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Optimizing Employee Experience on Behavioral Data

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In grappling with how to optimize employee experience for today’s hybrid reality, many workplace leaders have had to adjust their strategic approaches for the changing dynamics or, in the absence of a plan, create one.
In a global research study on employee experience Metrigy conducted this spring, 52.3% of 250 participating companies reported needing to refine their approaches to employee experience due to the changes ushered in by the pandemic. For another 26.6%, the changes led to initiate brand-new programs.
From a technology perspective, most companies (63.7%) rely on company-wide employee experience platforms that offer communication, engagement, learning, well-being, and other modules. At 60%, most have also begun tapping into employee engagement insights integrated with various enterprise apps.
To that latter point, measuring employees’ use of communications and collaboration or productivity apps to guide well-being is among the top 10 most important employee experience goals identified by participants. It sits among the more traditional goals such as keeping employees informed on company activities, news, and other pertinent information; facilitating training and education for career development; and fostering employee connectivity.
The ability to glean behavioral insights from collaboration apps is a relatively new capability––and a growing trend, as I’ve discussed previously on WorkSpace Connect. In our study, 41.7% of companies said that understanding employee behavior is one value gained from the use of collaboration apps, be those for team chat, video meeting, or messaging.
Video meeting apps, in particular, promise a slew of behavioral insights. Most valuable, according to our study participants, is an understanding of time spent collaborating with peers, on focused work, and contributing/listening during meetings. But more than half of participants also said information such as time spent on external collaboration, in 1:1 meetings, and outside a principal team also would be of high value, among other types of insight.
These sorts of insights can inform employees on how they might change their workdays to improve their well-being and/or become more productive and provide data-backed discussion points for conversations with team leaders or managers. Likewise, team leaders and managers can get behavioral insights on their team members or direct reports, in aggregate, that could spur positive changes in work practices or policy. Of those participants using collaboration insights, 53.9% allow employees to see their personal data. Many also are more reliant on de-personalized data for insight on a team level (66.7%) and company leaders (63.7%).
Similarly, some companies see collaboration equipment, such as room-based videoconferencing systems, video bars, and webcams, as essential to the employee experience.
No surprise, then, that many already are or planning to use data from collaboration equipment to determine employee engagement (40.8%) or are evaluating whether to do so (42.7%). Of course, all of this collaboration insight can, and should, complement more traditional sources of engagement data, such as quick polls that happen within the flow of work or periodic surveys. These latter capabilities, often packaged within employee experience platforms, have long been in use for assessing engagement levels, measuring productivity, and determining well-being.
A bigger caveat is this: This sort of behavioral data is of little value if nothing happens as a result of it. That means guidance must come along with the insights, and employees and their managers, as the case may be, need to be able to measure the impact of changes made over time. This, no doubt, will be easier at companies that already have a data mindset, but no company should ignore the imperative.