What is Workplace Analytics and how can it help your business?

With office-based businesses becoming increasingly digital, we’re seeing industries large and small double down on employee wellbeing and mental health efforts. Not only is this crucial to support our people through turbulent times but it also makes good business sense, with research suggesting that companies who prioritise employee experience are 25% more profitable and twice as innovative as their competitors who don’t. Taking care of your employees is win-win if you ask me.

While it makes good business sense to prioritise employee experience, there hasn’t been a way to quantify or measure how people – the most valuable asset of any business – use their time… until now.

Enter Microsoft’s suite of personal and organisational insights – MyAnalytics and Workplace Analytics – giving individuals, managers and senior leaders personalised and actionable insights that help them thrive. A couple of weeks ago, Microsoft announced their plans to bring MyAnalytics and Workplace Analytics under the Viva Insights umbrella. That’s a conversation for another day, but if you’re curious to know what Viva’s all about, check out this fantastic piece from our very own Matt Dodd.

Ok, now that’s out of the way, let’s dive into the power behind analytics.

What is Workplace Analytics?

Workplace Analytics is a cloud-based service that provides business leaders and people and culture teams with insights about how people spend their time and who they spend it with. The premise is simple – whenever people use things like chat, email or calendar within M365, they create what’s known as a ‘digital footprint’ within the Microsoft Graph. This footprint paints a picture of the collective behaviours and habits of employees, allowing you to capture rich insights on themes like organisational resiliency, employee engagement, operational effectiveness, and meeting culture. 

What is MyAnalytics?

MyAnalytics provides employees with a personal dashboard of their work patterns, covering how much time we spend collaborating, how much focus time we have available, whether we have enough quiet days and so on. On top of this, it leverages AI to help users adopt more productive work practices by leveraging nudge theory and just-in-time learning. For example, the Insights Outlook add-in acts like your own personal assistant, presenting you with activity cards based on things you may need to follow up or action. The focus plan helps you schedule up to two hours of uninterrupted time in your diary to focus on high-priority work. And in-line suggestions in Outlook provide people with productivity suggestions (like “could this meeting be shortened to 45 mins?”) whenever they’re composing an email or making meeting decisions.

There are some very exciting new wellbeing features coming to MyAnalytics, through Microsoft Viva, including guided mediations hosted by Headspace, virtual commutes to allow for better separation between home and work, and better access to personal dashboards through integration with Microsoft Teams. Watch this space!

How can these insights help your business?

Today, many companies measure their success only through the lens of traditional business performance, in other words the financial, operational, and strategic outcomes achieved. In doing so, these companies are only getting half the story. For example, what’s the use of achieving strategic outcomes if you have a high rate of attrition? Sure, you might achieve 20% profitability in a given year but that might come at the cost of burning out high-performing staff. That’s not a sustainable (or attractive) business model.

Using these insights, businesses can set specific, data-driven goals to transform the way business is done. Aside from the annual staff survey, there’s never been a way for leaders to accurately track, in real time, the pulse of their business – from how time is being used, who’s collaborating with whom, and what partnerships are thriving (or not). Through Workplace Analytics, businesses can place firm metrics behind their employee experience, which can then inform programs to help people achieve better work/life balance, collaborate efficiently and find focus whenever needed. 

What about privacy?  

Both Workplace Analytics and MyAnalytics are designed to protect privacy. Personal insights are only visible to the individual and organisational insights are de-identified and aggregated by default to protect privacy. Check out this frequently asked questions page for more information.

Want to learn more? 

If you want to learn more about Workplace Analytics and whether it’s right for your business, get in touch.  

About the author

Claudia Piscitelli is the Head of Change & Adoption at Engage Squared. For more than 10 years, she has worked in communications and change management, drawing on her qualifications in behavioural science to support large-scale change programs with some of the biggest enterprise companies in Australia. She is a certified Workplace Analytics Practitioner and mum of two.

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