Network Equity: A Major Tool For Workplace Strategy

Network Equity is concept developed by Wx to better understand how an organization is functioning, and is best to be leveraged to set up your workplace strategy. In this video, Jessica Car, Wx’s head of APAC, will explain you what is Network Equity, what it does encompasses, and how it can be used to plan remote working in your company of organization.

 

Deciding who can work remotely in your organisation is not as simple as analysing employees activities, tasks and job function. An underrated aspect of work life is the importance of our Networks. What an employee needs from your organization in terms of space, services, and support AT the office vs. working remotely, depends mostly on the size and the health of the employees connections, their network, both externally and internally. 

At Wx, we categorise it and call it, Network Equity

My name is Jess Carr, and I’m the head of Asia Pacific for Wx.

Let me show you what Network Equity is, why it’s important and how you measure it.

Network Equity is a factor of how many connections you have and the strength of those connections; it’s who you are working with on a regular basis and how far into your organisation your network and influence reach. Think about it, in the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen the largest work from home experiment on a global scale. This has uncovered the vulnerabilities of those in the organisation who are not so well connected. Think, new hires, younger employees and those with more solo type work who, in the office scenario would have relied on the physical interactions or ‘bump factor’ to be seen, known and spread ideas. These interactions create natural opportunities for collaboration, relationship building and informal learning and growth

Those populations with lower Network Equity in a remote working scenario don’t have immediate access to the informal knowledge Networks that help them be productive, successful and integrate into the organisational culture. Those with higher Network Equity are more likely to be effective when working remotely more of the time, however they risk to miss the potential value that comes from the contributions of those less visible. 

Equally this is a good method to identify those in your organization who have a network of influence. People who take on the role of advocate are a key part of growing talent and recognizing the next generation of leaders. 

Keep in mind that network equity can also progressively diminish over time if not consistently being attended to. So those with high network equity today, if not properly nurtured and given the right environments to thrive can in turn become those with lower network equity in the years to come. This is particularly important when it comes to understanding who are you “superspreaders” 

No, not the COVID kind. 

There are specific people within organisations who are actually the nodes of communications between departments or groups. These individuals are key and losing one of them might create significant losses of productivity and collaboration.

Understanding the different levels of Network Equity in your organisation, will allow you to effectively plan your remote working strategies including identifying which groups can work remotely and for how many days per week. It’s not as simple as a blanket rule for the organisation, or a strategy using department function. You need to determine the tasks , activities and also levels of network equity

One of the ways we can measure network equity is through what is called an Organizational Network Analysis or ONA for short.  This is essentially a metadata analysis of the network traffic and digital interaction of your employees.

check our channel, we’ve published a video specifically about it. 

This ONA will enable you to measure precisely the size of the networks, their evolution, and where in your organization lie your pivot s, all based on the attributes of your emails, calendars, or chat conversation. Rest assured, everything is anonymized and aggregated, so there is no risk to identify an individual behaviour in the reporting.

CONCLUSION

For companies to be able to effectively plan their workplace and services strategy, you need to look beyond the activities that each department undertakes. You need to measure and understand the distribution of each type of Network Equity across your organisation, the impact that has on the remote working policies, then define your potential workplace and services strategy to support.  

We use a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods to gather and analyse the data to determine the appropriate course of action in line with your organisation’s workplace vision.

So, do you want to get started with network equity analysis? Send me a message – it’s what we use at Wx to prepare for the new world of work with our clients.

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