Build happy, successful teams with data

Written by
Tom Marsden

03 Dec 2015

03 Dec 2015 • by Tom Marsden

Big data has the power to revolutionise the way businesses organise and manage their personnel. 

Although existing pre-hire and staff monitoring methods – such as questionnaires and psychometric tests – have been in operation for some time, they have been almost entirely focussed on individual assessment. Building a successful team requires thorough testing – not only of a candidate’s individual skills and qualities, but also their ability to work well in a team. Traditional testing methods fail to address this critical area and as a result, may mask underlying issues.

Solving the problem with HR

We all want to make recruitment a smarter, faster and ultimately more cost effective process. How do we do it? The answer lies in the use of data and analytics. With the right technology HR can become a dynamic business function that raises productivity, increases staff morale and helps to build outstanding teams.

Data doesn’t replace human judgement through face to face interview. It augments human judgement and is ‘another voice in the room’; a tool to provide interviewers and recruiters with the insight and ultimately the confidence required to make informed judgments about the people they hire. 

Although to some it might seem like a robotic and ‘un-human’ way of handling people-making decisions, the reality should be quite different. Data heightens the potential for more insightful conversations earlier on in the recruitment process. This is hugely valuable because the recruitment process has a short time line. 

The idea is not that managers use data to hire staff cut from the same cloth. Instead, it allows them to empirically measure the compatibility of different employees. 

Data should help to prevent the unconscious bias that interviewers sometimes suffer. Key studies highlight that in certain situations cognitive diversity, or ‘diversity of thought’, is beneficial. Data can highlight whether this diversity is being increased or diminished. 

Keeping your team happy

Hiring the right team is one thing; keeping them happy is another. Studies shows that often it’s not the salaries, but the social fabric in the workplace that is the key to achieving happiness in the office. 

Research from Professor John Helliwell of the University of British Columbia, concluded that trust was one of the most highly regarded values at work. In terms of happiness and motivation for the employee, a 10% increase of trust in management is equivalent a 33% increase in income.

Go team data

So why are teams and team dynamics often forgotten when it comes to monitoring and maintaining employees’ wellbeing?

With the help of data, managers are now able to get more involved selecting compatible individuals for, and managing teams. 

Analytics, if used correctly, can create better working environments and happier teams. Many existing assessments only identify problems after the opportunity to act has passed. Investing the time into data can help to predict and create great teams – which are the engine rooms of great organisations.

The evidence which links engaged teams with increased productivity is well established. It’s now time to start augmenting our decision powers with data.