(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is sponsored by Microsoft, whose mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. They have a website dedicated to Modern HR, a content collection focused on digital transformation. Check it out when you have a moment. Enjoy the post!)
I’m starting to hear more people use the phrase “Culture is the new currency.” as a way to describe how important it is for companies to have a culture that attracts, engages, and retains talent. That shouldn’t be a surprise. During the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference this summer, Dawn Klinghoffer, Microsoft’s head of people analytics, mentioned that 86 percent of companies say they’re trying to change culture. The question becomes how exactly do organizations accomplish that?
Klinghoffer talked about the role communication and technology play in influencing organizational culture. In fact, she jokingly referenced how many organizations have what could be termed an “email culture”. I know many of you are smiling as you’re reading this because you know exactly what I’m talking about. And you also know, there’s only so much we can do via email.
But let me be the one to say that the answer isn’t to eliminate email. It has a purpose. A relevant and valuable business purpose. We just need to get smarter about when and how we use it. I’ve said before that it sometimes amazes me for a technology medium like email that has been around decades, it has very few globally accepted business rules. But that could be changing.
4 Ways to Evaluate Workplace Communications
The team at Microsoft have put together an analytics tool that evaluates organizational communications and provides reporting and tips for communicating more effectively. Microsoft Workplace Analytics is an organizational data insights tool that showcases broad trends and habits within an organization. I had the chance to do a quick test drive during the SHRM conference. Here are the four qualities that Workplace Analytics can measure:
1. Facetime. We know that the first key to employee engagement is relationships, meaning that managers need to spend time getting to know and building positive working relationships with employees.
Workplace Analytics can measure the amount of time that managers spend in one-on-one meetings, which could be an indicator of how much time managers are spending focused on relationship building.
2. Balance. If we want our employees to practice wellness and well-being, then we need to lead by example. Even when we say, “You don’t have to answer emails over the weekend.” Employees still get stressed out when the boss sends an email.
To help move organizational-level goals toward better work-life balance, Workplace Analytics tool tracks the amount of time employees spend in meetings or working after hours.
3. Network. Having an internal and external network is important for an employee’s career success. This starts with building peer relationships during onboarding.
WorkplaceAnalytics provides insights on how much time new hires are spending not only with their manager, but with peers, and how information is flowing across networks. The data is presented in aggregate and de-identified and is not designed to be used on teams of less than 5 people.
4. Outcomes. Employees often spend more time collaborating with peers on projects than they do with management. It’s important to understand how employees are communicating with each other.
Workplace Analytics provides a dashboard that demonstrates how teams collaborate to set achievable goals that help the team and business. Managers can act on these insights using the solutions feature which acts as a bridge between Workplace Analytics and teams of employees.
Case Study: Freddie Mac Transforms the Workforce
A couple of weeks ago, I shared with you an infographic from Microsoft that outlined the steps that organizations can use to create a digital transformation. Workplace Analytics is one of those tools. And here’s an example of how an organization has pulled all of the pieces together.
Freddie Mac (also known as the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation) is a public government-sponsored enterprise based in Virginia with roughly 6,000 employees. Now, before you say, “Oh well this is a huge organization, we won’t be able to realize the same results.” Watch the video. I thought the points made about refocusing the sales team could happen with any size organization in any industry.
Technology and Analytics Can Transform the Business
The key to digitally transforming your organizational culture is to move from a fixed “email driven” mindset to one that realizes technology can grow and enhance the culture. It does involve supporting the right technology and using technology tools to empower and engage employees.
Technology investments are employee investments. Whether it involves creating better connections between employees and customers through the bundling of technology tools or improving communications between employees and management with open digital communities, technology can transform the business by increasing productivity and collaboration.
If you’d like to learn more about how technology tools like Microsoft’s Workplace Analytics can transform your workforce, check out this short video and sign up for a demo.
Microsoft logo used with permission20