Using Analytics to Motivate Employees, Part I

Submitted on: Wed, 01.03.2018 09:37pm - Annie Eissler |
Using Analytics to Motivate Employees, Part I

How to leverage technology and analytics to create psychological ownership opportunities across your organization
Employee engagement is at an all-time low, the labor market is tight, and 60% of millennial employees are open to a different job opportunity (15 percentage points higher than the percentage of non-millennial workers who say the same). Cumulatively, these factors are forcing companies to rethink the way they engage, motivate, and retain employees.
Why Aren’t They Engaged?
Gallup has been tracking employee engagement in the U.S. since 2000. Though there have been some slight ebbs and flows, less than one-third of U.S. employees have been engaged in their jobs and workplaces across that time span.
According to Gallup Daily tracking, 32% of employees in the U.S. are engaged—meaning they are involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their work and workplace. Worldwide, only 13% of employees working for an organization are engaged.
“The economic consequences of this global ‘norm’ are approximately $7 trillion in lost productivity,” Gallup’s Jim Harter writes. “Eighteen percent are actively disengaged in their work and workplace, while 67% are ‘not engaged.’ This latter group makes up the majority of the workforce—they are not your worst performers, but they are indifferent to your organization. They give you their time, but not their best effort nor their best ideas. They likely come to work wanting to make a difference—but nobody has ever asked them to use their strengths to make the organization better.”
Getting Employees Onboard
The problem is that without a motivated workforce, your company can’t move forward or achieve its goals. For example, simply keeping employees focused and on task is difficult (at best) when they’re not engaged in their work. And while there is no exact science to keeping workers motivated—namely because individuals are motived by different things, and at different times—it’s clear that an engaged worker is both committed and willing to go the extra mile for the company and its customers.
“We’ve all dealt with employees who were great at their jobs, and with employees who couldn’t have cared less,” according to Forbes. “To maintain a competitive advantage in today’s fast-paced world, organizations need to motivate and engage all their employees,” Robert Bullock of Seattle Pacific University writes. “This isn’t hard for employees who are passionate and enthusiastic by nature, but what about apathetic and cynical employees?”
High Engagement, Lower Turnover
Citing a Qualtrics study, Bullock goes on to discuss how organizations can benefit from higher employee engagement, lower turnover, and increased financial performance by simply increasing the feeling of ownership employees experience—regardless of whether employees have any ownership in the business itself.
Known as “psychological ownership,” this new type of ownership helps workers feel as though their organization or their job is “theirs,” and to the point that the company becomes an important part of their self-identity.
“Psychological ownership refers to the experience of possessing and being psychologically tied to an entity,” Francesca Gino writes in HBR’s How to Make Employees Feel Like They Own Their Work. “Such feelings of ownership are fundamental to human life. Every day, we interact with a variety of objects we own, both material and immaterial. The state of psychological ownership is not only cognitive but also affective: simply by calling an entity—whether an object, another person, or a job—‘mine’ suggests that we have an emotional connection to it.”
There are many ways companies can effectively create emotional connections and improve employee engagement and involvement. One surprising way might be technology, or more specifically, an analytics solution which provides transparency into what is happening in the business. Analytics can also empower everyone in the business to see the impact of their actions on company results and provide a self-serve analysis of what they can do differently.
In Part II of this blog series we explore specific ways that companies can use analytics to develop a work environment where psychological ownership leads to higher motivation levels and better employee engagement.