People management, anywhere. The metrics, triggers and insights that really matter in a time where talents come and go at a start-up pace.
At my first job, there was a lady who prepared coffee. Every morning, for 3 years, Miss Fatima welcomed me with a perfect french press and a red-hot: Mr. André, how are you feeling today? At that time, I wasn’t as much a caffeine fan as I am now, but it aroused me up, touched me, the affection of that detail. It is the strongest memory I have of what we call today “employee experience”. Still sparked off 20 years later from the scent-memory and with the power to activate in my mind a series of connections that improve my mood, foster my creativity and will undoubtedly influence my productivity in the next 8 hours. Miss Fatima was disruptive. She knew a lot about the future of talent data intelligence (she just had no clue about it).
Understanding, knowing, directing actions from the thousands of triggers of the past and the present is one of the most urgent challenges that we have as managers, people motivators. It’s clear how the employer-employee relationship is increasingly tenuous, with fragile emotional ties, even more with the consolidation of flexible working models. We have never had access to so many statistics of ourselves as in today’s digital day-to-day. Just as at no time was it so easy to turn off Teams here. And turn on Slack with another company on the other side of the world.
Which leads us to the obvious: the mass of data from the era of “wherever we are, to whom we are” and “on-off” superficial relations, will have to reinforce its acumen in exploring one point in particular: what actually affects us, inspires us? Being that magic word disguised as: to do, socialize, engage, connect, experiment. Or as the most strategic, aimed of them: to retain. In order to create more consistent “real-time or long-term” bonds, the data network we have to target is the most profound and protected. The one that is hidden inside us. Everything we distinguish. But mainly what we do not even imagine.
Today tools like Zoom, Instation, Teams, Slack, associated with AI/bots systems and internal practices for inputs (skill maps, onboardings, surveys, for example) are fundamental action points. They help to understand team behaviors and patterns, periods of greater collaboration or focus, the peer we most enjoy talking to, measure results and KPIs, guide practical decisions, and even indicate who is drained by excessive time in meetings. However, they are still in their early stages (as well as the awareness that performance is not a metric. It’s an end).
The fact is that our “conscious and unconscious” ecosystem of valuable information is much more complex and broad – The analytical evolution of these platforms that I mentioned above will add many other new correlations: more biometric devices (from the chair and headphone we use to brain-machine interfaces), more social apps, more crumbs that we leave on the network, in the environments we circulate.
Which will intersect to reveal a little more of our fragmented tracks. Perceiving links from years ago that still move us, discovering values and invisible codes of conduct, the profile of all the leaders who have passed through our lives we most idolize, how our cells react to each type of pressure, our heartbeat variations to every different information we absorb, how any break, meal influences choices etc, etc, etc. Emotions associated with reactions, moments are splendid storytellers and futurologists.
The sooner and the more of these matrixes we can unite and employ, the sooner our data intelligence will anticipate issues and have effective insights for “fashion” concerns in Linkedin and Clubhouse “trendy” conversations: how to determine sexist, racist traits in the first interview? How to find natural-born entrepreneurs? How to stimulate overcoming capacity, proactivity? How creative can an employee be? How to combine skills and not waste an ability? How to empower happiness, health, resilience, agility? How to rescue a professional who has lost perspective to grow, the adeptness to dream? Why did that perfect profile never match my culture? So on and so forth. The good news is that month by month, this future and all of these possibilities – sponsored by various technologies and expanding practices – get closer. On the other hand, in the middle of it all, to finish off, there’s The Duel theme between Apple and Facebook (with a considerable probability of being your in-house battle too): privacy.
Rightly, companies are progressively worried about how to explain, treat, and legislate on the storage of personal data. In which cycles of the workday will be collected, at what level of individual and collective protection, who will be allowed to access them, how they will be analyzed, under what circumstances, for what purpose. Many questions that need to be faced with transparency. And kept simply so that everyone grasps and benefits. Thinking outside the box, can’t the employee, with the knowledge of its differentials and capabilities dashboards, have an opportunity to claim a special bonus for saving colleagues’ time or for being the major influencer in the area? I believe that psychologists will still study “The Denial, and The Ego of the Data” and the vast scale of this subject that requires everyone’s maturity. But I’ll leave that to another cup of coffee.
And Miss Fatima, if by any luck you are reading this, you were absolutely right. Data – in any workplace – needs to make us feel something. Thanks for your visionary attention.