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I’ve been hearing a lot about employee performance monitoring and analytics software in recent months.
This is not a surprise as research from HR Acuity shows that 61% of organizations are leveraging metrics to analyze employee behavior, engagement and performance.
However, talk about employee performance monitoring and analytics software has gone up considerably since the coronavirus outbreak, as many organizations have moved their workforce to a system of remote working and are looking for new ways to monitor and manage the performance of their workers.
Some have issued straightforward guidelines along the lines of ‘We Trust You’ while others have resorted to the use of employee tracking and performance software and technology.
Now, I’m all for feedback, continuous improvement, analytics and performance management as I believe, it lies at the heart of any sustainably great endeavor.
But, some of the more draconian policies and uses of technology that I’ve heard about recently have left me feeling uneasy, particularly when you consider that many of the companies in question talk about valuing, trusting and wanting to empower their people and then want to surveil the heck out of them.
What is clear is that overly stringent guidelines and the implementation of employee monitoring technology that is seen as overbearing and intrusive is likely to have a negative effect on employee performance and motivation.
However, Sam Lessin, one of the cofounders of Fin, an analytics and measurement platform for operations work, says that “the problem isn’t with the technology, it’s with how it is being used and employed.”
That makes sense especially when you consider that sports teams (cycling, baseball, American football, soccer, basketball, rugby etc.) have been using performance monitoring, measurement and analytics for years to help them improve performance.
Moreover, Fin’s clients are using their platform to help, for example, analyze a team’s workflow. That is allowing them to both automate repetitive steps and highlight opportunities for training and efficiency gains. This has resulted in some teams being able to complete 6x more tasks per hour where others have achieved an increase in efficiency of 12%.
So, given the risks, what does a good use of employee performance monitoring and analytics technology look like?
Deb Muller, CEO of HR Acuity, concedes that people analytics software, particularly productivity monitoring tools, can sometimes have an air of surveillance about them. However, the critical question, she says that you have to ask is “Is it “fair” to monitor them?” She goes on to say that the answer to that question will often hinge on the type of work the employee does, whether it can be legitimately measured by such tools and on how you plan to use this data.
Euclides J. Marin, Head of Solutions Engineering at Nakisa Hanelly, adds that when it comes to the implementation of employee tracking and performance management software and technology “trust is key”. The introduction of any monitoring tools needs to have a value proposition for the employees at it’s heart. If the value proposition for the employee is not clearly mapped out, explained and agreed by both sides, then any use of monitoring tools will be seen as invasive or as surveillance.
Doug Dennerline, CEO of Betterworks, believes that analytics shouldn’t be used to track time and activity as this will often be seen as ‘big brother’ oversight. Rather, it should be used to measure progress against agreed goals, milestones and outcomes that are important to the organization. As Doug says “It’s not about time put in – but accomplishment.”
In the end, countless studies show that most people want to learn, want to grow and want to do the best they can do in a meaningful job, and if you help them do that with fairness, trust and a focus on improving outcomes for both your employees and your customers then you are not going to go far wrong.
This post was originally published on Forbes.com here.