Skip to main content
Office

Podcast: Workplace Analytics and Sawyer Kelly on The Data Binge

Microsoft Workplace Analytics Consultant Sawyer Kelly talks to Derek Russell, host of The Data Binge podcast, about the power of behavioral data to help organizations change culture, engage employees, and bring more value to customers. Read the excerpt below and listen to the podcast.

DR: What are you finding (for customers)?

SK: There is just so much data to work with–so many insights that are possible–that really the challenge here is not finding something that’s useful for the customer, because there’s plenty out there, but it’s really about communicating what you get from the insights effectively and then also drilling down on something actionable.

We really want to understand an initial problem of the customer, and oftentimes we’ll start small. So what will generally do is identify a problem or opportunity area. Let’s take the example of collaboration overload because that’s something that a ton of customers deal with—the issue of people spending too much time after hours on their work, getting burnout and having to leave the company.

What we can do is take a look at things like how much time people are spending in email and meetings after hours–so outside of their Outlook-driven working hours how much time people are spending in collaboration overall during the work day? [Then we] understand how much time they had to get actual work done outside of collaboration, what deviations there are, how big those numbers are. We put that in the context of where they’re at in the company, and then recommend ways to possibly distribute that workload or give some nudges—that is a behavioral economic term–to try and cut down possibly on some of that collaborations that is occurring to help get to the work that they need to get done.

DR: What are some [other] big, juicy trends that you’re seeing?

SK: Something that we see all the time is that companies, especially big companies, tend to be really big fans of having meetings, and that’s something that takes up a lot of time and definitely can have negative effects both on engagement and productivity. There’s a lot of research out about how large, seemingly ineffective meetings tend to really hurt how satisfied employees are at their jobs. What we often see is the majority of meetings that people participate in are either over an hour long or have 11 or more attendees. So there are people spending possibly 15 or 20 hours in meetings a week, and they’ll have over 7 hours, sometimes over 10 hours of [really long] meetings with tons of attendees. Not only are those proven to have a really low chance of actually getting things done–coming to consensus, enabling agile decision-making–but they also are really deadly for engagement.

Hear more on the podcast.