Empowerment defined is the “authority or power given to someone to do something.” The explanation may not sound all that important. But, for your team, empowerment is vital. Here is how to empower your team through data.
As noted by The Wharton School, empowering your team creates a toxic-free environment where micromanagement is discouraged. It also encourages ownership, keeps everyone satisfied, boosts engagement, and frees-up your valuable time.
While you can do this by not always looking over your team’s shoulders, you can also use data to empower your team. But, first, let’s go over the benefits that your organization will experience after they have data at their fingertips.
Provides access to information promptly.
The main benefit is that your team will have fast and easy access to information that can help them become more effective and efficient. For example, if your team uses a tool like Calendar. Each person can track their time to see the time they’re spending in specific meetings, or at certain places. Knowing the specifics of their behavior, they can alter their schedules so that they’re devoting the right amount of time to the right things.
What’s more, this data can be used to pin-down performance metrics. In turn, this can boost productivity, agility, morale, and it keeps everyone on the same page. And, as an additional bonus, timely access to information can speed up workflows and the decision-making process. That may not sound overly important. But, as found in a report from Boston University, 47% of professionals stated that slow access to information impedes their ability to make decisions.
Improves your team’s performance, engagement, and motivation.
Every leader should make this a priority. After all, when you’re able to improve your team’s performance, engagement, and motivation, your team will be more productive and satisfied. And, thanks to data, this has never been easier.
In case you didn’t get the memo, money isn’t an effective way to motivate your team. They want to know that their work has purpose and meaning. And, yes, data can help you achieve this. For instance, you could display KPIs and employee goals so that your team can see the purpose and progress of their work. As a result, you’ll be less likely to micromanage them. And, this will grant them ownership, which will keep them happy and productive.
Helps you identify your top and bottom performers.
With data easily at your disposal, you can track each of your team members’ progress. That means you can quickly identify who your top performers are and then reward them accordingly. For example, let’s say a team member had completed a project ahead of schedule or made progress towards a goal. You could acknowledge their hard work and offer an incentive that they care about.
Additionally, you can also use this information to discover who your weakest links are. That doesn’t mean you have to let them go. But, this may allow you to meet with them and attempt to get to the root problem. Maybe they haven’t been able to make progress on a goal because they don’t possess time management skills, or they have too much on their plate. As such, you could redistribute tasks or help them solve their time management problems so that they can become a top performer.
Using Data to Empower Your Team
Hopefully, you’re sold on the benefits of embracing business. Now, it’s time to learn how actually to empower your team using data.
Provide the right training and tools.
Training is essential when you’re introducing new technology, strategies, or concepts. Even if your team members are familiar with data, you still want to share with them the latest developments. Most importantly, you need to align business intel with their work.
In conjunction with training, you also need to arm them with the right tools. An example of this would be giving your sales the latest AI-powered sales app so that they have real-time insights about leads and customers on their phones.
Encourage communication and collaboration.
How can you empower your team if you’re keeping the data to yourself? That’s just counterproductive and poor use of data. Instead, share this information with everyone within your organization so that they’re up-to-date and on the same page.
Moreover, provide opportunities for your team to discuss and dig into the data. It’s a simple way to see how it’s impacting their performance. But, it also is a great way to get them more involved. As noted in a Forbes article, managers can “increase task identity by involving employees in more aspects of work by having them participate in the planning, reporting, and evaluation of projects rather than just the doing.”
Make the data more engaging.
Don’t bore your team with figures and numbers. Have a little fun with the data by making it more exciting and engaging by utilizing dashboards.
Dashboards, explains the folks over at Phocas “allow you to set the business indicators that are important to your business.” But, what makes for an excellent dashboard? At the minimum, it should “provide a visual, fact-driven overview of the indicators most important to your team, enabling them to see at a glance how the team is performing.”
Your dashboard will allow your team “to dive into the underlying data in the lightning-fast grid that sits behind the dashboard.” What about you, non-technical people? Well, they can “quickly build an interactive, customized dashboard, so your team can collaborate, revise, and print on the spot without help from IT.”
Use visuals and gamification as well.
Another way to accomplish this is by providing visuals. As Calendar founder John Rampton explained in a previous article, data visualization is the key to team productivity since visual learning is more efficient. It also helps you focus on what’s most important, advances AI and machine learning, and enhances communication and collaboration.
Just remember that to get the most out of data visualization, you should:
- Understand the data you’re trying to visualize, such as the size and uniqueness.
- Determine the data you want to visualize and what needs to be communicated.
- Know your audience and their learning preferences.
- Use visuals that present the information as briefly and simply as possible.
- Use the right visual for the right situation. For instance, Gantt charts are ideal for updating the status of a project. On the flipside, Fishbone diagrams are better suited for finding defects in a process.
And, the Phocas team also suggests that you gamify your data. “By providing your team with an immersive and gamified experience, using data becomes engaging. If your team can manipulate data quickly and easily, they are driven to improve their performance through feedback.”
“By introducing gamification, you can present a fun and competitive way for your team to detect every opportunity to increase revenue and overall productivity.” And, ultimately, this can cultivate collaboration and motivate individual team members.
Integrate analytics into every aspect of your business.
At first, this may be intimidating. But. as Roman Stanek, the Founder and CEO of GoodData writes in Forbes, “companies who have recognized value from analytics have gone beyond their competitors to become empowered analytical organizations.” What that means is that they have “successfully integrated analytics into every part of their business to drive everyday business decisions and deliver substantial returns.”
The four attributes needed to assimilate data into your business.
- Solve for business problems. “The first step to using data to drive decisions is to look at a business process that requires more clarity or one that has an easy-to-define workflow or apparent objectives for improvement,” writes Stanek. “Preferably, it’s an area that can easily measure improvements in tangible, metric-driven ways.”
- Recognize that it’s an ongoing process. To deliver tangible results, you need to make a serious time and financial commitment “on the strategy, talent, and business plan.”
- Embed analytics into all areas of the business. “Analytics has value for every layer of the organization, not just the c-suite or data scientists,” adds Stanek. Because of this, “the only way to get closer to the return on investment you’re looking for is to deploy analytics to as many people as possible to improve everyone’s decision making” and showing your team how data can help them solve problems.
- Make sure executives do their part. “For a company to successfully transition to an empowered analytical organization, leadership will need consensus around the analytics project, and to truly understand why the IT budget will need to shift to support the kind of transformation expected,” explains Stanek. “They’ll also need to routinely participate in identifying key business processes that are ripe for improvement and encourage continuous learning and additional investment.”