The Quantified Employee: Revealing the hidden metrics tied to employee value

- May 15, 2015 4 MIN READ

wrote recently about the opportunities and challenges of wearables in enterprise with consideration to the perspectives of the employee and employer. In this same article, I referenced the potential for enterprises, or a partner organisation, to play the role of platform ecosystem so that the enterprise, and the individuals within that enterprise, could truly gain value from connected devices.

One of the key points was that the use of wearables in enterprise should be aligned with objectives that drive shared-value and respect privacy. The opportunity if this alignment is achieved could prove revolutionary.

Allow me to introduce an alteration of an existing concept, the Quantified Employee.

The Quantified Self movement has become quite popular, with a growing number of applications such as Zenobase and Exist enabling an individual to utilise data they capture to draw correlations and find ‘meaning.’

Due to the increasing ubiquity of data capture and the decreasing evasiveness of wearables or connected devices, a lot of the friction that has often been, at least in the early days, associated with Quantified Self is being reduced. The result is a vast increase in the potential to derive individual meaning from numbers.

We are now better positioned than ever to capture and use data that relates to almost every facet of our life, if we so choose.

The key point here for you and I is choice.

The choice relating to what data we capture, how it’s used and for what purpose should be ours. This segues nicely back to the starting point of an, or group of, objectives that create shared value for the employee and employer in the context of gaining value from wearables in enterprise or wearables at work more broadly.

The Quantified Employee could be the ultimate in employee personalisation.

By understanding our strengths, our weaknesses, our context, our productivity cycles and everything else in between, I’d argue that we should be able to optimise ourselves to deliver the most value in the time that we’re given.

We’ve come a long way (in some cases) from the founding principles of scientific management, and there is increasing conversation surrounding the future of work, the fragmentation or decentralisation of workforces and jobs, or simply, Uber working.

There is of course also the potential case where the robots take all of our jobs (which might be a good thing. Imagine all that free time…), but I won’t attempt to go there for now.

What all of this means is that the way we spend time, where we spend that time and the frameworks through which we actually do work are shifting pretty drastically.

Personally, I am hugely motivated by time ROI, and frankly, your employer likely is also.

The Quantified Employee or the way we leverage this movement should be the conduit to optimising ROI on time at the level of the individual.

Whether your future of work is Uber style, or whether it remains within a large corporate environment, the value of connected devices and the value of context-driven personal data analytics shouldn’t be understated.

The opportunity as we progress is to make use of the Quantified Employee movement to define and help create the environment in which we all do our most meaningful work and make best use of our time. In so many ways this potential is role agnostic, but may deliver a lot more value in certain roles than in others.

For instance, as a barista in a hospitality environment, you may find that the combination of poor sleep and low electrolytes directly affects customer satisfaction due to the fact that your ability to produce exceptional coffee decreases at certain times of the day. By tracking, analysing and then optimising when you snack or hydrate yourself, you’re able to maintain your energy and motivation levels to the point at which your output quality is more consistent, and therefore, the people who come for coffee at 2pm are much, much happier with their purchase.

When you combine this with the objectives of the business, a key driver such as the LTV (lifetime value) of each customer may increase quite significantly due to the higher quality product and consistent customer experience. You may also notice the value of word of mouth exposure increases (i.e. a person who bought coffee yesterday at 2pm alone, today brings a colleague who also buys a coffee).

If the business and the individual are then able to align their objectives, the opportunity to create and be rewarded by shared-value becomes reality.

In a different example, you or I might find ourselves sitting down a lot. Perhaps a quick win exists through analysing total time spent sitting and posture versus quality of output through the likes of Posture.IO or Zami.

I track a lot about myself, but am yet to track posture. My current hypothesis is that the longer I sit down, the less energy and motivation I have. This in turn affects my ability to deliver high quality work, and may be one of the reasons I tend to do a lot of my best work between 5 and 8am.

I’m very interested to test this theory further.

Perhaps the most interesting component of this entire trend, and something that Posture.IO and many others like Athos or Hexoskin help clearly expose, is the speed at which the wearables ecosystem is growing. This is matched only by the speed through which we can measure new things, in new ways with less friction.

I may sound like a broken record, but absolutely everything is becoming connected. Data should become one of your greatest allies.

Bringing things back into focus, the Quantified Employee is a realisable opportunity for businesses of all sizes across various industry verticals, but it has to be taken in context. Also, it’s very clear that the supporting framework needs to be guided by principles that promote shared-value for both the employee and employer, and maintain an acceptable level of individual privacy for all employees.

This is likely to be an ongoing conversation, so let’s continue on Twitter or in the comments section below, especially if you’re an early adopter in the Quantified Employee movement.

Featured image: www.psfk.com