ScienceSoft’s expert shows how HRM solutions help to foster and reward employees’ collaborative efforts.
Author: Tatsiana Lebedzeva
Proper measurement and analysis of cooperative effort is indispensable for the efficient motivation of collaboration among employees. However, traditional ways of recognizing it (e.g. 360-degree feedback sessions) appear too demanding to be frequent.
As a result, a decent part of fruitful cooperation remains hidden in the mist of everyday routine and thus unrewarded; and this eventually leads to the staff’s lower cooperative mood. Actually, this is the point where IT can jump in to help HR managers to see more than meets the eye and ensure consistent recognition of cooperative activities.
For sure, employee appraisal can’t be completely automated. Still, flexible HRM solutions are there to deliver additional information about employee cooperation and thus supplement regular employee assessments with no extra effort required from the HR department. Let’s figure out how exactly a piece of software can actually make it.
It accumulates information, automatically
The starting point is gathering collaboration-related data that comes in two types: the data on employee activity and participation value.
The former, activity, can be easily counted with a set of purely quantitative metrics (e.g. the number of discussions joined or posts added). By contrast, participation value is tough to be automatically indicated and appraised. To tackle this problem, we suggest providing users with the option to individually assess posts value. Used systematically, such a feature will help to measure the quality of users’ entries, make appraisal fairer and eventually motivate employees to cooperate.
It measures and assesses against collaboration KPIs
With a system of quantitative indicators, a company can actually measure and reward collaboration, the intangible part of work. Collaboration software can be tuned to support a wide range of collaboration KPIs, including:
- The number of discussions joined
- The number of posts / comments added. A quick tip: to avoid the bias caused by over-commenting in a single discussion thread, you can introduce corrections based on counting no more than, say, 5 comments per discussion.
- The number of long posts (i.e. only the ones with, say, 200+ characters are counted)
- The number of useful posts (i.e. only the ones surpassing a certain threshold – say, 7/10 score, are counted)
- The number of high-value posts (only the most valuable ones are counted, e.g. the ones scoring 9/10 or 10/10)
For sure, this list of KPIs can be extended. But there is still one important question: how to pinpoint only the metrics that matter to your particular business?
We suggest analyzing how relevant KPIs are by comparing them with your company’s performance indicators. For example, if the software systematically finds no correlation between team / department productivity and certain collaboration metrics, such as the number of discussions joined per user, then why track it? Though this approach requires additional time and effort, eventually you’ll come up with a set of the best collaboration metrics for particular departments or the business in general.
Reward only true key collaborators
Unfortunately, it’s hardly possible to completely rely on software for tracking collaboration results. Why not? The answer lies in our human nature: once appraisal becomes automated, some employees will try to trick the system to get rewards with less efforts.
For instance, if the system is focused on quantitative indicators, an employee can get higher scores by making low-value posts or formally participating in a bunch of discussions. This isn’t harmful for the company as it is, yet such trickery devaluates other employees’ effort and thus discourages them from participation. To prevent unfair rewards, you can introduce regular manual checks of top collaboration scorers.
Look into collaboration outcomes
The analysis of correlation between collaboration metrics and other KPIs can help a company to learn how collaboration contributes to the performance of their individual employees as well as the entire enterprise. Let’s consider a few examples.
For an employee-focused analysis, collaborative custom software can pick out those who read high-value posts and analyze the relationship between their improved productivity and the number of readings of particular posts. If there’s a strong relationship, the authors of such posts can be rewarded.
Tracking e-collaboration effects on the entire company can help to learn where it makes sense financially to invest in collaboration tools. To illustrate, consider a manufacturer that engages their QA specialists in e-collaboration; the system measures collaborative effort (in terms of time spent or content shared) and analyzes its correlation with the company’s performance indicators, e.g. a drop in the cost of poor quality. This way, the company gets approximate but measurable results of increased e-collaboration, which in our example will be equal to the costs saved.
Motivating employees to closely cooperate rests on a constant analysis and recognition of their cooperative activities. Fortunately, collaboration software can be a reliable assistant in making cooperative efforts transparent as it automates the analysis of how employee-specific cooperation contributes to the company’s overall success.
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