Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Decoding employee performance

My weekly book post on s+b's blogs covers The Decoded Company, which argues that it’s time to know your employees better than your customers.

Employee Management in the “Big Data” Era
In December, I wrote about Dave Eggers’ novel, The Circle, and its creepily claustrophobic depiction of a Big Brother–like corporation that monitors, evaluates, and addresses its employees’ every action to supposedly drive productivity. This week, I’m writing about The Circle’s non-fiction doppelganger: a new business book titled The Decoded Company: Know Your Talent Better Than You Know Your Company (Portfolio, 2014), by Leerom Segal, Aaron Goldstein, Jay Goldman, and Rahaf Harfoush.

The main message of The Decoded Company is that companies are missing a major opportunity for growth and profit—by not applying the same technologies used to identify, track, and sell customers to improve employee performance. To remedy that, the authors say companies need to do three things: use technology as an employee trainer and coach, inform employees’ decision making with data, and create a culture that maximizes the ensuing benefits.

This all sounds very promising. If Joe Employee is struggling with some aspect of the task at hand, assistance can be delivered in real time. He doesn’t need to fail before he gets help, so his employer doesn’t need to bear the cost of that failure. Or before Jane Executive fires the manager of a project that has gone seriously over budget, she can consider a wealth of information regarding the manager’s performance and results over his entire tenure with the company.

Three of the book’s authors—Segal, Goldstein, and Goldman—are executives at Klick, a digital marketing agency serving global health clients. They say that they’ve integrated many of the tools needed to do these things into a system called Genome. Genome has helped Klick grow into a US$100 million company. It also helped them determine how many cups of coffee the company’s 400 employees drank in 2013. (The number was 61,392, in case you’re interested.)

But the underlying codicil is something of an the rest here

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