Workplace Analytics – Debunking the Myth and What you Can Achieve

Being a member of the high echelon of administration, I understand the fact that human capital is a vital and irreplaceable part of any organization. But then, how to maximize their potential is something that always eluded me until I started using workplace analytics which I must say has delivered even beyond expectations.

How do you choose the right workplace analytics platform for your company? Selecting the right workplace analytics platform is dependent on several things, and on what a platform provides you with. This article helps you understand what workplace analytics is, a factor that will help you choose the very right platform for your corporation.

The human capital of a company is a critical factor in its bid to be a competitor in its niche. This was according to a survey in which more than 1,700 CEOs all over the world participated. Human capital is considered so important that other more conventional and traditional factors such as assets and infrastructure rank way below. This survey shows that human capital is important in how successful and competitive a company turns out. Despite this, however, not a lot of zeal has been put into understanding this vital factor.

A study conducted by IBM which involved more than 700 Chief Human Resource Officers showcased just how little attention is being paid to analyzing workers and crafting solutions to increase their productivity. It was discovered during the study that only one-third of these Chief Human Resources Officers felt like they were making optimal use of analytics in the making of strategic decisions that affect their workforce.

One primary reason for the way these organizations disregard workplace analytics is the fact that they do not fully understand the benefits it provides. Simply put, they do not understand how analytics can help them drive their business forward. Most organizations have the false opinion that workplace analytics simply involves things such as headcounts, cost of labor, the turnover, etc.

Debunks Some of the Myths Surrounding Workplace Analytics

A workplace analytics platform is a software that assists organizations to gauge and analyze the actions their employees take and how it relates to the fulfillment of their job descriptions. The software obtains, measures and quantifies those metrics that matter and which could give pointers as to how employees might do better and be more productive. Workplace analytics platforms combine with the wireless communications you would normally find in an office environment which it subsequently leverages to collect data about what the workers are doing, how they relate within the workplace as well as other habits they exhibit. Workplace analytics platforms help analyze and reveal patterns of behavior of employees within the workplace. These patterns, once identified, can then be studied such that inefficiencies and other such weaknesses shown can be fixed. These platforms help employers to increase the productivity and efficiency of individual employees in a bid to improve and advance the organization as a whole.

Workplace analytics covers a wide range of factors which include policies, procedures, planning of the workplace, the ergonomics involved, as well as a self-quantification. The principles of this particular means of ensuring workplace efficiency are inclusiveness and open-mindedness on the results obtained during the process. This is especially important seeing as the purpose of doing this in the first place is to help each employee figure out which areas they need to improve upon so that they can have a better career.

There are different reactions to the use of workplace analytics, however, as some employees distrust it and see it as a means to monitor and witch hunt them or as a means to get them to work even harder than they already are. They view as a form of staff surveillance and nothing more.

Seeing as organizations must observe the behaviors of their workers while working as well as ensure that they have the right talents who buy into their goals and missions working for them, workplace analytics software cannot be discounted.

Workplace analytics employs the use of such techniques referred to as analytic disciplines. An example is the use of sensors and smart tags to observe an office space. This is then used to determine if another space layout would be better and if it would better utilize available space. The information gotten from the use of these sensors can also be used to improve work conditions in such a way as to encourage employees to be more productive and also enhance the cohesion between teams.

Workplace analytics is so far, unstandardized and undefined. The landscape is changing, however, since the technology giant, Microsoft joined the fray with their Workplace analytics software. Workplace help employers gather data about their employees — a lot of data that can be useful in different ways. The attitude of employees to work as well as the actions they take toward the fulfillment of their job roles are monitored and extracted in a way that is not dissimilar to big data sets. This is then used to make decisions in areas such as the hiring of new workers for the company, the scheduling of employees and their assignments, the tracking of how long it takes them to accomplish that which they had been assigned to do. The data collected through workplace analytics can outline the problems a worker experiences as well as the root cause of them. This revelation is then used to form company policy and make strategic decisions.

Over the years, employee productivity has been on a decline, and workplace analytics provides a way to arrest this. Even making employees work harder is not helping matters. This is one of the reasons why workplace analytics is important.

With workplace analytics, employers can understand what exactly is happening in their workplace. They can also discover those practices within their work that is irrelevant and redundant while giving insight into what has to be done to achieve more than had been previously achieved.

Workplace Analytics Reveals Underlying Problems Within the Workplace

It helps employers find a solution to problems that are plaguing their organization such as why employees are not fulfilling their potentials.

Reveals communication snags and what is responsible for them. For instance, why do employees prefer to communicate via email instead of making voice calls which are faster and way more efficient?

Opportunities With Workplace Analytics

Optimize your workplace and facilities: as already mentioned, the use of workplace analytics will reveal how office space is being utilized. You can find out which of the meeting rooms people are flocking to the most and which of them are not being used. You get to identify if these rooms are not required which will them inform your decision to convert them to more productive spaces. Workplace analytics allows you to know just how much space you need in your company. You can then draw insight from this in figuring out how to balance the need for space with its availability.

Fulfill set benchmarks for productivity: meeting rooms are quite hard to quantify which means that optimizing them will not be an easy task to accomplish. But with about 15% of worker’s time in an organization being spent on meetings, it is important to know whether just how productive and necessary they are. Workplace analytics analyses these meetings and provides insight on how well they went such that their success or otherwise can be revealed.

