How Data Analysis Boosts Productivity

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If you want to increase productivity in your company, consider making changes based on big data. Data analysis reveals surprising insights about what does—and doesn’t—improve worker performance.

Productivity is a huge issue in the workplace, mainly because the lack of it costs money—and lots of it. Between employee attrition and lost productivity, companies lose $350 billion every year. Facing that kind of loss, it’s no wonder companies both large and small look for ways to mitigate employee flight and increase worker efficiency.

So is there a more efficient way to improve productivity? According to a study by Evolv, a workforce management company, big data provides tremendous insight. A study of 121 million of the company’s performance and behavioral records revealed that you gain a greater understanding of employee performance when you understand your employees better.

An article by Don Reisinger on CIOInsight discusses the study’s findings. Through data analysis, companies can significantly increase their understanding of employees, which in turn improves their odds of improving worker productivity.

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Max Simkoff, co-founder and CEO of Evolv, went so far as to call the current applicant selection and performance-management process subjective and counter-productive.

“The…process is entirely subjective and doesn’t accurately predict employee outcomes. It’s often counterproductive to workplace success,” says Max Simkoff, co-founder and CEO of Evolv. He further claims that, “dynamic analytics software reveals the hard facts on what makes employees most successful, allowing executives to make smart operational decisions.”

The study indicates that analyzing big data can tell you more about employees’ behavior, which takes the guesswork out of improving employees’ performance and productivity. Here are just some of the behaviors gleaned from the Evolv study. Keep them in mind as you consider policy changes to improve productivity in your company.

Worker Reliability: Employee attrition is costly; only 50 percent of hourly workers stay on the job for one year or longer.

Telecommuting Employees: Work-at-home employees stay at on the job 20 percent longer than employees with the shortest amount of time at a job. However, those work-at-home employees produce 1.6 percent less than their office-bound colleagues.

Rule Breakers: Do you prefer to hire employees who toe the line? The data says that employees who identify as rule-followers actually break the rules 67 percent more often than those who don’t make that claim.

Better Browsers: Workers who use Chrome or Firefox—instead of Internet Explorer—stay at their jobs longer, miss 15 percent fewer work days, and deliver higher customer satisfaction.

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Social Employees Do It Better: Job performance is higher among employees who use three to four social networks compared to those who are less involved with social networks.

Hoofing It: Companies located within walking distance to their employees’ homes retain workers for 58 percent longer than those located further away from where their employees live.

Shorter is Not Better: Apparently a short drive doesn’t reap the same rewards as a walk to work. A quick 0-5 mile drive to work increases employee retention by only 20 percent.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of Small Business Computing. Follow Lauren on Twitter.

Adapted from Improving Employee Performance With Data Analysis, by Don Reisinger at CIO InsightFollow CIO Insight on Twitter.