Workplace Analytics: What Is It and Do You Need It? 

Written by: Natalie Stottler

How Workplace Analytics Can Help Maximize Workstream Collaboration ROI 

A new generation of employees has entered the workforce, bringing with them a flurry of changes to the workplace. Most notably is an increase in remote work environments and prevalent use of cloud-based applications, leading to a large increase in workplace analytics to sort through. One of the core undercurrents of this set of digital workplace changes is workstream collaboration platforms, which are being introduced to organizations at rapid-fire – sometimes by lines of business or IT teams, or more often in a shadow IT fashion by end-users themselves.  

The challenge is that these real-time workstream collaboration (WSC) platforms can pose a usage and adoption challenge. Getting all employees on the same page regarding issues ranging from which apps to use, how to use them, when to use them, and even when not to use them is no easy hurdle for IT teams. It’s a necessary evil, however, as collaborative work is five times more likely to result in higher employee performance and output. Conversely, collaboration bottlenecks and/or missteps using technology can lead to errors and inefficiencies that negatively impact productivity.   

78% of US workers use company-mandated chat software at work, yet 33% admit that they are distracted by notifications from that software. How do companies make sure that productivity improves, that collaboration platforms are being used correctly, while also preventing an increase in communication fatigue? Workplace analytics. 

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What is Workplace Analytics for Collaboration Apps? 

what is workplace analytics?

So what is workplace analytics? Workplace analytics is what enables businesses to use data from various cloud-based platforms such as Slack, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams to identify collaboration patterns that impact productivity and workforce effectiveness. Capturing details about usage trends and workplace performance helps improve decision-making for IT, identify communication and training opportunities, increase organizational efficiency, facilitate culture change, mitigate collaboration security risks, and extend the value and productivity of employees. 

Analytics for the Enterprise Are Not the Same as Individual Analytics 

individual and group collaboration

At first mention, many people think workplace analytics focuses on the insights that come from a data-centric approach to helping individuals become more personally efficient. However, this neglects the view that is critical to maximizing collaboration ROI. IT teams need to look at the bigger picture which aggregates insights for the organization as a whole, assessing current workstream collaborative technologies to determine which stay and which go, cutting down on time and spend, or amplifying training programs to increase in employee productivity and efficiency at an individual level.  

How to Target the Full Spectrum of Workplace Analytics 

In some ways, the new term of workplace analytics is just a new and modern way of talking about usage and adoption. This is the first step on the path for WSC applications. Being able to measure active and enabled users and being able to count channels and workspaces provided IT with an initial feel for the presence and growth of the platforms. As an organization matures its ability to leverage workplace analytics software, the discussion turns to impact and engagement. Here the discussion is around the “how” of usage – is there reciprocity of communications or is there just a myriad of one-way blasts; how is an organization segmented into different categories of personas describing how they collaborate (e.g. disengaged vs contributor)? And then, at the end of the rainbow, there is the measurement of organizational collaboration effectiveness. In this stage, the analytics begin to look at areas of focus like departmental or geographic best practices regarding engagement and how to extend those patterns and insights to other teams using a set of recommended behavioral actions. Where’s the ROI? 

Working to improve employee productivity actually starts with facilitating collaboration – in fact, companies using Slack, as an example, report a 25% drop in the number of meetings, and a 32% increase in overall productivity. Creating a collaborative environment will also help lower costs, shorten timelines, improve productivity and increase ROI by connecting various teams in complex environments, promoting common goals, foster shared values, and build relationships. In fact, over 50% of workers feel that collaboration platforms have strengthened their relationship with their coworkers including a stronger relationship with their boss.  

Software Tools to Help You Analyze WSC

workplace analytics software

Measuring workplace analytics for WSC platforms can be difficult. IT teams need to hone in on multiple overlapping platforms and interactions to ensure the collaboration environments are delivering a positive experience. The challenge is often compounded by the fact that with WSC apps IT can sometimes be in a position where they are not directly managing some of these business-critical technologies.  

With workplace analytics software, IT teams take back some control and gain insight that enables them to develop best practices and understand optimal output behaviors across the enterprise. This type of software found in PowerSuite, allows IT teams the ability to measure (and just as important – benchmark) across the full spectrum of workplace analytics from adoption to engagement to effectiveness. Given the latest projection of 75% of organizations worldwide using at least one WSC app platform by 2023, an investment in these tools to help optimize your WSC ROI seems like a very strategic investment.  

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