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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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.

Advanced WorkiQ Training

OpenConnect has introduced new advanced training packages that enable our customers to maximize the value of their WorkiQ investments.

WorkiQ, the first desktop analytics suite designed specifically to measure back office operational intelligence, is fast becoming a standard in claims, enrollment, and membership in the largest Health Plans in North America.   Our customers are seeing, on average, a 3-5 month payback in savings and productivity efficiencies.

The new advanced training programs are designed to support growth into new teams or business units, enhancing the usage of the data through new reports and dashboards.   The training is provided either on-site at a customer location or it can be delivered virtually for remote teams.   Below is a brief description of the new courses.

WorkiQ Advanced IT Training (1 day)

The Advanced IT Training provides more in-depth server maintenance and troubleshooting tips including database queries and health checks.

WorkiQ Advanced Admin Training (1 day)

The Advanced Administration Training goes deeper into employee management and trouble-shooting, covering license management, Gatherer status checks and using Gatherer Groups to separate Gatherers for troubleshooting or testing new features.

WorkiQ Advanced Report Training (1 day)

The Advanced Report Training takes WorkiQ reporting to a new level, with instructions on how to add external reports and build custom web pages that can be displayed through WorkiQ, as well as tips on using the Chart Wizard and Datasets.

WorkiQ Mentoring (1 day)

WorkiQ Mentoring can be used for more personalized, one-on-one training on any topic or area of WorkiQ.

WorkiQ Process Training (1 day)

Process Training teaches WorkiQ Administrators how to define and implement Processes and view the results of the Process Data through WorkiQ reports.  Process Training includes use of the Desktop Designer – WorkiQ’s tool for designing panels for Processes.

 

If your organization is ready to enhance your usage and knowledge of WorkiQ, please contact your Account Executive for pricing and availability.

 

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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