Better Than a Gut Feeling: Using Data to Analyze Employee Productivity & Wellbeing

Better Than a Gut Feeling: Using Data to Analyze Employee Productivity & Wellbeing

Have my employees been more productive or less productive during COVID-19?

Are there any groups that are prone to burnout?

What are the day-to-day behaviors of my high performing teams?

These are all questions that many leaders have a gut feeling about but aren't sure how to validate or take action to drive meaningful change.

I first heard about Microsoft's Workplace Analytics earlier this year and was completely intrigued by the ability to quantify behaviors that have always felt hard to measure. When the chance came to join others on my team for the first wave of partner training on Workplace Analytics, I immediately jumped on the opportunity. While insights into employee productivity and wellbeing have always been important, this year provides a fascinating case study around work habits before and after the shift to remote work.

Using the digital footprints that employees leave behind in Microsoft 365 tools such as chat, email, and calendars, Workplace Analytics surfaces incredibly valuable insights into the way your teams work.

Sound a little creepy? It's not "Big Brother," I promise. The data is actually de-identified and aggregated based on a minimum population size therefore it only reports on behaviors of a group, not of any individual. And the insights are generated from header-level metadata and does not analyze email bodies.

Curious what all this data can show you? Here are just a few of the insights I think are interesting.

How Are Collaboration Activities Changing?

Looking at the shift in collaboration hours can help you identify how groups are adapting to remote work and can enable leadership to provide guidance, tools, and support.

How Have Employees Working Hours Shifted?

As you can see in this example, 71% of employees had an increase in afterhours work time. While this flexibility is both needed and appreciated, leadership can use this to identify groups that are at risk for burnout.

Are Managers Engaging with Employees?

Regular touch points with a manager are important in any work environment however, they are even more critical with employees who are adapting to a new remote workstyle. The ability to see which teams may need extra support and encouragement to conduct their regular 1:1s can help drive targeted efforts to increase engagement.

How Can We Maximize Sales Efficiency?

For those with larger sales teams, looking at how sellers divide their time between customers and internal activities identifies areas in which an organization can evaluate if there needs to be training or improved communication around key processes in the sales cycle or even if selling and support processes should be redesigned.

Suggestions for Improvement

Workplace Analytics provides a high-level summary of areas for improvement as well as best practice recommendations and resources to help you start implementing change programs.

Technology is the Easy Part, Change is Hard

Because Workplace Analytics initially collects and processes 13 months' worth of data, now is a fascinating time to see how behaviors have changed from pre-pandemic throughout the course of this crazy year.

While the Workplace Analytics insights are pretty cool by themselves, the real value comes from knowing what business outcomes you want to achieve, how they tie back to your overall business strategy, evaluating how the insights from your employees' day-to-day actions are supporting or detracting from those goals, and then creating and executing programs to drive measurable change.

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