provide a working environment – full of career and development opportunities – can help towards a firm’s annual staff turnover decreasing by nearly 70%. From a commercial point of view, that can be huge when considering the cost implications of every recruitment drive.

So, why aren’t more companies focusing on enhancing their employee engagement to make members of staff feel valued? There is never a one size fits all approach for something as diverse as individual motivation, but there are ways in which tech organisations can improve their current offering – and become a more attractive and innovative place to work.

  1. Begin with outstanding onboarding

A formal onboarding process presents a fantastic opportunity to align expectations and set new recruits up for success. It doesn’t end after an hour with HR either, it should continue throughout a structured probationary period containing bitesize deliverables to give the new starter a platform to display their skillset early on. With everyone having clear milestones and outcomes for delivery, it’s easier to measure success – or provide clear, concise opportunities for improvement.

Embedding the company culture at this stage is also key. Open and honest two-way conversations and structured training should be in place to ensure both an employee and employer feel they’ve made the right choice.

  1. Providing an inspiring environment

There’s nothing more innovative for tech-savvy minds than a challenge to get their creative juices flowing. So, does the atmosphere and workspace fit the bill?

Offering somewhere that teams can brainstorm and discuss ideas, quiet rooms so individuals can reflect and take screen breaks – and if appropriate – provide remote and flexbile working opportunities, these factors can contribute towards an atmosphere that encourages collaboration.

  1. Growing talent from within

Providing a platform for development can help organisations reap a wealth of benefits – something which has never been more pertinent than in a modern-day tech team that’s constantly tasked with staying ahead of the curve.

Personal development planning – agreed by both employees and their managers – provides a platform for the colleague to demonstrate their desire to progress and should prevent them looking outside of the organisation for a new opportunity. In addition, regular coaching and mentoring opportunities demonstrates commitment and investment in people. It’s time well spent as individuals are often motivated to ‘do more’ in an environment that promotes lifelong learning.

To keep talent firmly in the business, it’s crucial they’re shown what the future may hold – but leaders should never promise what they can’t deliver.

  1. Maintaining an ‘open door’ policy

Leaders confident to encourage open and honest conversations with their workforces – and who follow through with any actionable points as a result of those discussions – can help staff to feel engaged and that their voice is being heard.

Introducing manager and employee feedback forms as well as providing a ‘safe space’ for colleagues to talk through confidential concerns with team members, should go a long way towards encouraging a collaborative environment.

Every colleague is different in terms of what they are looking for from their careers – some might be inspired by autonomy, others via team projects. It all comes down to individual choice, and that’s something every tech organisation must reflect if it is to foster an engaged, inclusive workforce.

There are so many ways in which to improve the workplace setting, but those willing to introduce simple steps that positively impact, reward and provide a productive and safe environment are all critical when retaining top talent – and attracting the innovators of tomorrow.

Kirsty CarterAbout the author

As chief of staff at cloud and technology professional and managed service provider, Solutionize Global, Kirsty’s role focuses on company culture, employee engagement and organisational growth. As well as leading on evolving the team’s in-house training, hiring, professional development and performance management structures, Kirsty acts as an advisor to Solutionize Global’s CEO, David Bentley. First joining the forward-thinking firm in 2019, Kirsty has enjoyed a 12-year, people-focused career and is passionate about investing in people, future-proofing learning and development and creating an efficient HR function to help scale the business.