Should Employees View Analytics Reports?

Operational analytics products such as OpenConnect’s WorkiQ provide insight into employee activity, helping you better understand how your employees perform their daily activities. Some solutions, including WorkiQ, also allow employees to view reports showing their activity compared to their peers’.

There is a growing debate over whether employees should have direct access to their analytics data. Some managers believe that a user who can view his own data will use it to help improve his performance. Other managers believe that employees will use the data against management, or will spend too much time looking at data instead of working.

As you would expect, there are advantages and disadvantages to letting an employee have access to her analytics data. The advantages include:

  • It makes her feel in control, and less like she’s being watched.
  • By comparing her activity with that of her peers, she’s energized to perform better and gains more pride in her work as she watches her own improvement over time.
  • It gives her control of her own destiny and allows you to better manage her expectations as an employee.

On the other hand, some of the reasons you should be cautious about allowing an employee to view his own reports are:

  • He might spend a lot of work time constantly looking at his data.
  • If the data shows that he’s performing poorly, he tends to challenge the data, which could cause a confrontation with his manager.
  • He can use the data to demand pay raises or other rewards.

As a result, you should consider these advantages and disadvantages before allowing your employees direct access to their own data. Each working environment is different; so only you, the person managing your team, can truly understand the potential impact of each approach.

Another Way to Provide Transparency With Analytics Data

If you want to be transparent and allow your employees to see their data, but you’re concerned that they will spend too much time looking at reports, there’s an alternative approach you can try. Instead of giving employees direct, real-time access to the reports, use WorkiQ to create a peer report (shown below). This is a chart that shows how an employee has performed, over time, compared to her peers. In the employee’s peer report, she doesn’t see data for each of her individual peers; rather, she sees a single attribute that represents the average for all peers.

WorkiQ peer report

You can share the peer report with the employee, either via an automatic emailing or by showing him the report during your weekly one-on-one meeting with him. This removes the disadvantages of allowing direct access to the reports, but still provides the feedback employees need. Some employees will still challenge the report, regardless of how and when it’s delivered to them; but most employees will welcome the feedback.

CareFirst and OpenConnect to Present at Health Plan Claims Conference

 

 

For Immediate Release

September 17, 2015

 

Contact: Michael Cupps

(972) 523-6690

mcupps@openconnect.com

 

CareFirst, OpenConnect to Discuss Improvement

of Claims Auto-Adjudication

CareFirst Vice President of Large Group Operations to serve as featured speaker at the

Health Plan Claims & Service Operations Conference

 

Michael Cupps, OpenConnect Senior Vice President, and Sally Miller, CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst) Senior Vice President of Operations for Large Group Strategic Business Unit, will serve as featured speakers and panelists at this year’s Health Plan Claims & Service Operations Conference on October 26, 2015.

 

Cupps and Miller’s panel will focus on key areas in which analysis and automation can improve the claims process by reducing costs and decreasing pended claims. Miller will speak to CareFirst’s success in significantly improving operations through the identification and utilization of previously uncaptured data, and the capacity to deploy software robots to process work.

 

“The opportunity to improve operations first pass rates and to demonstrate significant savings for health plan claims is a prime target for RPA,” said Cupps. “Utilizing analytics to target the most costly claims or edit codes, then automating them allows organizations – as CareFirst has demonstrated – to optimize human capital, improve customer service and lower administrative costs in an increasingly competitive market.”

 

WHAT: Health Plan Claims & Service Operations Conference

 

WHO: Sally Miller, CareFirst Vice President of Operations, Large Group Strategic Business Unit and Michael Cupps, OpenConnect Senior Vice President.

 

WHERE: Westin Las Vegas Hotel, 160 E Flamingo Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89109.

 

WHEN: Monday, October 26 – Tuesday, October 27, 2015. Miller and Cupps will speak on October 26 at 1:10 p.m.

 

CONTACT: Michael Cupps at (972) 523-6690 or mcupps@openconnect.com.

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.

ROI From Real-Time Desktop Analytics

Identifying top performing teams and individuals is critical to building a culture of accountability and high employee engagement. Real-time desktop analytics provides the operational intelligence necessary to evaluate true staffing needs, reduce outsourcing, and lower the overall costs of operations. By providing dashboards with insights into the actual performance your managers will be empowered to make “in the moment” coaching and guidance for optimal performance.

Using your own data learn how your operations will save. Try our new online Savings Calculator.

