Workforce Analytics: The Key to Understanding the Digital Agility of a Hybrid Workforce

June 22, 2021

Pete Summers

Workforce Analytics: The Key to Understanding the Digital Agility of a Hybrid Workforce image

Digital agility is at the top of the agenda for many organizations. Business leaders recognize that digital capabilities and skills are vital to being able to react to the big shifts taking place in the world. The ability of employees to quickly adopt and use new technologies is critical. Equally important is providing employees with a digital experience that allows them to operate as effectively as possible. Both these factors can make-or-break transformation initiatives.

Employees who struggle to adapt to new technologies and tools will be negatively impacted, and the quality of their work may deteriorate. Equally, unless friction is eradicated from the employee experience, they’ll never be as effective as they could be.

Digital leaders vs digital laggards

Every workforce has a mixture of digital leaders and laggards. The leaders are tech-savvy individuals who readily embrace new technologies and thrive in a digital world. The laggards are less confident with new technology, may be daunted by new processes, and are resistant to change. For these employees, change can be overwhelming.

Introduce hybrid working, and the problem both increases and becomes harder to spot. In a recent BBC survey, 43 out of 50 of the UK’s biggest employers said staff would not be coming back to work in an office full-time, and global research from Gartner found 82% of business leaders plan to allow hybrid work. However, few organizations have truly taken stock of how employees fare when working flexibly, even though hybrid working is clearly here to stay. The challenge is, in a hybrid scenario, it is harder for HR to check how employees are doing as they cannot be observed in-person. Some employees may also be less likely to ask for help via email or virtual channels compared to face-to-face in the office.

Understanding the day-to-day experience of employees

Workforce analytics addresses the challenge of understanding the digital agility of employees in a hybrid workplace. IT teams can gather data that measures employee experience, success and wellbeing; such as collaboration and team metrics and how well digital tools are used. Analytics evaluate user journeys in detail, mapping the sequence of steps employees follow as they work. This can reveal points of friction that cost the employee and the business time and productivity. For instance, an employee might not be using all the features of a system so they miss out on functionality that helps them to work more effectively and that could improve their experience. Or, they might have to frequently switch between applications because a workflow isn’t fully understood or has been designed inefficiently.

Workforce analytics also allow HR teams to see employees’ communications pathways and identify how they interact with co-workers in a hybrid environment. A person might typically operate in a team of fifteen, but analytics show that they only instant message or email one other colleague. Similarly, they might have gone from being a frequent user of instant messaging or collaboration tools to not using that channel at all. This could indicate that the person feels unable to collaborate with colleagues, there is a technical problem, they feel isolated, or there is a training need – all of which could affect how successful they can be.

Equipped with data, HR gains visibility over several important elements. Including identifying tools and systems that are not being used to their full extent, and processes that aren’t being followed optimally. Visibility into day-to-day technology usage and habits also enables HR to spot those team members who aren’t thriving in a hybrid working model, and then to provide the necessary training and support to address skills gaps. In doing so, employees are empowered to work to the best of their abilities and can fulfill their potential. This ensures they are adding to the digital agility of their organizations, rather than taking away from it.

Acumen, from Scalable Software automatically tracks the usage of your organization’s systems and technology investments, monitoring digital KPIs that map directly to employees’ digital experience. It helps both IT and HR to understand whether an organization’s technology investments are being used correctly and whether any employees are struggling to keep pace with changes.

To learn more, download our guide, Providing an Exceptional Hybrid Working Experience. And to find out more about how Acumen can help your organization, visit our platform overview.