Workforce Analytics

See How ActivTrak Workforce Analytics Leverages Activity
Monitoring to Optimize Team Productivity

  • Analyze workflow efficiency by team.
  • Identify the best tools for each department.
  • Understand your teams working habits.
  • Catalog operational compliance gaps.
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Workforce Analytics
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Who Needs Workforce Analytics?

These days, it’s not enough to just be operational – you also have to be efficient. Companies can’t afford to answer only the question “Are you working?” To thrive, they also need to be asking, “HOW are you working?”

That’s where workforce analytics software comes in. Any company can benefit from workforce management software like workforce analytics. Whether your employees are working remotely or in an office, you still need to evaluate operational efficiency and workflow — and that can be especially challenging to do with remote teams.

Fortunately, workforce analytics is perfect for companies striving to:

  • Create baselines for productivity, recognizing high performers.
  • Learn how and when employees are using applications and collaboration tools.
  • Perform productivity management on individuals as well as teams.
  • Make offsite work as productive as onsite work.
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A History of Workforce Analytics


Surveys: Increasing Productivity

In the past, companies sought out information about productivity and efficiency trends through surveying employees. This did not always give an accurate picture of the situation. If they were concerned about punishment or retaliation, employees might not have felt comfortable giving comprehensive and honest responses. In addition, the answers were delivered from one employee’s perspective, so they may have been biased and unable to accurately represent everything going on. Because workforce analytics delivers data directly from employees, the results are unbiased and accurate.


Desktop Monitoring: Mitigating Risks

As technology grew in the workplace, so did opportunities for misuse of digital resources. Programs like remote desktop monitoring were developed to detect and stop these abuses. When companies first began implementing desktop monitoring, they used it strictly for security and risk assessment. Employees’ time online was monitored to document dangerous behaviors (like downloading unauthorized apps or visiting banned websites) and prevent illegal practices (like sharing private information).


Workforce Analytics: Productivity Plus Security

Today, workforce management isn’t about stopping bad practices – it’s about identifying and developing process improvements. Because such a significant amount of work is done digitally, employers have access to tremendous amounts of data. Productivity management programs like workforce analytics can help them gather and collate this data, identifying trends and correlations within it that can lead to increased operational efficiency.

Security and risk management are still important parts of workforce analytics, but the service has evolved to include so much more value and benefit for its users. It offers in-depth insights that don’t just prevent illegal behavior – they also offer substantial opportunities for increasing productivity and efficiency, streamlining processes, celebrating high performers and improving underperforming employees’ work.

The Difference Between Workforce Analytics and HR Analytics

Before digging into the specifics of workforce analytics, let’s discuss its relationship to HR Analytics and how the two differ.

Sometimes, workforce analytics is referred to as HR analytics or people analytics. However, each phrase has a different scope and offers different resources to organizations, and they’re slowly starting to diverge in scope and usage.

HR analytics is really specific to HR departments and the information HR professionals they need. They tend to ask questions like “Are we retaining our best talent?” and “Who is at risk of leaving?” When HR professionals use workforce analytics, it’s through the lens of identifying top performers. Today, many managers across departments want to understand how to improve performance at an individual, team  and enterprise level. They care about team productivity and employee engagement too! So, workforce analytics has grown into a larger operational tool.

Using workforce analytics as a means to understand a workforce’s productivity, engagement  and collaboration for both employers and employees is the new normal. While it’s historically been part of the HR division, more companies now see the service as a valuable part of operations management. If the team utilizes computers to complete work, they can benefit from Workforce Analytics software.

How Does Workforce Analytics Help?

With workforce analytics, you can seamlessly gather data and insights from user activity. This information will shine a new light on current practices, letting you see room for increased operational efficiency. You’ll have a level of internal visibility that will empower you to uncover and understand behavior patterns, see opportunities for improvement and take action to boost productivity like never before.

Overall, workforce analytics can help you find and fix:

  • Inefficiencies and productivity
  • Processes that aren’t working
  • Poor collaboration/communication
  • Other reasons for high employee turnover


Ask How, Not If

One great benefit of workforce analytics is the ability to see not just which apps employees are using, but how they’re using them. Asset management software can be used to track app usage, but as we wrote in our three-part series about workforce analytics, “Asset management software does not show how employees use the tools and if that facilitates productive work.” With workforce analytics, you can make a thoughtful, informed and data-driven decision on which software subscriptions are necessary for which team members and which ones can be cut back.


