Managers Dilemma: How Can Employees Compare Performance?

Can your employees track their daily performance, or do they have to wait for a manager review? Do they know where they need training or when they excel at a process? In this manager’s dilemma, I walk through a “Peer Productivity Comparison” Dashboard in WorkiQ, explain how desktop analytics can help your employees diagnose their own performance.

This workforce analytics dashboard displays:

  • The number of work processes a single user completed over several days. (ie. insurance claim, IT ticket, enrollment application, etc.)
  • The average time this user needed to complete each work processes.
  • The average time this user spent performing defined tasks (sub-processes) within a process each day.
  • This same information above for the user’s team, so each employee can compare performance to their peers.

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Managers Dilemma: What Processes Consume an Employee’s Day?

Do you really know all the processes that consume your employee’s time? Do top performers spend more time in specific work processes? What time-consuming activities should you consider for process improvement or automation? In this manager’s dilemma, I walk through a “Processes by Time” Dashboard in WorkiQ Desktop Analytics, and point out a few key insights that managers should know about process time.

This dashboard displays:

  • The average amount of time to complete a defined process.
  • The NET amount of time spent in each process over several days.
  • The average and NET time spent performing defined tasks (sub-processes) within a process.
  • The NET amount of time spent outside of defined processes.

This WorkiQ Desktop Analytics dashboard can be adjusted to report a range of dates, a specific employee, or a group of employees.

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Measure Twice – Cut Once

For a carpenter, hasty cuts can result in an expensive loss of time and materials. Hence, the phrase “measure twice; cut once”. Applying this “measure twice & cut once” principle to back-office operations simply means; you can’t improve what you don’t measure.

[Whitepaper] IDC Analyst Connection: What Gets Measured Gets Better: Improving Performance

“WorkiQ is helping us have effective conversations with employee’s we were previously unable to have.” – Manager of Business Intelligence, Top Blue Cross & Blue Shield Plan

Many employees, especially those who choose back-office careers, are unable to communicate their challenges to managers or peers. One of the largest health plans in the country recently provided a great example.

A claims examiner, who we will call “Mary”, was consistently missing production numbers. The health plan’s claims system could report the number of claims Mary worked, and her average time-per-claim, but it could not explain “why” she was below team standards. After several warnings, Mary was on the verge of disciplinary action. With a WorkiQ pilot about to start, her management decided to wait until they could analyze her daily activity.

It turns out that Mary was not taking breaks, and her lunch was rarely more than 10 minutes. She spent more time in “productive” applications than anyone on her team, but this effort was not reflected in the output of her work.

Mary’s WorkiQ dashboard revealed that she was spending her breaks doing research through company documents and online resources. As a result of real-time data, it was easy to determine she did not have the training to perform at expectations. Working with her manger, Mary was able to join the proper training programs, and she was partnered to a mentor. Employee turnover is a huge expense in money, time and resources, WorkiQ is providing valuable empirical data to help Insurance companies successfully evaluation workforce performance based on facts.

By adding a layer of operational visibility through desktop analytics, Mary is now one of her department’s top performers. In the future, Mary can use a peer-comparison dashboard to see if other top performers have found more efficient ways to process claims.

WorkiQ Peer Performance Comparison
Peer Performance Comparison Dashboard – WorkiQ Desktop Analytics

Stories like this are fairly common, and a similar case occurred here at OpenConnect with one of our developers. To learn more about how desktop analytics can help your operations department, continue reading The positive impact of “Big Brother” software.

The Positive Impact of “Big Brother” Software

When first introduced to the concept of desktop analytics, people often draw comparisons to Net Nanny® or George Orwell’s “Big Brother”. WorkiQ Desktop Analytics, for example, is not tracking passwords or bank accounts, but the software does monitor an employee’s computer-based activity in real-time. Initially, this concept may be unsettling to a measured associate, but desktop analytics can improve productivity, eliminate uncertainty, and potentially provide new insight into “actual” performance.

Hawthorn Effect (aka. The Observer Effect)

People, who know they are being observed, typically improve their behavior. Our customers report an average 10% improvement in productivity after three months of sharing activity reports with their users. Within the first 3 months of measurement, we have seen productivity spikes up to 26%.

This does not mean that someone surfing Facebook all day will become a model employee when monitored, but he will be more aware of his actions. Every company will have A+ and C- workers that set the curve, but simply knowing there is a grade will improve the class average.

Flexible Workplace

Over the last few years, HR analysts have found that professional employees, especially millennials, have prioritized workplace flexibility. Employers that allow flexible hours, telecommuting, and less micro-management are able to attract more qualified candidates. However, employers cannot abandon all oversight.

Desktop analytics can serve as a tool to manage telecommute workers with in-office visibility. It also provides an evolved alternative to social media blocking. Instead of forcing employees to hide their social media addictions, companies with desktop analytics can measure time spent in productive vs. non-productive activities. Molina Healthcare’s employees deliver 6.5 hours of productive time per day, and associates are free to use the remaining time as they please.

The Workplace Fitbit

In addition to measuring application usage, WorkiQ can track how employees process work, even when jumping between several systems. Smart managers are using this crystal ball to build culture of transparency, collaborative process improvement, and performance-based rewards. This starts by providing analytics dashboards to both managers and measured employees, then socializing team productivity and performance. Real-time reinforcement keeps employees engaged and competitive, and eliminates the uncertainty that comes from infrequent performance reviews.

I elaborate on the idea of a workplace Fitbit in this blog: Fitness trackers set precedent for work performance management

To learn how a WorkiQ saved the job of an underutilized employee, continue reading Measure Twice – Cut Once.