The Value of People Analytics
To say that the world is currently in a state of flux would perhaps be an understatement. A perfect storm of crises; covid-19, climate change, war in Ukraine, the energy crisis, political upheaval and economic instability means we are living through an extraordinary period of uncertainty. Living in a world where shocks are becoming increasingly frequent can put a strain on our mental health leading to emotional disturbances such as rising levels of depression, anxiety and stress.
The T-Cup community data is reflecting a clear decline in overall wellbeing scores as we emerge from the holiday period with three elements, in particular, showing a downward trend which is perhaps indicative of the turbulence of late and the impact of an unpredictable future on our daily lives. Mood, sleep and stress scores are tightly aligned in the graph below and these three wellbeing indicators are directly influenced by one another to some degree.
Sleep recharges our bodies and brains; if we don’t sleep long enough or deeply enough, our bodies will not benefit from a reboot. Sleep is so crucial to our everyday functioning that even minor sleep deprivation or poor-quality sleep can affect our memory, judgement and mood. Adults who sleep fewer than eight hours a night report higher stress levels than those who sleep for at least eight hours according to a survey by the American Psychological Association.
High levels of stress activate the sympathetic nervous system which elevates the stress hormone cortisol and can result in insomnia and disturbed sleep patterns which both have a negative effect on our temperament and our ability to cope with daily pressures.
Moods are defined as a temporary state of mind or feeling and just as they can be affected by several biological and psychological factors such as hormones, personality and learned responses, they can also be impacted by external, environmental factors. Common everyday issues such as hunger, overwork or stress can make it hard to relax and unwind which can interfere with our sleep patterns. People who are sleep-deprived report increases in negative moods such as anger, irritability, frustration and sadness – all factors which increase our agitation which then adds to the cycle.
Impact on Workforce
It’s not hard to see how trending low in these areas could affect our performance at work. We can’t be on top of our game if we’re stressed out and under pressure and this can lead to low productivity and disengagement. And just as we face these challenges on an individual level, leadership teams are also responsible for supporting not only themselves but a wide cross-section of people whose responses will all be unique to them. So how does an organisation measure the impact of these external pressures? And how do they go about combatting them?
The answer lies in evidence-based decision-making. Gathering quality consumer data to inform marketing strategies is essential for businesses and data analytics has an equally important role to play in people management. Combining traditional HR reporting metrics such as absence rates and turnover with T-Cup’s wellbeing metrics could be used to investigate specific ideas. Data-driven insights are not only crucial for improving morale and wellbeing but also for informing decisions on workforce planning and flagging risk factors such as disengagement and attrition. In departments where low mood scores are trending, early intervention could prevent loss of talent just as early implementation of wellbeing initiatives in areas where stress scores are high could halt disengagement before it becomes a bigger issue.
But all the data in the world is useless unless you have an effective framework for processing it.
Using T-Cup’s tech as an enabler gives people analytics teams the tools and resources to draw conclusions about the data they’ve collected. The three-pronged approach takes a pulse (CheckUp) delivers personal coaching (WellCup), upskills leaders to destigmatise wellbeing conversations and creates open forums (TeamUps) and measures wellbeing metrics across the board. The live dashboard displays aggregated and anonymised data to show clear indicators within teams, locations, tags and demographics to enable the identification of potential issues.
One T-Cup client recently identified a potential flight risk within a low-trending team which led to an open exchange of views facilitated by a TeamUp session. Luckily, this session resulted in the implementation of flexible working patterns to support the affected staff which boosted morale. But without the necessary framework for measuring and interpreting the data effectively, this could have been a whole other story. Tracking metrics is only one part of the puzzle; at the heart of any thriving organisation, there has to be a culture that supports wellbeing.
According to research by McKinsey, 89% of employees believe that psychological safety is essential within the workplace which is why tracking it through metrics within your business is vital. Creating such a culture starts at the top and it must be authentic if leaders hope to inspire real transformation. Connecting people and wellbeing data with business data informs the decision-making process to pinpoint red flags before they become bigger issues. But the first stop should be to establish an evidence-based framework for collecting data-driven insights to empower your people team to invest their efforts where it really matters.