ELHAM NUMAN/THE VARSITY

According to the 2014 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends, “Fewer than one in 10 companies say they have ‘strong’ analytic capabilities.” However, more companies are realizing the importance of having information from people to aid in the maintenance of business functions. This is why the use of ‘people analytics’ is becoming a trend in Human Resources Management.

Recently, Deloitte developed a ‘smart badge’ in partnership with Humanyze, a company that designs technology to monitor employee movement.

One application is the smart badge’s ability to provide information on popular office areas that employees move through daily. After submitting the gathered information to the analytics department, the smart badge has the potential to save money for companies and boost employee satisfaction.

For instance, one executive mentioned that they were able to track the areas that were not being used frequently, such as the treadmills that the employees had requested. Seen in this way, people analytics can help identify the real needs of a company, restructure budget plans, and eventually save money.

Furthermore, the smart badge has a built-in microphone that, with consent, records the duration of conversations between employees. The actual content of discourse is not recorded, as the purpose of this feature is to record how long employees speak, in comparison to how long they listen.

U of T Professor Alan M. Saks of Organizational Behaviour and Human Resources Management cautions that the technology has “the potential for invasion of privacy and the feeling that one is always being watched, which can have negative consequences.”

However, Saks also suggests that there is great potential for this technology in Human Resources: “Ideally, it should be used within the context of employee development. That is, employees should be able to use the information along with other feedback about their performance data. This can help them to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and then develop an action plan for improvement.”

Another technology being used is VoloMetrix, a prominent tool to measure productivity. Essentially, it provides a personal goals dashboard that can only be viewed by the employee. It gives them the ability to set goals, collect data on their daily allocation of time at work, and benchmark their productivity against coworkers’.

Additionally, the personal goals dashboard breaks down how much time is being distributed to fulfilling specific work activities. This allows employees to adjust their schedules accordingly, in order to create the most effective work schedule.

For instance, the module within the VoloMetrix technology allows an employee to analyze how much time and effort are required of their coworkers to respond to emails. This could help an employee to adjust the frequency of emails being distributed or to send emails with maximum relevant content, in order to alleviate the load placed on others.

The nuances associated with people analytics technology are widespread, but these new measures have the potential to increase overall productivity, efficiency, and competitiveness.

Simply put, data and insight lead to business potential. As management guru Peter Drucker said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”

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