Google Mapping for Greater Productivity


By Nilesh Bhagat, CHRP

Much has been said about this so-called ‘big data’ movement. We’re moving toward a world where intuition and subjective assessment is making way for concrete, measureable behaviours. Through the use of maturing technologies, like the web and mobile devices, we are able to track, analyze and implement systems to optimize productivity and revenue through measured behaviorus that exhibit engagement and satisfaction.

I came across a great article fitting into this theme, called ‘How Google Maps is changing the face of data’. The author shows how the Google Maps application ‘presents an intuitive way to visualize and consume that data. You’re not just looking at times, places and other information in text form, but you’re seeing it in relation to time and space.’ This adds context to our data and gives us a chance to more deeply understand how we can apply it to better our systems and processes.

I got to thinking how this technology can be used internally in our organizations to map the behaviours and tendencies of the people who drive our businesses: employees. What kind of tracking and analyzing practices could we use to measure with platforms like Google Maps to assess what our employees are doing, when and (importantly) where? If we can harness this depth of information, perhaps we can implement systems that are more closely aligned with what really engages us and ultimately enables us to be productive.

Here are a few ways I think we could use Google Maps (and business/people information systems) to track, analyze and implement better people systems in the name of productivity, engagement and growth:

  • How about HR leaders using visual analytics to group cultural traits within (and across) locations, then implementing systems and practices that align and optimize productivity? For example, people in department A who arrive off schedule, but work past checkout times indicates they value autonomy (in how they schedule their work). Why not implement flexible scheduling for this department as a practice that will increase productivity?
  • ‘(L)everaging employee strengths is the biggest predictor of improved clarity in expectations and that this is strongly related to an employee’s connection to the organization’s mission and purpose’, says researcher Jessica Taylor of Gallup.
    What if we used location-based software to visually map and understand the conditions in which employees perform their best? Do sales go up when employee A is given the ability to interact in department B in Location C? If they do, the context is clearly one where employee A is able to play to his strengths to the benefit of the organization – so why not find expand or create a role for him to prosper there?

Context is a strong driver of our behaviour, shaper of our tendencies and exploiter of our traits. If time and space (the what, when and where) add up to create context, it makes sense to measure these drivers to better our workplaces. Existing and cutting edge technologies make context visual and come to life as we assess the ways we behave now and moving forward.

How might your workplace map your future?

Nilesh Bhagat, CHRP, is the membership and CHRP administrator at BC HRMA. After several gruelling years in school, Nilesh graduated in October 2010 from Simon Fraser University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, First Class Honours. He majored in Human Resources Management and tacked on an extended minor in Psychology. He’s a self-confessed nerd (the first step is admitting), likes to read, loves hockey and is struggling with the complexities of learning the game of golf.

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