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Waber points to successful pilots with big companies such as Bank of America, Deloitte, and a top oil company. Fortune 500 companies, he says, want to “deploy our analytics at scale to answer big questions and problems around people. They’re looking to dramatically improve their people and workplace.”
Bank of America, for example, used the Humanyze system in its call centers to try to boost performance and lower its employee turnover rate. The bank noticed that some call-center teams were much more efficient and stable than others, but it couldn’t figure out why, Waber says. Humanyze looked at a few metrics, such as average length of calls, interactions on calls, and when employees went on breaks, and tied those into performance metrics.
It turned out the most important factor was how employees interacted with their co-workers, not customers. When team members had overlapping lunch breaks and talked to each other, their stress was lower (as measured by tone of voice), job turnover was lower, and they completed their calls faster.
So the bank made a management change and tested it over several months—it gave half the teams breaks at the same time and compared the results. It found the turnover rate fell from 40 percent to 12 percent, and the more cohesive teams completed their calls 23 percent more quickly—which is “worth tens of millions of dollars” to Bank of America, Waber says.
With Deloitte, meanwhile, the system was used to analyze how the geographic distribution of the company’s workforce—on a city, neighborhood, and even a floor-by-floor level—affects collaborative behaviors like talking face-to-face versus sending e-mails.
Proving that understanding these kinds of metrics can consistently yield concrete suggestions that boost companies’ bottom line will be key for Humanyze. For now, Waber says, it’s most important to get things right with the first batch of customers. “The next six months are critical,” he says.
“Everyone’s eventually going to have to do this,” Waber says. “Look at where Amazon was 20 years ago, doing A/B testing—now everyone has to do it. People analytics are at the same stage.” (See example of a manager dashboard below.)
Waber continues: “Our customers are investing in something that’s hard to do today. We are saying no to customers who are not willing to change their company. If you do change, you’re going to destroy your competitors. If you don’t, you won’t be around in 10 years, and we’ll work with your competitors.”
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