People analytics is a field that emerged from HR in the mid-2000’s that uses data analytics to gather useful insights about an organization’s employee base. In the words of Google’s VP of People Operations, Prasad Setty, it is “analytics for the people, not of the people.” Here are five metrics that People Analytics teams should be measuring to help monitor and improve employee well-being and effectiveness.
- Focus time – The People Analytics teams at Cultivate customers have measured a very strong positive relationship between focus time and employee productivity – when people have free blocks of time to focus on tasks without meetings or interruptions, they get more done overall. An increase in meetings and/or a decrease in focus time will often lead to reduced productivity, so monitoring these metrics can let People Analytics teams suggest solutions to management, like reducing meetings or using plugin apps that encourage employees to arrange their schedule to preserve focus time.
- Cadence of 1:1 meetings – Uber’s People Analytics team found a relationship between meetings and trust between employees and managers. Meetings, particularly one-on-one meetings, build trust between participants. Unfortunately, in-person meetings are more effective at this than virtual ones (one source said that it takes 16 virtual meetings to equal the bump in trust from one in-person meeting). Still, tracking how often employees have 1v1 meetings with their managers is helpful because building trust with their manager will help that employee be more engaged and effective.
- Groups that are below average on well-being and engagement metrics – Most People Analytics departments track employee well-being and engagement through surveys or passive data collection tools. These numbers have limited usefulness in a vacuum, but they allow People Analytics to see if any particular groups are consistently scoring lower than the average. This tells them who at the company might be struggling and need additional help. For example, many companies found that caregivers, particularly those with young children, scored significantly lower on these two metrics during the early days of Covid-19. Monitoring who drops below average on these measurements can turn up other groups that are in need of support.
- Disconnecting during non-work hours – This metric is incredibly important during the Covid-19 pandemic and among remote teams. On average, the work day increased for knowledge workers when they shifted to working from home as their commutes got replaced with more meetings. Being able to unplug and mentally reset at the end of each day is incredibly important for worker’s mental health and their long-term productivity. People Analytics teams should measure this metric and do everything in their power to encourage employees to disconnect after work each day. This is one of the areas that the Cultivate platform can coach managers on, and we also offer a tool called TeamDynamics to help managers respect their team’s work hour preferences.
- Sharing Opinions – Our own research at Cultivate has found when managers that respond to feedback and questions from their team thoughtfully, those team members are more likely to share feedback again in the future. Even better, we found that teams that regularly share their opinions and solicit feedback from one another are more engaged and managers of those teams receive higher marks on their performance reviews. Manager responsiveness contributes to high-performing teams and should be encouraged whenever possible.
The overall goal of People Analytics is to help employees be more engaged, healthy and balanced. People Analytics’ goal has traditionally been reporting data – to the C-suite, the board of directors, or to other business leaders. But according to many of our customers and partners, the future of People Analytics is providing data back to employees and users in a way that it adds value or helps them be more effective. If you look at it this way, employees are the biggest stakeholder for the People Analytics team!
Cultivate is a digital leadership platform that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to provide in-the-moment feedback and tools to enterprise employees. Our mission is to help build stronger workplace relationships, and empower people leaders and employees to be more effective, engaged, and balanced.