Our startup's mission is to remove communication barriers and break down information silos. I wanted to share my experiences (and horror stories) of why I believe the...
When we consider the big picture of 'the purpose of a work calendar' we realize that calendar functionality hasn't developed since the world moved from physical paper calendars to a digital world with Microsoft Outlook or Google Calendar at the forefront.
This transition enabled 'shared and transparent' meeting management across organisations globally, making us more connected. However the question remains, why has there been no new innovations in the last 20 years ago? We cannot pinpoint any ground breaking additions to the calendars themselves.
Where we have experienced developments are from companies like Calendly and Hubspot whereby scheduling assistants can be integrated into email, websites, chat bots and other communication tools.
Google launched its most recent development for calendars and meetings called "meeting quality and statistics".
After a quick inspection its clear this feature is meant for IT departments to assess the technical quality of remote meetings, rather than focusing on calendar analytics, meeting productivity and internal communication efficiency.
We have spoken to hundreds of startups, founders and leadership teams and the common thread that appears in their feedback is "You can uncover enormous value that can be extracted from calendars when you combine all your company calendars, establish trends in their analytics and measure qualitative metrics of your organizations internal meeting culture".
When we combine the underwhelming development of Google Calendar features with Doodle's 2019 State of Meetings report, which states "that the cost of poorly organized meetings reaches $399 billion in the U.S. and $58 billion in the U.K alone" it quickly becomes apparent we need to take action and and develop innovations to improve internal meeting health.
This is why we created Flowtrace's Google Calendar Analytics.
Calendar Analytics Tool - Valuable asset to understand your CULTURE
Company calendars are one of the most underutilized treasure troves of employee productivity information. We have witnessed multiple times a recurring pattern of manual calendar analytics used to try and identify which meetings are productive and which meetings are not, and to compile understanding of how teams and impacted by spending their time in internal meetings. Trying to manage this process and gain insights manually is labor intensive and more often than not irrelevant as the insights are always out-dated.
Calendar analytics tools can do analysis automatically and in real-time, giving you the right and most up to date information when ever you need it.
Automated calendar analytics can identify 'over-time trends' and surface hidden insights which otherwise are subjective to gut-feelings.
Do you ever find yourself wondering "if" your meeting culture could be improved?
And asking yourself "how" you could improve it?
We have asked these questions over and over again until we decide to build a tool which specifically addresses this topic from the ground up - making sense of culture, collaboration, engagement and productivity insights within data-driven decision making.
Google Calendar Metrics - in Depth analysis of calendars
When it comes to Google Calendar metrics we need to be mindful differentiating 'vanity metrics' from 'actionable insights'.
Knowing numbers like average participants or meeting length are not necessarily the most useful metrics, unless they happen to differ from an 'industry standard benchmark drastically.
Flowtrace's Google Calendar Analytics tool focuses on metrics to support actionable insights:
- Meeting invite and acceptance rates - helps you understand 'how important' internal meetings are considered by the invitees.
- Agenda-less meetings - core KPI to improve your meeting preparedness for ad hoc and recurring meetings. DID YOU KNOW - Agenda-less internal meetings are cited as one of the main reasons for missed project deadlines.
- % Share of 1:1, external, cross-team, and team meetings - helps you identify team silos and keeps your managers accountable for improving communication efficiency.
- Delay to start of the scheduled meeting vs. actual meeting length - Great indicator to how efficient your meetings are combined with insight into your company's meeting etiquette.
- Participation survey score which is based on employee's opinion of perceived meeting quality - This metric is subjective and closes the automated calendar analytics loop with opinion based 'meeting health sanity checks'.
These are only some of the metrics we surface from our client's Google Calendars. Below you can see high level company KPIs we recommend to all our clients:
Google Calendar Analytics - Company wide metrics
Improving Meeting Culture - how to action the newly found insights
Meeting culture, especially internal collaboration meetings in company should not be considered static and given. This is especially true for fast growing companies. Usually the practices and ways of conducting meetings is inherited from the company's early employees.
The stark reality is that the early employees in a high proportion of startups have many other priorities that outweigh developing good internal meeting culture. We observe in many of our clients that a changing meeting culture is a very conscious process, and sometimes a lot of hard work if certain bad habits have taken hold.
Company wide analytics keeps you accountable, but in silo, this is not enough to identify what actually needs to be done to improve overall internal meeting health and efficiency.
We provide additional Google Calendar Analytics insights based on team and time filtering where you can compare historical trends to real-time insights, and benchmark your teams among one another.
It is often the case that some of your teams are wedded to a poorer meeting culture than others, ultimately you want your leadership actions, decisions and initiatives to address the high impact areas of the organization.
Complete Meeting Analytics - Team benchmarking and insights
We have witnessed amazing success within our client's organizations when leadership teams have led the charge into the need of meeting culture improvements.
Our clients have widely adopted management KPIs which focus on internal meeting productivity and continual improvement of the KPIs become a regular agenda in management meetings.
Introducing a change is one part of your improvement journey, but reinforcing behavioral change is what is really needed to demonstrate a measurable ROI to your business.
Without automated metrics and internal productivity meeting KPIs most change initiatives typically fall short.
Improve Your meetings with Flowtrace
If you can make continual improvements to your internal meeting culture, in turn you organically improve your team and employee productivity.
When you improve meeting productivity you can super-charge your employee experience and company collaboration.
As your company culture becomes more collaborative your employees can relish in the fact they will have more deep-work time.
When deep-work time is analysed and prioritized, more projects and goals are achieved.
When more company goals are achieved, you positively effect your bottom line.