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Define Success with Collaboration Metrics

Oct 2, 2020 12:31:00 AM

Collaboration metrics can be tricky to get right. As a result, it’s common for organizations to set goals and embark upon new strategic initiatives without establishing proper data points, monitoring mechanisms and measurements. Without metrics, it can be difficult to determine success — or failure. 

As plans and resources are established and money is spent to improve adoption and engagement, companies often fail to create a baseline for these activities before they actually start. The result is that organizations may not have a realistic estimate of the time and cost that is needed to drive employee productivity through collaboration, or even the business value derived.

collaboration metrics

As organizations consider building out their collaborative capabilities through enterprise collaboration software, it is important to define the necessary metrics in order to understand and gain visibility into what success looks like, and quantify the ROI and benefits of collaboration.

One mistake companies make is thinking that the more intuitive the technology, the more obvious the business value — and employee engagement will follow. While it is true that rolling out intelligent intranet software such as social intranets and digital workplaces will broadly help improve communication and team cohesiveness, there is work to be done to optimize the corresponding increased business value. 

Qualitative improvements are important — such as building an improved user interface that makes collaborating across teams easier and more user-friendly — but successful collaboration must also be measured in terms of its quantitative business benefits. The ability to achieve faster product release cycles, or reducing the time taken to resolve customer issues are good examples of this. Deciding which collaboration metrics or KPIs are right for your organization depends largely on the goals of your platform and the culture of your organization.

Our advice is to take it slow. If you have well-defined collaboration metrics, that’s great. But most organizations benefit from a more gradual approach that includes piloting new intranet software alongside business KPIs. Start with some high-level measurements in place, and be prepared to adjust them as you learn more about how your employees are actually using the platform.

Ways to measure collaboration

Where to begin? There are a number of ways that you can capture data from your solution so you can identify a baseline of activity. Measuring collaboration should be done in two ways, as both qualitative and quantitative measurements are needed to track progress over time. For example:

  • Create and publish a common vision for collaboration with executive support and lead by example. Share what success looks like and invite employees to become early adopters. Measure the number of people that participate early on in your journey as a benchmark.
  • Conduct initial and regular pulse surveys. What do employees think about the new platform?  How is technology helping to manage their workloads and improve productivity? If it is a digital workplace, how easy is it to create and find everything in one place? Are you receiving the information that you need to do your job at the right time? What requirements not being met? 
  • Create consistent communications, including new communities with the goal of improving education and training, and getting more information in front of people. Make it clear that you are listening and be responsive to their suggestions.
  • Revisit your change management policies and ensure people understand the process for suggesting improvements to the system. Make the prioritization and status of those changes transparent.
  • Develop reward and recognition programs to encourage sharing and collaboration.

Clearly defined governance, consistent communications, compelling content and global collaboration are at the core of improving end-user adoption and engagement.  Demonstrate progress against your KPIs and provide a clear line of sight between collaboration activity and healthy business growth.

If you’re experiencing serious issues with end-user engagement, the first step is always to get a clear picture of where things are today through your collaboration metrics. Only with awareness can you begin to take the right steps forward and build out healthy collaboration practices across your organization.

5 metrics to measure collaboration success

With input from many of our customers over the years, we have narrowed down 5 key metrics you should be tracking when measuring collaboration success using digital tools. 

1. General usage

Specific metrics such as views, visits, likes, comments, etc. provide a general indication of how many people are using the tool, and they can be tracked over time. This data makes it easy to see employee usage trends and the type of content they are viewing, which is in itself an indication of employee engagement. 

2. Top users

Many organizations find that some workers use collaboration tools considerably more than others. It’s important to leverage their skills and enthusiasm as these employees are likely to influence others and are often proactive in helping to drive local adoption. 

3. People-related business metrics  

A very tangible way to measure the ROI of your collaboration tool is to track metrics that relate to people within your organization, for example, employee engagement scores and access to learning opportunities. 

4. Cost related business metrics

Finance departments are likely to be very interested in understanding the metrics relating to collaboration tools. Measuring efficiency is a good way to get these important stakeholders on board, tracking metrics such as IT costs.

5. Customer and sales-related metrics

Customers are the lifeblood of most organizations and your collaboration tool is a great way to ensure your Salesforce has information available to deliver a good customer experience and drive more sales. Customer metrics that are worth tracking include the confidence of sales teams to create a good customer experience.

As Peter Drucker, a well-known management consultant and author, famously said “if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”.  In the current environment, the ability to drive continuous improvement is key to growth.    

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