Employee wellbeing. It’s challenging for organisations to assess on a grand scale, especially when your workforce spans different teams, locations, and management tiers online. In a world where digital tools shape the modern workplace, it’s often hard to know: Are my employees okay?
As the way we communicate and collaborate slowly changes with the rise of the digital workplace, it’s more important than ever to know how your people are feeling. But how is this achieved when human interaction is limited? This is where people analytics can help leaders better manage their people and culture strategy. By providing an automated means of integrating employee wellbeing into daily operations, organisations can proactively enhance the health of their workplace community more regularly.
The importance of a healthy workplace culture
Research shows that today, people are lonelier than ever, personally and professionally. With the rise of hybrid work models and pervasive digital communication, company culture is on the decline, and this is having a negative impact on employee’s mental health. But one thing remains clear: a company’s truest asset is its people, and a happy employee is a productive employee, highlighting the critical connection between well-being, mental health and fostering a successful work environment.
Valamis defines a positive work culture as prioritising the well-being of employees, offering support at all levels within the organisation, and having policies that encourage respect, trust, empathy, and support. The benefits of a positive work culture directly lead to better employee health, reduced turnover, increased loyalty, and better job performance (Valamis, 2022). Good leaders understand the ROI of a positive work culture and work hard to connect with the needs and wants of their people. They support employee growth and inspire connection and motivation at work. But what does this look like in the rise of the digital workplace?
The impact of the digital workplace on employee health and wellbeing
With the rise of digital employee platforms, digital wellbeing in the workplace has become a new trending topic. We understand the concept in our personal lives, but many haven’t stopped to think about the consequences in our professional lives. While this concept is usually discussed regarding personal technology overuse and its effects on mental health, it also applies to how we connect digitally at work and how that links to our sense of belonging.
The digital workplace is still a new concept, and can sometimes unintentionally create a barrier between colleagues. While catch-ups, culture building activities, and informal social conversations are all very possible, they still require intention. Those spur-of-the-moment water cooler conversations, quick coffee catch-ups, or side conversations to defuse a situation all provide a sense of safety, connection, and belonging. In the digital workplace, however, we often encounter some blind spots regarding employee sentiment. It’s natural to turn cameras off, race to the next meeting, or simply ignore or decline a meeting because you are ‘too busy’. Witnessing a decline in performance and behaviour can be harder to decipher, and as a consequence, it can often be harder to physically and emotionally connect, even if you are technically ‘connected’ all day.
What is people analytics and how can you leverage it to support employee wellbeing?
People analytics is the collection of employee data that helps leaders make informed decisions about the employee experience. It is beneficial in supporting a healthy digital workplace culture because it allows senior leaders and communication and HR professionals to understand better their workforce’s needs, challenges, and preferences to promote a more engaged, ethical, and psychologically safe work environment.
People analytics is the missing link to the question, how are my employees? Try as we may, with lengthy employee surveys, days of celebration, and the hiring of great leaders, analysis of employee wellbeing can take months. It is also often outdated, and dedicated to one key person in the organisation to manage. This is why people data is so powerful; it expands the responsibility of wellbeing across the organisation and helps you reduce your blind spots on how your employees think and feel in real time.
There are several benefits to using people analytics to support your everyday wellbeing strategy, including:
Employee sentiment analysis: Sentiment analysis can give organisations key insights into how employees feel about business updates, news and changes. Giving leaders the ability to better meet these expressed—and unexpressed—needs. The advantages of effective sentiment analysis range from being able to resolve employee concerns more quickly to tracking and identifying trends and relevant factors in employee satisfaction scores across predefined periods.
Analysing leadership and behaviour: Are leaders engaging with their teams and supporting them? How frequent is the team/manager relationship? By tracking leaders’ and team engagement and behaviour over time, organisations can better understand the support being provided and whether or not this is effective.
Protecting your team with keyword tracking: People analytics allows you to highlight what parts of the business are at risk. Enhanced keyword tracking can pick up on negative keywords and phrases that pose a risk to your digital community, such as profanities, bullying, and harrassment, helping you manage risk in real-time, before it escalates.
