The sectors of the Quantified Self movement and Personal Analytics have been the driving forces behind the majority of the developments taking place here at Emberify, and keeping in tune with this, it is quite interesting to see all the sectors where the QS movement has made its presence felt. We’ve seen QS trackers in fitness, healthcare and even mood tracking, but more importantly it is becoming more and more important in industries and workplaces too.
Editor’s note: With people analytics gaining importance in enterprises, a lot can be improved. An individuals productivity or even how teams work together can be enhanced drastically with data. Personal analytics on the enterprise side can bring better efficiency & productivity. To tackle the problem of privacy, only limited parameters should be able to tracked. Employees should be clear on what data is being tracked.
In this article, I take a look at how the Quantified Self movement is being designed to fit workplaces for employee tracking and analytics. I also talk about the advantages and possible disadvantages of this modus.
EMPLOYEE TRACKING: SOMETHING NEW?
It is the duty of a firm or a workplace to monitor its employees, so that the potential of the employee – and ergo the firm – is realised to the fullest. Employee tracking isn’t a new concept really, it has existed since the first punch clock was invented.
We see it in multiple forms nowadays – right from calculating the number of hours your desktop was on, the applications you were using, the websites you were browsing, to even the biometric security scans to confirm attendance – all professionals experience some sort of monitors on a day to day basis.
A key aspect of the QS movement is the stress on privacy of data and security, and along these lines a contract might need to be established between the employer and the employee for the said monitoring to occur in a non invasive and non obstructive manner.
WHY THE STRESS ON MONITORING?
Let’s approach this question from two aspects: one from the employee’s side, and one from the employer’s side.
The employee would definitely like to see which factors contribute to him/her performing in as productive a manner as possible. In regard to this, the employee might like to inculcate some favourable factors to maximise his/her productivity. And ultimately, the productivity of the employee plays a direct role in influencing chances of promotions or upgrades in post/position.
For an employer, tracking the employees’ feedback has deeper implications. For any firm, the overall productivity and growth of the organisation is directly proportional to the productivity of each of its employees. It’s actually a pretty obvious business objective, and the company can directly influence the output by working on the factors enhancing the productivity of its employees.
As discussed in the article 5 Steps for a Quantified Self, merely tracking isn’t worthwhile. Tracking needs to be composed of a multitude of related activities – such as deciding which stimuli need to be tracked, use dedicated devices and software, and delve into niche tracking parameters. But most importantly, the data must be analysed. As said in the article, analytics is not useful unless the data is being further analysed & understood.
Apply the same fundamentals to the sphere of tracking within the workplace. and you are presented with three key driving factors for an optimally quantified workplace:
1. RELEVANT DATA
Get the data which is actually relevant to the employer’s understanding of the potential. Generally, a plethora of data is being generated and recorded, so care must be taken to filter out the irrelevant data and and pull all the apt data into a single repository.
Here’s where analytics tools might come into play. The data that has been recorded needs to be analysed very thoroughly to find the cause and effect levers which influence the productivity of the employees. Big data tools and personal analytics need to merge in a harmonious manner for the insight to be effective in nature.
3. USING THE INSIGHT TO BRING CHANGE
Merely recording the information is not enough in the Quantified Self Movement. One needs to develop action plans to enhance the positive indicators, and this scenario applies to the workplace QS situation as well. An analytics dashboard without the right action plan to crunch the numbers and make reforms in the structure is quite useless.
AS FAR AS HEALTH GOES…
It is quite the no brainer when we state that healthy employees are the most productive ones. And this simple statement is the driving cause for multiple employee health benefit programs. In fact, according to the Robin Blog, a recent study from Harvard discovered that medical costs fall about $3.27 for every dollar spent on wellness programs, and absentee day costs fall by about $2.73 for every dollar spent.
Picture the near future. Tracking devices keep track of what you do at office and where you check in. Throw in a bit of gamification into the equation, and you can offer incentives to employees based on how many times they’ve checked into the gym, or how many man hours they’ve spent in the office. The ultimate aim is to keep both the employer and the employee happy, so a foolproof method would be to combine the Quantified Self, relevant tracking, gamification, valid Enterprise Mobility standards and finally, appropriate data analysis.
The focus in this regard is not to turn organisations into a constantly monitoring environment (aka Big Brother), but an environment which studies the people in it, sees what enhances their key qualities, and work upon these factors. Workplaces can get a lot cooler, if they get modernised with QS!