Three areas you can find savings.

Productive Hours

On average US employees waste 2 hours a day beyond breaks and lunch hour. If your organization can re-capture part or all of this “empty labor” productivity will increase and your organization can do more work with the same staff. WorkiQ provides real-time data showing the amount of time spent on productive and non-productive activities and categorizing the type of work that consumes the most labor hours.

Reducing overtime

According to a recent survey, Americans work an average of one hour of overtime each week. Sometimes your business may need overtime to get through peak periods but how do you truly know without accurate data? WorkiQ provides real-time data showing where you may need more, or less, of the work being done.

Eliminating self-reporting

Many companies only have self-reporting methods or use disparate data from multiple core systems to track the amount of work and time spent on various tasks. These self-reporting methods rob your employees of time that could be spent doing real work.

Try our ROI tool and let us know what you think.

WorkiQ Savings Calculator

Analytics and Automation for the Back Office

5 reasons Back Office Operations are interested in workforce analytics & automation

  1. Measure in Real-Time
    On average US employees waste 2 hours a day beyond breaks and lunch hour. Real-time workforce analytics will capture activity in real-time of all associates, even those at-home, to identify productive and unproductive practices. WorkiQ captures all counts, time, and outcomes of activity so work can be categorized and managed.
  2. Manage in Real-Time
    Employees perform at varying levels of productivity and efficiency based on training, engagement, experience, and even acute situations in their personal life. Effective managers need reliable operational intelligence to identify if workers need training or if they are not optimizing work hours. WorkiQ provides the operational intelligence needed to identify, improve, and reward employ­ees through real-time management dashboards.
  3. Improve in Real-Time
    Dramatic productivity improvements start with increased engagement. Through awareness, scorecards and gamification; WorkiQ work­force analytics delivers a wide range of reports that empower people at every level of the company to compete and engage. Through real-time metrics, as opposed to infrequent performance reviews, associates know how they are performing in com­parison to their peers, where they excel, and where they can improve. Managers can compare employees with accurate stan­dards, reward superstar performers, and see where their team ranks against other groups or departments.
  4. Optimizing labor costs
    Companies using data-driven decision-making were, on average, 5% more productive and 6% more profitable than their competitors. Back office operations largest cost is labor. By using WorkiQ, you are able to identify empty labor and recapture productive hours, identify the true need for overtime costs, and utilize real-time data to measure the ability to work the inventory.
  5. Robotic Process Automation
    A natural utilization of operational intelligence is identifying opportunities for robotic process automation (RPA). Identifying and replacing routine or repetitive back office work with software robots enables companies to save considerable expense. Insurance companies, for example, use robots for their claims / auto-adjudication improvement. With a complete solution to identify, configure and execute, OpenConnect automation provides a complete solution providing significant savings back to your company.

Analytics for Insurance Summit

OpenConnect CEO Dr. Edward Peters to Discuss the Potential of Technology and Data Capture at the Analytics for Insurance Conference

Dr. Peters will be featured in a session at the Analytics for Insurance Conference titled “Understand how analytics is changing claims handling and underwriting”

Dallas, TX, March 20, 2015 – OpenConnect, a leader in operational intelligence and workforce analytics software, today announced that CEO Dr. Edward M.L. Peters will be a featured speaker and panelist at the Analytics for Insurance Conference on March 25-26 in Chicago. Dr. Peters will focus on how technology and analytics can make claims handling more efficient and transparent.

The claims handling process involves massive amounts of data, but unfortunately much of this data has historically not been able to be tracked and measured in a meaningful way. Emerging technologies and the use of analytics that are capable of tracking this data can enable a new age of innovation and improvement in the claims handling process.

This session will look at a number of key areas in which automated processes and analysis can improve the claims process – in detecting fraud, reducing costs and creating real-time and actionable data. Dr. Peters will focus on how to identify and utilize previously un-captured data in ways the industry has not seen before. The ability to capture this data creates valuable and actionable analysis that can lead to greater efficiencies.

“In the claims process, only a small portion of the data are readily available for analysis, with a large portion going un-captured and therefore unavailable to analytical efforts,” said Dr. Edward Peters, Chief Executive Officer, OpenConnect. “‘Dark Events’ are discrete actions that affect the state of claims and normally go un-captured and un-recorded by most claims processing and analysis systems.  It is through the discovery, capture and analysis of ‘Dark Events’ that major improvements can be uncovered and realized.”

