Erkin’s Op-Ed in Business Insider

Here’s what we’re seeing and how the technology can help companies more effectively manage remote workers.

Erkin Adylov
Erkin Adylov, CEO of Behavox

If you had to guess whether your employees are getting sick of working at home during the lockdown, what would be your answer?

The correct answer is you really don’t know.

The days of relying on in-person engagement to measure team morale are stuck back in the office. So ask yourself tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.: Can you quantify the morale, concerns, and productivity of your employees, the vast majority of whom are isolated indefinitely at home?

The awful toll caused by COVID-19 is sadly still mounting. But one of the virus’ legacies in the business community is already upon us: Business leaders have no choice but to invest in modern technology solutions to evaluate employee morale and its influence on everything from productivity and customer engagement to corporate culture and code-of-conduct policies.

After working in investing and corporate research on Wall Street, I founded Behavox six years ago. We aggregated and analyzed internal data from our global customer base, which includes tens of thousands of employees. There was a prevailing pattern emerging: steady increases in negative employee sentiment — more specifically, complaints related to working from home indefinitely.

Employees are anxious, tired, and missing tools

Through artificial intelligence and understandings generated by machine learning, we are seeing that employees are grumbling about the monotony and insufficiency of their work environments. Verbatims like, “We don’t have the right equipment,” and, “We don’t know what’s going on,” and perhaps most concerning, “What’s the point?” keep popping up.

This, tied with economic and market volatility, causes another significant uptick in internal communications about anxiety over compensation and careers. Venting to colleagues about kids, in-laws, and family is also on the rise.

Proper conduct in language is loosening

Since employees are at home 24/7, they’re more relaxed in the language they’re using. For example, men are using more misogynistic language and sophomoric humor on Slack and Teams, Behavox analyses found. This type of behavior would never be tolerated in an office setting and shouldn’t be accepted as the “new normal” in the home office.

These types of behaviors clue us in to an uninspired workforce.

Gathering communication data could aid HR in fixing these issues

This is why demand is growing for solutions that gauge employee behavioral issues — issues that adversely affect customer service and the company.

Data operating platforms that provide data aggregation, analytics, and visualization allow HR and executive teams to spot negative employee morale signals and jump on action plans to improve employee conduct and business. Managing morale and conduct supports productivity and customer engagement at a time when both performance indicators cannot afford to sag.

With employees now scattered and dispersed away from the office, the well-being and evolving mindset of your team should now be a main priority for any company that wants to operate at peak performance. In fact, it should be so important that it becomes an enterprise key performance indicator for every business, alongside revenue, margins, and market share. When you are working down the road and no longer down the hall from your team, data-driven awareness of employee morale is now corporate table stakes.

The right tools can help management pinpoint productive collaboration rather than just an increase in touch points that might be simply adding to the noise. At the same time, these tools can identify those who feel isolated or ignored, anyone becoming frustrated by a lack of response, deficient technology, or their personal situation.

Businesses must rethink how they gather, analyze, and act on behavioral data. They need tools to automatically mine and measure employee sentiment, which in turn will provide data-driven direction for both employee and customer engagement.

The businesses that thrive during and after the pandemic will be those who check in regularly with their employees and track them to ensure conduct is healthy, execution is efficient, and customer engagement is tight.

Erkin Adylov is the founder and CEO of Behavox, an end-to-end data operating platform based in New York City.