Go Deeper With Data Connect

In addition, ActivTrak’s workforce analytics features optional services that can give you an even more detailed picture of individual performance. With Data Connect, you can collect data that reveals:

  • What employees are working on
  • Whether those projects are in line with their responsibilities
  • How much time goes into working on an activity
  • Longer-term productivity trends

Advantages of Workforce Analytics

Workforce analytics can offer huge advantages to your organization, giving you a leg up on competitors. It gives you the power to:

  • Chart individual as well as team productivity and gaps.
    You can look at productivity rates by day, time, team or individual. This information can be helpful in rewarding high-performing employees and in coaching employees who may not understand critical processes.
  • Improve employee engagement and reduce attrition and turnover.
    See if some team members have unbalanced workloads and are at risk of burning out. Note whether other team members are abusing social media. Study team performance and find processes that could be streamlined.
  • Analyze trends using monitoring data and external information.
    Export data and dive deeper into it. Use Data Connect to create reports on app usage, productivity, compliance and more.
  • Optimize company resource usage and trim costs where needed.
    Set limits on certain apps or websites, see if any of your team’s resources are redundant and get a better understanding of which programs are getting work done – and which ones aren’t.
  • Study cross-team collaboration, even with remote teams.
    Observe whether employees are spending too much time looking for information or programs. Find out which apps are the most helpful for remote teams’ communication and workflow. Note productivity gaps and trends, even among teams with different work schedules.

While it’s quite powerful, workforce analytics is also versatile and scalable. Its screenshot and video recording and playback capabilities let you document compliance issues in real time, letting you investigate them further or address them immediately. And with color-coded charts and data that can easily be displayed visually or exported, ActivTrak makes it easy (and colorful!) to analyze reports and identify trends.

Disadvantages of Workforce Analytics

Implementing a workforce management software program may cause pushback from concerned employees. This is why it’s essential to be open and honest about the program, what it’s intended for and what it’s not going to do.


Privacy Concerns

Many employees voice concerns about privacy when they learn that employee management software is coming to their organization. They may feel that this software indicates their employer does not trust them, and it becomes a source of stress when coming to work.

As outlined in our employee monitoring software article, you can address these concerns by reminding employees that:

  • You aren’t tracking private data, like Social Security numbers or passwords.
  • You’re aggregating data on performance during the workday, not people’s personal lives when they’re off work.


Increased Workload Fears

Sometimes, team members wonder if a program like workforce analytics means they’re going to have to work nonstop. Assure them that this is the opposite of your goal! In fact, workforce analytics can actually help employees by:

  • Ensuring that high performers get the recognition they deserve
  • Helping struggling team members get support before they become disengaged
  • Position employees for raises and bonuses by collecting hard data on their performances
  • Setting up scheduled breaks and time away from the computer


The Threat of Micromanagement

The truth is that some managers do use user activity monitoring programs to micromanage employees. Again, have an open conversation with your team about your goals for this software and how micromanagement is not one of them. Setting up a clear Internet usage policy before the software is implemented can help start things off right. (Here’s a free sample Internet usage policy!)


Transparency: A Clear Solution

Again, being open and honest and having transparent conversations about your goals will help employees understand that this new software isn’t about punishing them – it’s about improving the organization’s productivity.

In fact, HR Technologist named transparency as one of the key workforce analytics trends of 2019. They wrote, “Today, emerging people-data, its collection, analysis and usage are under rightful scrutiny…A transparent privacy note for gathering workforce analytics data would look something like this, says Michael DesRochers, Founder and Managing Director at PoliteMail Software: ‘We may also use measurement analytics for our own legitimate business purposes, including campaign evaluation, messaging planning and internal training.’”

Is employee monitoring software legal? If you are providing computers for your employees to use at work, it’s legal for you to monitor their usage. Privacy Rights Clearinghouse points out that “your employer can monitor most of your workplace activity unless there’s a policy or agreement (employee handbook, company memo, union contract, etc.) stating otherwise.”

However, rules vary from state to state; and if you perform work across international borders, you will need to be mindful of the laws and regulations that apply. For example, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) states that anyone in the EU must consent to personal data collection.

Before installing employee monitoring software, we strongly recommend you:

  • Seek out legal advice on state, federal and international laws.
  • Create an Internet Usage Policy and make sure all of your employees understand and sign it.
  • Make a list of your company’s goals and research whether workforce analytics software can help you reach them.

Workforce Analytics Resources


Understanding the Difference Between Workforce Analytics and HR Analytics

Learn about the difference between workforce analytics for HR and workforce analytics for productivity measurement and to improve operational efficiency.


Remote Workforce Analytics: Top 5 Reasons Why More Visibility Helps Your Remote Teams

Learn how Workforce Analytics can be leveraged to manage remote teams more efficiently.


On-demand Training: Workforce Analytics 101

Learn How to Gain deeper insights into your team's productivity with ActivTrak's NEW ActivConnect.

Workforce Productivity and Analytics Software for Teams

ActivTrak collects and normalizes user activity data providing visibility, analytics and context. Get the real story behind HOW your employees work and what hinders their productivity so you can streamline and optimize business tools, processes and teams.

  • Uncover poor operational processes and workflow bottlenecks.
  • Analyze productivity activities and behavior patterns.
  • Get visibility into cloud application proliferation and usage trends.
  • Gain insights into remote employee work patterns and time management.
  • Identify insider threats to reduce security vulnerabilities.
  • Get alerted to employee activities that introduce compliance risk.
  • Easily generate detailed reports for audit trail requirements.
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