The Analytics for Insurance Conference takes place March 25-26 at the Hilton Chicago/Magnificent Mile Suites in Chicago, IL. Dr. Peters will speak on March 25th from 4:30pm – 6:00pm.

 

Media Contact

Tracy Donalson
Weber Shandwick, for OpenConnect
469-375-0236
tdonalson@webershandwick.com

HR Analytics Summit

OpenConnect CEO Dr. Edward Peters to Speak about the Strategic Contributions HR Pros Can Make with Analytics

Dr. Peters will be featured at the Workforce and HR Analytics Summit West 2015

Dallas, TX, February 24, 2015 – OpenConnect, a leader in workforce intelligence and business process analytics software and services, today announced that CEO Dr. Edward M.L. Peters will be a featured speaker at the Workforce and HR Analytics Summit West 2015, March 9-10 in San Diego. Dr. Peters will focus on how Human Resources professionals can use analytics to increase their strategic value to their business partners.

HR managers can increase their strategic business relevance by providing analytics that are meaningful, comparable and actionable in a timely manner. This requires a deep understanding of the decisions that need to be made, the data science required to provide the insight and how the outcome of the analytics process enables actions to be taken that increase business value. When applied successfully, this approach can deliver tremendous value to the organization and strategically link HR managers to their business partners.

For example, operational executives and human resource professionals have been challenged by the shift that has occurred in the U.S. away from mostly in-house workers to a more remote workforce. In this environment, understanding the actual performance of tasks, the true nature of employee engagement and the potential increases in productivity levels have become far more opaque. Unlike the work environment of the past where workers were managed by line of sight and performance was measured by observable physical output, managing today’s digitally-enabled remote workforce leaves the organization struggling to understand employee productivity and make appropriate staffing decisions.

“Businesses are undergoing tremendous change in terms of workforce composition, for example the mix of in-house vs. remote workers, and the associated issues such as remote workforce management, talent acquisition, compensation, productivity, and engagement are as crucial as ever. In this dynamic environment, human resource professionals are poised to assume an even greater role in the strategic direction of their organization,” said Dr. Edward Peters, Chief Executive Officer, OpenConnect. “Being a strategic partner in this environment requires an understanding of the action that needs to be taken, the decision making process that will enable it as well as the data and analytic tools required for its support. Providing this business-critical information as part of the business decision making process gives HR an important voice and a permanent seat at the table.”

The Workforce and HR Analytics Summit West 2015 takes place March 9-10 at the Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa in San Diego, California. Dr. Peters will speak on March 10 from 11:30am – 1:00pm.

 

 

Don’t Apply Front-office Solutions to Back-office Problems

The Rail Yard and The Airport

The overall structure of work between the front-office and back-office is different.

While this is an oversimplification, call-centers operate much like a train. Call center managers build scripts and lay the track for their operators to move along, and operators are focused on direct interaction with the customer. Typically, tasks within the call center are short, transactional, and repeatable widgets of work. In the back-office, where human interaction is less important, these types of activities should be automated.

Back-office departments such as IT, account administration, accounting, and HR operate in nearly perfect contrast to the call center.

Back-office operations, such as insurance claims departments, function far more like a cargo airline pilot in the remote country. At the start of every day, each pilot receives several packages to deliver by the end of the week. The pilot knows the destination of each package or claim, but based on weather conditions, workload and/or environmental issues the path may vary. Two claims workers making the same run may chart a slightly different course, rely on different instruments, make adjustment based on obstacles, move at different speeds, and require the help of a co-pilot. Typically, tasks within the claims department are long, operational, and specialized widgets of work.

The Workflow

In the contact center, most associates with a similar functional focus perform tasks in a comparable and scriptable sequence. Most processes and sub-processes can be clearly defined in a workflow that all agents within the same department follow. An example of a simple contact center workflow can be found below. In this process, milestones such as the start of a call, completed customer account update, and resolution can be measured.

Generic Call Center Workflow

In most back-office operations, the structure of each work-unit may include measureable macro-level milestones, but variables such as claim complexity, availability of required documentation, each associates experience, and personal preferences make back-office operations difficult to script. For example, all claims may begin when the agent begins editing and end when the claim is submitted for payment. Between the start and end of each full unit of work, or fully processed claim, agents may take a variety of paths as illustrated below. These tasks, or sub-processes to a claim, may centralize around the claims system, but likely require the use of imaging software, email, internal IM/collaboration programs, phone calls, various research websites, and even social media.

