Work outcomes: the missing link in EPM

The rise in hybrid working has, for many enterprises, meant a renewed focus on helping employees be productive and effective wherever they work. Now that more employees are working remotely – and especially now that many managers are managing remotely – getting data to make the right decisions about resourcing for the business and employees is more important than ever. Employee wellbeing is also becoming one of the biggest concerns for enterprises, as hybrid working models blur people’s professional and private lives in ways that it might be hard for managers to spot unhealthy behaviours, putting employees at risk of burnout.


This need for increased visibility for enterprises and managers has led to an increased interest in employee productivity monitoring (EPM) tools. For those not in the know, EPM tools enable organisations to gather and make sense of data on employee’s activities – such as how are they spending their time, what types of applications are they using, how many hours are they logging - providing insights at the individual and aggregate level that can be used to improve performance and protect employee wellbeing. But in a hybrid world, the renewed interest in EPM is throwing up an interesting challenge.



EPM is powerful, but doesn’t close the loop

Most EPM tools, as we’ve discussed, will track how long employees are working, and what applications they are spending time in. They will categorise this into types of applications, including productive applications- those used for specific work tasks and where the highest percentage of time should go. This level of information is certainly useful and can enable performance improvements such as eliminating time-wasting activities, and cross-training to prepare for busier periods. However, the truth is that long hours don’t always equal completed work. More screen time doesn’t always equal productivity. Spending all your time in work applications doesn’t equal productivity. The next step for organisations who want to make hybrid working a success is to link hours, screen time and application usage to actual outputs.



Get all your data in one place for maximum benefit

Of course, enterprises have ways of measuring outputs, but these are often hidden in various legacy systems and require manual collating and analysis. Looking at individual systems provides valuable single system views, but not a holistic performance and productivity view. Manual processes mean that it’s impossible to get real-time insights into what’s going on which reduces the usefulness of the data. That means managers will struggle to adapt to events as they happen, and may not spot employees who:

  • Are performing really well and deserve recognition and celebration.
  • Could benefit from extra training and support to reach their potential.
  • May have extra capacity – or who are overworked.
  • Are at risk of burning out due to long hours or no screen breaks.
  • Aren’t optimising their use of resources or delivering the right outcomes and need an intervention to get things back on track.

The point about wellbeing is especially pressing. Hybrid working, as many organisations have discovered during the pandemic, can take a toll on employees if they and their workloads aren’t managed properly. It’s one of the biggest reasons that forward-thinking organisations are trying to go beyond traditional measures of productivity; most of those measures don’t easily enable managers to identify whether someone is at risk of burning out.



WorkiQ from ActiveOps bridges the gap

We’re incredibly proud that our EPM solution, WorkiQ, has recently been enhanced to address this gap. This latest update, Collector, provides the capability to automatically count work volumes and seamlessly aggregate this from across various applications. It means enterprises can easily configure, and then track work outcomes – all within their EPM tool. That might be the successful processing of a mortgage, or the completion of an insurance claim – whatever makes most sense for your business.

Armed with this new insight, managers can see how they are performing, instantly, and use the insights as an opportunity to engage with the employees and discuss the right course of action to support their development and wellbeing. For instance, they may see that someone is working long hours, but not producing many outputs; that might be indicative of risk of burnout, as well as a need for support or training. They may be completing work at a very high rate, despite not logging many hours – that could be a cause for celebration and a sign that they have spare capacity or need a more stretching challenge. It’s also easier for managers to identify the behaviours of top performers that can be replicated across the whole workforce, to achieve even greater results.

These insights are designed to help managers lead with confidence. WorkiQ embeds principles of Active Operations Management (AOM), and managers can become certified in these management techniques to help them get the very most from their data – meaning they can work in a hybrid environment secure in the knowledge that they’re doing their best to keep productivity high and protect employee wellbeing.



Putting the right data into the right context

Having access to all this data and insight is hugely exciting for operations. Armed with the insights from WorkiQ, and the right coaching approach, managers can understand how the data they gather can be used to drive positive outcomes instead of catching people in the wrong. Managers will get the skills to engage with their employees and drive positive performance discussions as often as they need to, backed up by accurate data. They can then apply that understanding to support their team members, taking actions that properly balance productivity, performance, and wellbeing.

This combination of the right data and the right context will have a huge impact on how enterprises optimise their operations, by ensuring those enterprises are always in the best position possible to make decisions that create balanced, productive, and resilient teams who can succeed and continuously improve, whatever service challenges come their way – from surges of work to market shocks.



Want to know more?

Whether your organisation already has an EPM solution, or you’re totally new to the concept of EPM, if you’d like to learn more about ActiveOps and WorkiQ we’d love to help. You can learn more about WorkiQ here, or contact us at managedifferently@activeops.com.