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#WFH: We Are Not Going Back to the Office!

Virtual work is here to stay. The workplace is increasingly becoming virtual. Old techniques for performance measurement just won’t cut it in the new environment. It is not necessary to have extensive expertise of advanced data collection tools to do some basic performance analytics. The key is to start and the place to start is with the stakeholders. Traditionally, business leaders have had little faith in performance analytics with good reason. Much training, both compliance and non-compliance, is wasted. A great deal of it is low quality and not transferable to the workplace. This is set to change in the future because it has to. The successful businesses of the future cannot rely on the techniques used to improve performance in the past. Redundant and wasted efforts will not improve performance or business results.

The pace of life and business is quickening. We live in a world that requires us to keep learning. Analyzing learning and translating it to performance is a way to measure what is valid and reliable. Using scientific rigor to unlock patterns of behaviors and learning opportunities is the challenge that comes with the opportunity of “big data.” The semantic web brings us more data than we have ever experienced. Being able to understand valid and reliable ways of making that data work for us is why we do performance analytics. It is about descriptive, predictive and prescriptive statistical approaches to unlocking patterns in the data. It is about setting benchmarks and discovering historical trends. It is about connecting business metrics to performance measures including retention and turnover, pro-motions, learning and development opportunities, quality, production, service, customer satisfaction, sales, revenue, market share, safety, product development, innovation and employee engagement.

We are all human and all humans are capable of bias. It is more relevant in the virtual environment because bias is easier to fall into. Economists, psychologists and data analysts have categorized, named and labeled many forms of bias to predict and undue what comes naturally to human beings. The lesson from all this effort is really awareness. If you are aware that this can happen then you are already ahead of the game.

Whether it is weapons of mass destruction or subprime mortgages, we can convince ourselves of almost anything. In virtual performance analytics, we run the risk of making the evidence fit the objective instead of fitting the objective to the evidence. The virtual workplace is relatively new. It is unquestionably the future. How we construct our objectives for it must take into account new ways of working, new models of behavior and performance, and be much less reliant on preconceived notions about what has always been. When we get stuck in the theories we currently have we lose sight of what could be. Long meetings, boring committees and group think aside, the workplace of the future whether face to face or virtual will require a new way of working, and a new definition of efficiency and fostering innovation initiatives.


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