Generic Claims Workflow

Use the Right Tool for the Job

While goals such as increasing productivity, finding hidden capacity, cutting costs, improving efficiency, and simplifying processes are shared between the front-and back-office, the methods for collecting meaningful performance data need to vary.

The focus for front-office measurement should be customer engagement, the customer’s perception of service quality, risk reduction, the frequency of call paths, time spent on each call, and the outcome of each call.  Depending on the nature of the contact center, factors such as call rate and upsell statistics may also come into play. This information can help a company identify market trends, test brand messaging, and collect feedback for product development. Data points can be used to identify contact center associates with the highest frequency of positive dispute resolution, or those that nurture the highest degree of customer satisfaction.

Back-office measurement should be improved cycle time, increased employee utilization, and decreased error rates. Desktop analytics and process analytics should measure hours spent on various types of work activities, completed sub-units of work, and process that each worker performs.

Desktop analytics built for the back-office are designed to measure all activity on the desktop, not just activity within the core system (e.g. claims system), and then identify patterns or relationships between applications and processes. Short, repetitive, and transactional processes uncovered through these tools should be automated, and additional gains should be accomplished through training associates to model top performers, increasing engagement through gamification, and reducing the complexity of unnecessarily time-consuming tasks with automatic data propagation or BPI.

To learn more about how your company can improve back-office measurement, please visit openconnect.com.

Request WorkiQ Demo

Automation and Workforce Analytics Offer Relief to Rising Outsourcing Prices

In a recent article featured in Supply Chain World Magazine, I discussed how manufacturing innovations, specifically large-scale 3D printers, are bringing jobs back home to the US. At the same time, computer-based innovations in process automation and workforce performance management are helping companies to increase productivity of in-house workers and cut the waste of outsourced operations.

Rising Cost of BPO in Offshore

In 2005, a PWC report listed the average salary of US-based call center employees at $19K per year, while their Indian counterparts took home just $7.5K per year. With the allure of low cost of labor, outsourcing operations such as IT, financial services, and technical support have historically allowed companies to reduce fixed costs (fewer FTEs), add flexibility to scale business, and focus on core-competencies at home.

Payscale.com lists a median US-based claims processor salary of $33K/yr., and Outsource2India advertises claims processors between $15K-$22K/yr. per FTE. In a 2010 interview, Phil Fersht, CEO of HfS Research, stated that “in some cases, workers in India are making only about 15 percent less than workers in Nebraska”. Today, [in] “Bangalore many probably earn more.”

While there is still a significant gap in FTE costs between the US and offshore, companies don’t need to look much further than inflation rates to see that the cost advantage of BPO in India is quickly closing. According to World Bank, inflation based on CPI, from 2010 – 2014 in the US was 1.5% compared to 10.9% in India. The cost of an FTE in India is rapidly increasing while US worker compensation has remained fairly stagnant. To further narrow the gap, a rise in the adoption of home workers in the US is helping companies to decrease overhead by as much as 20% when compared to brick and mortar operations (Source: NPR).

As savings decrease, companies are forced to evaluate additional costs/benefits of BPO such as quality difference, lack of direct managerial oversight, frequent labor turnover, brand perception, and IT security. For health plans, the risk of a Protected Health Information (PHI) leak can be catastrophic, and large salary savings are necessary to justify threats.

One of our healthcare payer customers recently replaced 100 outsourced FTEs with 50 US-based direct hires and increased production volumes and quality of work. To maintain competitive advantage, companies need to find lower-cost BPO hubs, automate repetitive processes, or execute operations in-house with greater efficiency and quality.

Enable the Best

Outsourced FTEs are rarely incented to suggest process improvements, lack of direct oversight makes it difficult to identify performance problems, and short-term assignments mean they are not fully invested in your company’s success.

Increasing worker performance is not about adding carrots, finding a bigger stick, or working longer hours. Smarter managers know that to get more work out of a smaller workforce they focus on increasing engagement, maximizing work time, identifying bottlenecks, and training teams based on the actions of top performers.

Whether a company is looking to automate processes or increase workforce performance, the first step should always be measurement. In the AHIP webinar Improving Employee Performance Through Measurement, Ed Peters, Open Connect CEO, and Jim Sinur, formerly Distinguished Analyst Gartner Group, discuss this topic in detail.

