Resilience Heatmaps: A Missing Link in People Analytics

Mapping resilience levels across teams, divisions, and departments may be crucial to improving organizational wellbeing, productivity, and the bottom line. Find out more, here.

Authors Tyler Phillips (Consultant: Research and Content) and Cuan Macnab-Holding (Consultant: Business Development and Organizational Resilience)

Since the turn of this decade, Human Resources departments have had to contend with many heightened challenges, such as the wave in turnover coined the Great Resignation and the rising prevalence of mental health problems related to burnout. One thing has emerged as instrumental in adapting HR teams to address these challenges: predictive employee data. Called ‘people analytics’, this is a relatively recent organizational approach and tool. It concerns gathering data on employee attributes, behavior, and performance, making it accessible, insightful, and actionable, and helping organizations understand, support, and optimize their staff as individuals, teams, departments, and a whole company. People analytics promises to enable organizations to efficiently identify patterns and trends in their workforce in order to make evidence-based decisions and, as a result, improve critical business outcomes.

Despite such a promise, not many organizations make effective use of people analytics. For example, in 2019 Deloitte found that only 26% of its >10 000 respondents were using HR technology like people analytics for purposes such as reducing turnover. Some say that one of the reasons for this is that, in many cases, data is gathered simply for the sake of it. In other words, it is not translated into action within the organization, especially action that benefits employees directly. Focusing on how to support people, mitigate their risks, and enhance employee experiences should take center stage. 

Supporting individuals, and the groups in which they are nested, improves organizational performance as well. This insight is not new: Over ten years ago, for example, studies demonstrated that companies with more engaged employees grew their stock price 2.5 times more than those with less engaged employees. The cost of not addressing things like low engagement goes further than this: Gallup research has estimated that it creates a loss of $350 billion per year in the US. Disengagement, moreover, is also linked to burnout, the cost of which is even more exorbitant – accounting for about S1.8 trillion in lost productivity in the US. Investing in employee well-being is therefore also an investment in a company’s bottom line. 

Crucially, these ‘people variables’ – employee engagement, turnover intentions, burnout – all have a significant relationship with one key capacity: resilience. At Neurozone®, we’ve demonstrated how increasing resilience predicts increases in desirable corporate outcomes (e.g. job satisfaction, employee engagement) and decreases in undesirable ones (e.g. absenteeism, turnover intentions). We’ve also shown how enhancing resilience predicts decreases in symptoms and/or their severity when it comes to burnout and depression and anxiety. It may be that measuring the resilience levels of employees – as individuals, teams, departments, and an entire company – is a missing link in the people analytics aimed at improving these multiple indices of well-being and performance. 

As it happens, Neurozone® has developed an analytic that does just that. The resilience heatmap, based on individual responses to the Neurozone® Resilience Index, provides an organization with the view of its employees’ resilience levels per team, division, and department. At a glance, it is instantly possible to see which of these groups have higher and lower resilience levels, from which assumptions about other variables (e.g. job performance, satisfaction, engagement, turnover intentions, absenteeism, burnout, depression and anxiety) can be validly though tentatively made. An example of this heatmap is presented below.

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From this heatmap, it is easy to identify which groups require the most immediate support (i.e., the red and orange zones). An HR team will be enabled with the knowledge of where precisely attention and resources need to go to secure the wellbeing and productivity of the organization’s employees (and the organization as a whole). Additionally, by taking a look at the groups that have high resilience (i.e., the blue and green zones), an HR team can glean the strengths at play there, and work towards implementing them in the groups that require a boost. In short, the heatmap provides a great deal of useful information regarding how well (or not) different sectors of the organization are managing their pressures, and where efforts to improve that are required. 

After all, building resilience also has an impact on an organization’s bottom line. Studies have found that companies with the highest improvement in their systemic resilience tended to triple their yearly revenue growth compared to companies with the lowest resilience improvement. They’ve also found that when employees have higher resilience, they tend to be higher in innovation, cognitive flexibility, and team creativity – arguably contributing to their organization’s superior performance and success. By making use of something like the resilience heatmap, organizations can empower their HR teams to maintain strengths where they exist, and support the areas in need of strengthening, for system-wide resilience that will save them a great deal in productivity, well-being, and capital. 

How can we help you?

We specialize in training professionals who use a coaching approach to optimize their people.

Contact Cuan Macnab-Holding, Neurozone Consultant: Business Development & Organizational Resilience



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