Productivity = Effectiveness + Efficiency: Measuring Effectiveness with SWOOP

Today the technical and business press is filled with stories about the productivity gains available through a digitally disrupted workplace. ‘Bots’ have replaced ‘Apps’ as the ‘must have’ technology gadget. We like Bots because they promise to take away the drudgery of dealing with mindless bureaucratic work processes, freeing our time for tasks that can employ our full intellectual selves. But we always have to remember that productivity has two parts; Effectiveness and Efficiency, or as I like to frame them: ‘Doing the Right Thing’ and ‘Doing it Right’. And of course being extremely efficient doing the ‘wrong’ thing is just a waste! 

By doing the ‘right thing’, we are talking not only about doing tasks that are aligned with our business strategy and goals, but increasingly doing what is ethically right. There are many cases reported where ethics have been sacrificed in the name of efficiency. 

We know how to measure efficiency in time saved, or perhaps not wasted. But what about effectiveness? By definition ‘effectiveness’ is defined as: 

“Effectiveness is the capability of producing a desired result or the ability to produce desired output. When something is deemed effective, it means it has an intended or expected outcome, or produces a deep, vivid impression. 

Unpacking this definition, we can derive the following measurement themes:  

  • Capability to deliver the desired output. 
  • Alignment with clearly articulated goals and objectives. 
  • Reputation and brand leave a deep and positive impression.

Using SWOOP Analytics to Measure your Effectiveness  

Traditionally, effectiveness has been measured infrequently using survey methods for data collection. SWOOP, however, provides a unique and complementary picture of enterprise effectiveness through monitoring active online interactions. Unlike survey responses, SWOOP assesses employee capability, alignment and reputation by what employees actually do, rather than what they or their managers think they do.  


To be effective, an organisation must possess the capabilities to deliver on its stated goals and objectives. HR and L&D departments are tasked with the formal learning and capability development activities. However, informal or ‘learning on the job’ is increasingly being recognised as a key form of capability building.  The ‘expert’ communities formed on your Enterprise Social Networking (ESN) platforms are the homes for your informal capability building. These strategic capability groups should be established and facilitated by your capability leaders. Using the SWOOP ‘Group’ tab, you can now assess your level of capability building: 


 A high performance capability group will have: 

  • Active participation across a breadth of formal lines of business. 
  • A high proportion of reciprocated two-way relationships. 
  • A ‘Hot Topics’ list that challenges the status quo and is highly engaged. 
  • Deep discussion threads and a high reply response rate. 
  • ‘Influential People’ that are not limited to a ‘selected few’. 

High performing organisations are likely to have a few ‘core competency’ groups that can be benchmarked against each other, using the SWOOP Groups analysis.  


It is the responsibility of the organisational leadership to provide clear guidance on the organisation’s goals and objectives. The first requirement is that the executive leadership is unified on what it means for its respective areas of responsibility. Beyond this, for many in the organisation, these high level goals need to be contextualised into what they mean for each individual. To be effective, this requires meaningful dialogue up and down the formal hierarchy. For example, a high level goal of “being our customers’ preferred supplier” may be meaningful at an enterprise level but what does this mean, say, for the accounts payable officer? Or the corporate lawyer? 

To understand the level of executive engagement, as a verified administrator of your ESN, you are able to report on your executive leadership collaborative performances: 

The SWOOP personas (should be an Engager, Catalyst or Responder) together with the activity levels, combine to identify how the leaders are engaged across the organisation. 

To identify how well a senior leadership team is collaborating within itself, one should establish an optionally private group for just the leadership to engage in. In this way, the group can be assessed in the same way as the capability groups identified earlier. 

A measure of how a top-down executive message engages with staff can be assessed using the SWOOP Topic tab. Key executive messages, when hash tagged, are tracked by SWOOP to identify the breadth and depth of engagement:  

  • Activity over time indicates how long the message is engaging with staff 
  • Response rate indicates the depth of challenge and discussion 
  • Cross-business unit collaboration indicates the breadth of engagement 
  • Influential People indicates who is leading the discussion on the topic 

Collectively these measures can indicate the degree of staff alignment with executive directions on strategy and objectives.  


Organisational or brand reputation is typically measured by external agents i.e. how your stakeholders view you. There is, however, increasing evidence that internal behaviours that represent your employee engagement are increasingly predictive of how you are viewed externally by your customers. Employee engagement is something we have direct influence over. So how should we measure employee engagement? Typically, this is done via the annual employee engagement survey with questions like: 

  • Satisfaction:  how employees feel about their job, pay, benefits and so on. 
  • Alignment: determine whether employees’ goals and motivations are aligned with the organisation’s mission. 
  • Sense of future: Whether employees feel they have a future at your organisation, especially if you’re interested in improving retention. 

One employee engagement data point per year is now being seen as insufficient. Micro employee engagement surveys are being designed to provide more timely feedback through shorter and more targeted regular ‘employee check-ins’. 

We identify the following key SWOOP measures that might best indicate the level of employee engagement: 

  1. The level of Two-Way Reciprocated Relationships. We know that creating strong relationships is highly correlated with employee engagement. The SWOOP two-way measure can be assessed at the personal, group and enterprise levels. 
  2. The level of Diversity. Daniel Pink identified the ability to learn and develop as one of three key motivators (with autonomy and a sense of purpose). The ESN groups facility provides a unique learning opportunity. The SWOOP diversity index measures the degree to which staff are taking advantage of such learning opportunities. 
  3. A largely positive sentiment. The language we use to communicate with is a key indicator of the culture that our employees are embedded in. In the absence of strong relationships, negative or challenging sentiment can be very damaging to employee engagement. However, where strong relationships exist, challenging sentiment can be constructive in solving difficult problems and therefore generate even stronger employee engagement. 

Are you Doing the ‘Right Thing? 

We are often seduced into prioritising things that are easier to measure, and these are typically efficiency initiatives, automating tasks that we as humans find tedious to do. Effectiveness is more human-centred and therefore more complex to measure. Effectiveness speaks directly to the human traits of competencies, relationships and engagement, which we should ignore at our peril. SWOOP provides some unique capabilities for measuring your organisation’s effectiveness. After all, who wants to be the world’s most efficient producer of facsimile machines, film cameras or encyclopaedias? 

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