For measuring collaboration in the workplace, small- and mid-sized businesses may want to look at underlying metrics of the use of unified communication and collaboration technologies as a guiding element. The data doesn’t lie, and the actual levels of collaboration will become evident when the right metrics are selected. Here are some of the metrics SMBs can use to measure collaboration in the workplace.
Email and Instant Message Response Times
Speed is one of the desired outcomes for unified communication and collaboration solutions. In a global survey of SMBs, TechAisle found that 42% rate the speed of response as a key metric. That’s not too surprising – these solutions are designed to eliminate roadblocks that leave many employees “stuck” and unable to be as productive as possible. When employees take too long to respond to an instant message or an email, it can often indicate the medium used to create a conversation isn’t proving to be user-friendly. For that reason, response time is a key metric for measuring SMB collaboration.
An underlying cause could be that some employees may not be able to express themselves sufficiently in writing. If responses are taking three to four times as long for some employees than they are for others, it may be a good time to evaluate other solutions. Video chat is now an increasingly available tool.
Action Items Created / Resolved During Conferencing
Online conferencing solutions, whether they be video, audio or web, are designed to facilitate meetings, and meetings are often only successful if action items are either created or resolved. After all, if an employee attends a meeting and doesn’t get what they need in terms of creating the “next step,” their time has essentially been wasted.
It may be a good idea to run an experiment and ask employees to jot down the numbers for action items that end or come out of meetings. Ask for reports at the end of each meeting, and add the numbers to an Excel spreadsheet. Then, run monthly reports to track the effectiveness of online conferences.
Number of Comments in Each Project Management Thread
This one is pretty straight-forward, and 36% of surveyed SMBs cited it as a key metric. If employees aren’t using solutions like Basecamp or Teamwork to offer or respond to commentary, chances are it’s because it’s not their preferred mode of collaboration.
It’s important to keep in mind that Facebook is releasing a business-oriented version of its product called “Facebook at Work.” If employees aren’t responding well to something they don’t use on a regular basis, it may be time to give them something they know well. That familiarity could make the unified communication and collaboration solution an asset.
Time Tracking for Highly Collaborative Tasks
Myriad factors go into how quickly a task is completed, including communication. Project management solutions help teams to measure how quickly tasks are completed. A good idea may be to take data from before and after a unified communication and collaboration solution has been implemented to measure if highly team-oriented tasks are aided, or harmed, by unified communication and collaboration technologies. If a task that used to take 10 hours now takes 15, it may be time to reevaluate the tools being used in the workplace.
Ask The Employees
More than data points like response times, time to completion of projects and action items, it’s wise to sit down and have a good conversation with employees to see how they feel about collaboration solutions. Do they feel like they’re communicating more with their coworkers? Are tasks easier to complete than before? If they’re responding well to their use and see the value, the net value of employee morale will pay off over time. If not, it may be time to look at other unified communication and collaboration solutions.
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