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Synthesis Keeps the Pulse of Employees Upbeat

Published • 06 October 2020

Synthesis has always been a company with a closely connected culture. However, as Synthesis grew at an exceptional rate, it was becoming difficult to keep in touch with employees at the levels that we prefer and are accustomed to. We experienced resource growth of approximately 40% over the past 12 months and expect this growth to continue due to existing and future demand trends. How would we ensure employee wellbeing, measure employee-project fit, combine multiple data points, track programmes and more at the same level of efficiency, if not higher? Fortuitously, we started asking these questions and implemented a solution prior to the onset of COVID-19. The results were so successful that we have now extended the solution to clients.

Synthesis keeps the pulse of employees upbeat

The Challenge

Tracy Morris, Synthesis Head Solutionist, explains, “As a company that thrives on innovation and data-driven decisions, we realised that we needed to implement optimised ways to make data-driven decisions. This would need to include continuous updates to the data which incorporate agile methodologies by giving ownership back to the staff and distributing the responsibility across the company.”  We had a few ideas we wanted to solve for and started out by designing hypotheses to test our theories around these ideas. These included:    Individuals should own their own data   Matching capabilities & interests to projects   Measure employee wellbeing   Matching individuals to teams   Measuring customer success   Measuring programme success (e.g. mentorship)   Trying to find trends or anomalies in the team 

The Solution

We needed to create a solution that would address our challenge and relate to Synthesis’ true character of innovation, technology exploration and connectedness. We built Pulse as an easy-to-use proof of concept (POC).  Technology Pulse is a system that imports data from different sources and inputs the data into a graph datastore, as well as submits surveys that are designed to be a few clicks to answer. The underlying graph representation can be used to create a visual of a person and their responses.  The data is pulled from Google sheets in some instances and it also integrates APIs. 

Synthesis keeps the pulse of employees upbeat

“We realised that we had multiples sources of data, and this needed to be aggregated into a single place to gain maximum value out of the data. For this reason, we built some custom integrations into various data sources,” says Morris.  Google sheets and boards are the main sources of data for Pulse. This data is stored in a Neo4j graph database which allows relationships to be built between the different data sets. This is a great choice since this type of data is very relationship heavy. This data store enables easy querying and visualisation of the data, allowing less-technical people the ability to interact with it.  In addition to this, Pulse then has the capability to send out surveys that can be used to gather new data directly from Synthesis employees or to check the correctness of the data that has been imported. The results of these surveys are aggregated into dashboards on AWS Quicksight which enables further visibility and trend tracking.

The Result

One of the challenges within any organisation is the ability to understand employees. It has been increasingly accepted that the emotional well-being of staff is key to any successful company. We now have immediate data relating to employee wellbeing. If employees mark that they are not okay according to our rating system then they are immediately contacted by a member of the team. They are also asked how they are feeling compared to previous weeks to ensure there is a level of benchmarking.  Pulse has allowed us to gauge trends that are surfacing within our organisation. It has allowed us to pick up on any anomalies within individuals or teams, which can then be actioned through the most appropriate channel.  

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For example, if one team is noting a lower mood then we can address it. We can also gain a deeper understanding of what drives peak performance and what impacts it.  We have used Pulse to survey everything from internal communication to company knowledge. When lockdown happened, we had the knowledge of employee wellbeing pre-COVID to compare this to wellbeing during stage 5 lockdown. This was extremely beneficial. We have also found that because Pulse is so easy to use, the employee usage rate is high. This data is then shared with employees so they are aware of how Synthesis is doing on a weekly basis.  Howard Feldman, Synthesis Head of Marketing & People explains, “The onset of remote working was swift, and with it came the need to understand how our people were managing. It became vital to have a way to understand what they were struggling with and what we could do to eliminate or at least reduce the impact of working away from colleagues and friends. Pulse allowed us to not only gain insight into the emotional status of our staff but also to understand challenges.”  “An interesting example of this was that in one of the surveys we listed a number of challenges and asked our people to rate the greatest challenge. Where we expected it to be loneliness or connectivity, what we found was that the difficulty was getting people to disconnect from work. As one person put it ‘I no longer work from home, I now live at work.’ This allowed us to address the issue, encourage people to take time off and to provide them with ideas as to how to achieve this. Without Pulse we would not have been aware of this.”  With just minimal data so far, we can:    Identify issues on projects early and prevent employees from having to work overtime.   Know how information affects employees and we can create awareness on how to relay certain information and implement change management where needed.   We can reach out to individuals often to make sure they are okay and see if there is anything that Synthesis can help them with.   Track the health of a project team, as well as gain insights into the quality that is being delivered to our customers.  The Future  With the global trend moving towards a combination of remote and office working, with a future focus on workplace fulfillment; Pulse offers a unique, authentic and immediate insight into the wellbeing and status of employees. With organisations such as hotels, clubs and educational intuitions needing to understand trends and concerns, we see Pulse as a natural indicator of these elements.  Pulse is currently being offered to clients through beta testing where it is being custom designed for their organisation.  Use Pulse to detect the heartbeat of your organisation.

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