Identifying workforce patterns and trends: People analytics allows leaders to identify patterns and trends related to employee well-being and help monitor ongoing negative behaviour. By analysing data over time, companies can detect potential issues early on and implement proactive measures. This helps prevent negative behaviour from escalating and allows leaders to offer employees the necessary resources to cope effectively.
Understanding employee recognition: Employee insights can help you know if teams and individuals are being recognised by their leaders and peers. Studies show that affirmation, feedback, and reward are most effective for motivating employees to do their best work, giving them a sense of purpose (Gallup, 2023). By tracking recognition, your leaders can work on building more robust recognition programs across the organisation that connects better with their people.
How to turn employee insights into meaningful action?
Once you have the quantitative data, you can start pairing this with other employee qualitative data, helping you to make more informed decisions and take inspired action.
Use insights to drive your organisational wellness strategy
By leveraging data from social listening, sentiment analysis, behavioural data, pulse surveys, and mood checks and combining it with other health and wellbeing insights, businesses gain an even deeper understanding of their employee’s needs, challenges, and preferences. Use this data to help assess wellbeing and cultural initiatives across your organisation regularly, and start changing and adapting your employee wellbeing strategy to better meet your people’s needs.
Evaluate program effectiveness and invest in targeted initiatives
Businesses can use people analytics to assess the effectiveness of their well-being programs and initiatives. By analysing the impact of various initiatives and campaigns, companies can make data-driven decisions to help them invest in programs that deliver more tangible results. This fosters a culture of continuous improvement and reinforces the organisation’s commitment to employee well-being and positive culture regularly.
Set up a recognition and appreciation program
Employee recognition programs help retain talent, increase employee engagement, and encourage high performance (Gallup, 2023). If these things are missing in your employee engagement strategy, sentiment and culture will slowly decline and start to impact job performance. Use insights to understand the types of recognition that have the most impact, and begin to implement and track recognition initiatives more widely across your organisation.
Offer personalised support
No two employees are the same, and their wellbeing needs may vary significantly. Personalised support improves employees’ overall job satisfaction, because it shows their colleagues and leaders care. People analytics allows leaders to segment data that helps them pinpoint changes in engagement or attitude more accurately. This can help leaders offer broader support and more personalised support where necessary.
Make health and wellbeing a priority in your organisation
Ensure digital wellbeing and culture is top of mind in your organisation, and transparent health and well-being strategies, policies, and procedures are in place. Equip your leaders with the right tools, training, and resources to adequately support employees.
Continually assess your community health
Continually change and adapt your wellness strategy regularly. Change your goals and objectives in real-time, not what happened six months ago, and use your ongoing data and insights to pivot to the needs of your community more easily.
Don’t forget to be human
It’s crucial not to lose sight of the human element, including genuine connections, empathetic conversations, and a caring environment. Be sure to use insights data to enhance and complement your wellbeing and culture strategy, not replace meaningful interactions in the workplace.
With the rise of the digital workplace, employee wellbeing is more important than ever. This is where people analytics emerges as a powerful tool for nurturing a positive work culture. It allows organisations to understand, support, and protect their employees through a number of key tools such as: sentiment analysis, behaviour analysis, keyword tracking, pattern tracking, and recognition mapping.
By pairing data-driven insights with qualitative people data, businesses can create more meaningful and targeted strategies that enhance wellbeing and drive positive change. It provides the means to seamlessly integrate employee wellbeing into the fabric of daily operations that are more tangible and measurable, by transcending the limitations of geography, hierarchies, and digital landscapes; bridging the gap between leaders and employees more seamlessly.
Remember, people analytics can help you:
- drive your organisational wellness strategy
- evaluate program effectiveness and invest in more targeted initiatives
- set up a more effective recognition and appreciation programs
- offer more personalised support
- make health and wellbeing an ongoing priority in your organisation
- continually assess your community health in real time
If you want to learn how to leverage deeper people analytics from your Workplace from Meta platform and build a more positively connected community, get in touch with one of our employee experience consultants today to find out how.