Most BPOs provide clients with macro-level production reports pulled from core systems. These reports identify NET production levels, but meaningful workforce performance measurement explains how employees actually spend their work time. Measurement should be automated, and not require laborious self-reporting and activity log. Task-level detail, such as the time spent adding missing details to a customer record, comparing documents in an imaging system, or researching account history can help managers to identify bottlenecks and training opportunities.

Automate the Rest

Not all processes require a human, but BPOs won’t advertise opportunities to reduce FTEs. Process automation software, such as WorkiQ Automation, has seen drastic improvements over the last decade. Back-office operational tasks that are computer-based and repetitive can be automated. Software robots can now perform online research, compare digital forms, create customer records, and execute artificial-intelligence levels of process complexity. By augmenting a portion of labor force with process automation, companies can reduce NET headcount, improve cycle time, and free up employees for higher value-add activities.

A decade ago, insurance auto-adjudication rates around 90% were unheard of. Now, most of the health plans I work with are automating over 85% of their claims on first pass. Significant advancements in process automation are the result of increased form/document digitization, an overwhelming abundance of real-time online data, and detailed process measurement. Today’s software robots not only follow the steps of pre-scripted workflow, they learn from their human counterparts and build a better workflow.

Again, good automation builds on good measurement. Before companies start to automate any process, they need to have a very good sample of data points that explain how top (human) performers would complete the automated task.

Smarter work is achieved through the continuous analysis of the work activities and processes, to ensure automation and performance management outperforms BPO contracts. For more information about WorkiQ Workforce Analytics or WorkiQ Automation, please visit openconnect.com.

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Press Release — New Version of WorkiQ

OpenConnect Launches Upgraded WorkiQ Workforce Performance Measurement Software

Dallas, TX, January 21, 2015OpenConnect, a leader in business process intelligence and workforce analytics software and services, today announced WorkiQ 6.3, a new generation of the company’s successful workforce performance measurement solution. The new version of WorkiQ software provides even greater visibility into how employees perform their work, and a more detailed understanding of employee productivity rates.

WorkiQ is used by some of the country’s largest insurance providers, government agencies and financial services organizations to identify and codify the workplace traits of their high-performers, allowing all staff to benefit from these best practices; automate recurring tasks that have proven to be error prone; and improve employee engagement and accountability.

The new version of WorkiQ features the following enhancements:

  • Google Chrome Support – as many employers have implemented web-based applications, understanding work activity inside the browser is vital; WorkiQ 6.3 adds support for Google Chrome to the existing support for Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla’s Firefox.
  • Advanced data capture – WorkiQ 6.3 is equally adept at gathering performance data whether an employee is in-house at work on a desktop, or is a remote/work-from-home employee logging in through a virtual network connection. Now with version 6.3, WorkiQ extends that data capture ability into the mainframe application environment, recording not just when and for how long an employee is logged-in to a mainframe, but which applications are being used most often and in what ways. Permitting a real-time view into the amount of work being completed.
  • Enhanced Process Tracking – WorkiQ 6.3 also now ships with advanced process tracking capabilities making it easier to re-use processes and sub-process models for fast and efficient configuration. This permits customers to measure multiple types of work, and categorization of the type of work being completed. While WorkiQ has supported the ability to track processes previously, this new enhancement will save administrators the time and money otherwise spent configuring new processes, putting useful data back into the hands of the back office managers.
  • User-friendly interface and next-generation reporting – WorkiQ 6.3 provides a simplified interface for both the IT administrator supporting the application as well as the user/manager benefiting from the application’s data. Advancements in reporting allow manager’s to receive a holistic view of their employees’ work activities across all platforms and applications they touch during the course of the workday.

“Keeping employees engaged and setting them up for success is more challenging than ever,” said Dr. Edward Peters, Chief Executive Officer, OpenConnect. “We’re working in digital environments and contending with the continued bombardment of interruptions throughout the workday. WorkiQ makes it possible to help employees understand and focus on the traits that generate success, improve production and reduce their company’s operating expenses.”

Pricing and Availability

WorkiQ 6.3 is available immediately. Pricing varies depending on specific customer configuration needs. For more information, please visit openconnect.com.

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Media Contact

Greg Wise
Weber Shandwick, for OpenConnect
512-794-4716
gwise@webershandwick.com