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Getting remote working right with people analytics and reporting

April 3 2020 - The workforce as we know it is changing, with organisations closing their offices and turning to remote working to keep the business operating as functionally as possible. Organisations across the world are currently facing unprecedented times - and all they can do is their best.

Before the current crisis, 3.4% of the U.S population worked from home and the number of UK workers who had moved to remote working had increased by nearly a quarter of a million over a decade. The numbers were already increasing rapidly, but recent events have made the issue soar to the top of the agenda.

While some organisations are already set up to work from home, others will be experiencing it for the first time. And while the physical set up - such as the technology to enable communication and easy access to company platforms and folders - is essential, what can't be forgotten is the impact that this move will have on the people and teams within the organisation. Brad Winsor, VP Workforce Analytics, SplashBI, explores what organisations need to do to keep their workforce motivated and engaged when remote working and how data is fundamental to achieving this.

Ask the right questions

It has always been important to understand what makes the people within an organisation tick; what are their drivers, what will make them stay, or what will make them leave? But now, this importance has been accelerated. Without face-to-face meetings, HR teams and line managers need to make sure they keep on top of how their staff are feeling and track this data over time so that changes can be made as a result.

By asking the right questions, organisations can use data to get a clear picture of what issues their staff might be facing; who lives in a high-risk area, what situation is their family currently in, do they feel they are still able to do their job remotely? In such turbulent times, one thing that can remain stable is an organisation's workforce, so retaining staff and keeping them motivated and engaged should be a top priority for all. Checking in regularly and getting this insight from individuals enables line managers and HR teams to monitor and track the engagement and outcomes from their teams so they aren't faced with a situation where an employee is either not performing, or becomes completely disengaged due to lack of contact. Ultimately, using data in this way enables organisations to proactively manage risk and to keep the organisation functioning as best it can in these unsettled times.

Replicating success

Painting a picture of each employee's situation by asking the right questions is the first step to ensuring the workforce can remain engaged and focused through this time of uncertainty. However, as well as looking at each employee individually, it's also important for organisations to analyse what they might be able to learn from groups of employees. Does the data show that a particular team is performing above the rest when working remotely? Is this group able to take on more work, or are they engaging in tasks quicker than other teams?

The next step is then to ask why this could be happening. Does this particular team - or individual - have daily catch ups with their line manager? Have new initiatives been instilled, such as team lunches via video conference, to keep the team working well together? Have new targets or reward schemes been put in place to keep the team motivated? Armed with the answers, line managers and HR managers can then look at how various initiatives could be replicated across the organisation to boost productivity and engagement as a whole.

Throughout this time, it will also be important to identify which employees are the least engaged, and which circumstances or actions could be contributing to that. As with engaged employees, line managers and HR teams can then look at what could be put in place to ensure the situation doesn't become irreversible.

Through the other side

Whilst, at the moment, the 'other side' might look very uncertain, this data will also be extremely important when organisations return to 'normality' - whatever that might look like. Organisations will need to continue to track each individual's return to work and ensure that office-based working practices are picked up again.

Organisations are doing their best to navigate these unprecedented times. With such a constant state of change, data can be the ally HR teams and line managers need to make sure their teams are not only working productively but that their mental and physical wellbeing is also looked after.



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