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The relationship between Leadership and Workforce Analytics

Harjiv Singh Rekhi, VP, ProHance

Harjiv Singh Rekhi, VP, ProHance

The single biggest direct spend that leaders and organizations have in any P&L is the wage spend on their human capital

As per Gartner 2021 technology trends, measuring employee productivity is going to see a massive upsurge in the next 5 years”
— Harjiv Singh Rekhi, VP, ProHance
NEW DELHI, DELHI, INDIA, July 8, 2021 / -- To be able to run tightly managed operations; enterprises set targets in place to keep salary inflation in check and multiple initiatives are undertaken to keep costs in control. “There are teams that are built above the existing teams with fancy titles and are given additional targets over the existing ones to start identifying cost-cutting initiatives. A number of times this happens in a very haphazard manner with no plan. This knee-jerk reaction by leaders causes immense negative disruption to employees and causes irreparable damage. Usually what follows is to blame the immediate manager, who is blamed for operations running amok,” says Harjiv Singh Rekhi, VP, ProHance, a leading desktop SaaS platform that provides future-ready unified workforce-related analytics and data capture.

The problem lies in the leadership not building an environment of predictability in the team, not empowering the managers with tools and technologies that are needed to manage their teams in a scientific manner, and not ensuring that there is a continuous improvement culture because then overall costs become a naturally controlled by product. It’s like identifying high sugar in the body, knowing that it can be controlled by adopting a lifestyle change but not doing so. The first step to predict is to measure and the first step to improvement is to have metrics, without a baseline one cannot define the future and will continue to operate blindly.
Consider this: Why would leaders be wary of deploying technology to measure employee analytics ex. productivity? Is it fear of the unknown, is it complacency and not challenging the current? The sooner these reasons are overcome, the better it is because measuring productivity is here to stay, as penetration of technology increases, especially in the current work scenario. “As per Gartner 2021 technology trends, measuring employee productivity is going to see a massive upsurge in the next 5 years, in fact, performance management will see a spike in the next 2 years, hence leaders must acknowledge the void so that they can get aligned with technology or the organizations will lag behind. Enterprises will be operating in a distributed widespread operation for the next few years which makes it imperative to have an intelligent operations management platform that gives leaders’ eyes and ears so there aren’t any surprises,” feels Rekhi.

Surveys peg that 44% of leader’s and people managers are finding it difficult to manage remote teams, 36% are worried about the physical and mental well-being of their employees, 40% don’t have the adequate tools to manage their operations -- these statistics cannot be ignored by the leadership community. The use of manual processes, excel based operations, lack of innovation leads to a disaster of epic proportions. Leaders have to ensure transparency over the work that making work and optimize workforce skills, competency, and availability. The workforce of the future will be location-agnostic, hence people managers will have to be equipped to make the management more real-time because remote working does involve distractions, and hence real-time jeopardy management will make it easier and predictable.

A future-fit workforce will be more adaptive, data Inspired, and resilient and will need leadership that helps them maneuver with ease. On the other side, while technology will be a key enabler, performance is still going to be about people, hence managers will need the right tool embedded with robust continuous improvement methodologies. Analytics and data will play a bigger role, and actionable insights will be key to make hyper-fast improvements and quick course corrections. The time for 3-year strategies may not be relevant because of how the situation continues to change at a rapid pace. Processes should be made dependent on fewer people, hence automating manual repetitive work and moving resources to higher-value work is important.

Questions that need to be answered:
Is there an operating model which is sustainable in the current climate and can it manage itself through the technologies available?
Do the teams have measures of success that are benchmarked against best-in-class examples?
Is there visibility of the time that is getting spent on the tasks and where?
Can healthy competition be encouraged through transparency in performance across individuals and groups?
Are the teams busy enough?
Are the process workflows broken?
Are the processes ready for automation and do they offer an ROI?
How efficiently are the assets being used?
How big a role is analytics playing in the BAU decisions?

We grow with the idea of time management and spend money to learn how effective it is, but then why is there resistance when it comes to measuring time in a professional environment? A lot of the leaders pin it on the culture and trust aspect, but how can measurement break an organization’s culture, and if there is a doubt about that then perhaps that culture needs to be looked at urgently. Should a sports person be recognized without performance measurement in the particular sport, should the success of a movie not be based on measuring the collections, should an individual be given loans without measuring the credit history, should a politician be declared a winner without having a measure for winning margin …. And there are more such examples where measurement is daily routine. The problem also lies in the minds where failure is not encouraged. It’s fine not to be first always and it’s fine for an individual’s performance not to be good always, but if it’s measured then at least the smart steps that someone else is taking can be replicated across and instead of having one pocket of brilliance there could be multiple.

“Any technology deployment and measurement system will involve a period of change management. It has to be communicated that it will foster creativity, encourage transparency, and help improve work-life balance. If this deployment plan is well communicated, then the results of a measurement system can be quadrupled because as a leader you’re taking your teams on the transformation journey and not being a cynical leader who loves to walk alone, concludes Rekhi.

Shikha Mishra
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