Feb 10 2022
“ONA Tools, Market, Use cases and Case studies to help leaders uncover the hidden dynamics that drive performance by diving deep into the social capital of their organisation”
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way organisations function. As they embrace the new way of work, they have been doubling down on their efforts to enhance employee engagement, productivity, communication and collaboration within the team and organisation. They are finding effective ways to dive deeper into the social capital and uncover the hidden dynamics that drive performance. Organisational Network Analysis (ONA) is the best way to achieve that.
ONA helps leaders find answers to the following questions -
Such Organisational Network Analysis questionnaires can provide valuable insights that can help organisations streamline their business model and drive an organisation wide digital and cultural transformation.
As organisations and leaders turn to a more data-driven approach of finding answers to these questions, they realise that talent issues lie beyond an individual's behaviour, skills and capabilities.
ONA is a branch of People analytics that helps to understand how communication takes place in the organisation.
Renowned subject matter expert Professor Rob Cross explains “ONA can provide an x-ray into the inner workings of an organisation — a powerful means of making invisible patterns of information flow and collaboration in strategically important groups visible”.
Organizational network analysis (ONA) measures and graphs collaboration patterns by examining the strength, frequency and nature of interactions between people in networks. ONA provides detailed information about hidden factors for success, such as flow of information, decision-making, revenue producing collaborations, innovation, inclusion—even trust, purpose and energy.
What are the Key Concepts in Organisational Network Analysis?
What are the Core Elements of Organisational Network Analysis?
Nodes: All the employees working in an organisation.
Central Node: These people seem to know everyone. Central nodes tend to share a lot of information, collaborate with different networks and influence groups quickly.
Knowledge Broker: They create bridges between groups to streamline the flow of information and ideas.
Peripheral: These people are easily overlooked and feel a lack of connection with their peers and the organisation. They are the most likely to exit.
Ties: Ties are formal and informal relationships between nodes (people).
Nodes and ties are the core elements of ONA. Visualizing the relationships between them makes it much easier to identify critical connections and potential barriers to information flow and collaboration.
Reference: Core elements of ONA. Source: Deloitte
The effectiveness of ONA relies on the data available that helps in depicting the relationship between employees and teams within the organisation. Organizational Network Analysis is traditionally divided into two types - Active ONA & Passive ONA.
Active ONA uses direct input from employees in the organization as they are asked to answer a series of questions about their relationships with other employees. Here, data is collected explicitly by surveying employees whose collaboration habits are important for understanding the relationships that they have with other individuals within (or outside) the organisation.
Passive ONA, on the other hand, uses data that already exists within the enterprise- such as email logs, chat logs or in some cases even understanding who's collaborating on certain documents.
Since both Active and Passive ONA data collection methods have some key differences and challenges, People Analytics Leader, David Green suggests that combining Active and Passive ONA is the way forward.
Using survey-based Active ONA may produce great insights but can prove to be time-consuming and present a risk of low responses. However, adding Passive ONA to the mix will add scale, continuous and real-time capabilities.
When combined, the two data sets provide a revolutionary 360-degree view on how people feel AND what they do.
In 2018, David Green categorised the vendors (Fig 4) driving innovation in the ONA space.
Fig. 4: ONA vendors in 2018. Source: David Green
In the HRTech Market 2021 report, Josh Bersin called out People Analytics and ONA as one of the key trends. Some key vendors in the People Analytics space listed in the report are (Fig. 5)
Fig. 5: HRTech Market 2021, People Analytics Vendors. Source: Josh Bersin
The People Analytics space and specifically the ONA space has grown, evolved and matured. The People Analytics Technology: Landscape Tool by Redthread Research helps PA leaders looking to invest in technology in 2021.
The PAT research study by Redthread research (Fig.6 ) focuses on 3 areas of market changes, vendor capabilities, and the considerations for making (or expanding) PAT investments.
Fig. 6: People Analytics Tech Market Solution Matrix | Source: RedThread Research, 2020.
The key findings of People Analytics Tool study 2020 included -
Organisational Network Analysis tools can simplify the complexities revolving around organisation-wide communication and virtual collaboration by helping HR teams and leaders understand and quantify certain areas- like TRUST, RELATIONSHIPS, COLLABORATION- that have traditionally been difficult to measure.
These tools also help uncover potential gaps in performance, boost productivity, promote innovation, improve communication & collaboration, identify influencers, support D&I initiatives and even contribute to employee wellbeing by detecting burn out.
To reap maximum benefits of the Organisational Network Analysis Tools, it’s necessary to start with the WHY while strategizing the ONA plan.
It is also important to think about how data can be leveraged to make data-driven decisions for organisation-wide impact, for the people and for the organisation as a whole.
At hrtech.sg we identified ONA as a key trending HRTech tool for 2021. Some other ONA related resources from hrtech.sg include:
Swechha Mohapatra (IHRP-CP, Associate CIPD) is Head of Consulting & Delivery at hrtech.sg and has more than 9 years of global experience in various Talent functions. She is a passionate HRTech evangelist, a member of IHRP HRTech CoP Taskforce, and an avid learner who is certified Six Sigma-Green Belt with a background of MBA (Specialization in HR and IT) and Master’s in Labor Laws and Labor Welfare.
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