What You Can Do With the Right Workplace Analytics Platform

How rooms are being utilized: a good workplace analytics platform provides insight into the utilization of rooms within the work environment. For instance, meeting rooms at your company might be well used within particular hours which might mean that some teams are unable to access them to hold discussions that will help drive the company forward. With the right workplace analytics platform, you can find a plan out which option is best and will solve your space problems. Is it a need to repurpose or expand available space, or will changing meeting times solve the problem?

Recapture rate: some rooms at your organization might be getting more traffic than some others. This means that employees tend to gravitate toward these rooms while avoiding those others. With workplace analytics, you can discover why these rooms are preferred and figure out ways to increase utilization.

The time frame of meetings: to ensure that time is being spent productively, and that things are being done efficiently, there is a need to know how much time is being spent in meetings. With the right workplace analytics platform, you can find out what time is best for a particular group meeting and what room best fits its needs.  This will ensure that time is being used more efficiently,

Irrelevant meetings: some meetings constitute a waste of time and resources maybe because they prove redundant or just irrelevant. These meetings usually get little to no attendees (Ghost meetings) which means that they result in a waste of productive time and space as other meetings could have been booked. A good analytics platform will help you discover these meetings and put an end to them.

Meeting population: there is a need to maintain just the right balance in the number of people who attend meetings. For instance, if the amount of employees at a meeting is too many, there is a chance for productivity in your company to suffer. On the other hand, a meeting with too little attendees may point to a problem in the team spirit at your company especially if one of your core values is collaboration.

Meeting schedule: meetings can be scheduled in advance for a specific time, or they could be scheduled as needed. Either of these can work depending on your company and how you are prone to doing things. Both approaches to meetings have their advantages and disadvantages, and you need only determine which works best for your situation. For instance, meetings scheduled in advance can develop to become nothing more than rote. These meetings can evolve to become events where nothing productive is being discussed. Meetings are meant for brainstorming. They are events where problems are discussed and solutions proffered, and without this being done, they become avenues of time wasting. Unscheduled meetings, on the other hand, can become frustrating especially if they are too often.

Technology to use: some meetings go more smoothly with the aid of certain devices and gadgets. A good workplace analytics platform allows users to know the technical capabilities available in each meeting room. The software provides this information to employees before booking to ensure the room fits the meeting needs.

Visitors to your organization: a good workplace analytics platform will give you information as to the number of visitors you get in your environment. With this, you can make informed decisions on how to arrange your reception area/lobby and efficiently manage the space available. Apart from providing you with this particular insight, a good workplace analytics platform will provide the help you decide on whether or not to employ full-time front desk personnel.

A good workplace analytics platform fulfills the above and more besides, for instance, you can also use a workplace analytics platform to predict whether or not a candidate is a good fit for a job. This is through the use of data collated on that particular candidate’s characteristics, behavior and the likes.

Choosing a good workplace analytics platform simply involves you looking at whether it will fulfill those needs you have at your workplace.

Some related questions

What is the difference between workplace and workforce analytics?

There isn’t that much difference between the two. Workplace analytics is related to workforce analytics which is a term used to refer to the entire field and which focuses on the qualifications of an employee as well on the interaction (dynamics) between members of a team.

How do I maximize workforce analytics?

Figure out the problem: what are the exact problems facing your organization. It is critical that you figure out what exactly you need the software to solve for you. This will give you a focus and direction and something concrete to solve. Finding out what needs to be solved is the first step to making optimum use of your workforce analytics software.

Choose a model: this is yet another important thing to do in your quest to use your workplace analytics software efficiently. Formulate a model which identifies and incorporates your areas of concern in the company. Your model should be able to help you determine the impact of these areas on company productivity. This helps you choose the exact data you need from the tons available today.

Collate data: after deciding on which data you require for your model. The next thing to do is to collect said data. You might need to do this across several databases, but it helps achieve your goal instead of fumbling around.

Analyze collected data: the data collected should not just be analyzed, it should be analyzed in such a way that the results will be practical and relevant and helpful in solving the problems facing your business. Several statistical techniques exist, and you should ensure that the right one is used.

Result preparation: the results of the analysis should be prepared in such a way that it aligns with the organization’s mission and goals.

Outline a feasible solution: it is important that you plan a clear and feasible solution based on the insights you get from your analysis. This will help you achieve your goals and solve the problems easily.

What is the Microsoft Workplace Analytics?

Microsoft Workplace Analytics is a new addition to Microsoft office. It is a software platform that helps you analyze and discover solutions to productivity problems plaguing your organization. Microsoft Office already contains a lot of information available in the workplace, and the Workplace Analytics software help uses this information to enhance the productivity of a company.

Steve Todd

Steve Todd, founder of Open Sourced Workplace and is a recognized thought leader in workplace strategy and the future of work. With a passion for work from anywhere, Steve has successfully implemented transformative strategies that enhance productivity and employee satisfaction. Through Open Sourced Workplace, he fosters collaboration among HR, facilities management, technology, and real estate professionals, providing valuable insights and resources. As a speaker and contributor to various publications, Steve remains dedicated to staying at the forefront of workplace innovation, helping organizations thrive in today's dynamic work environment.

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