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Ben Waber Richard Gleed ThinkFM
Ben Waber, CEO, Humanyze, speaking at ThinkFM 2017 (Credit: Richard Gleed)

9 June 2017 | Martin Read


Greater use of behavioural analytics represents an opportunity for facilities managers to help improve productivity, according to Ben Waber of behavioural change organisation Humanyze.


In his address as keynote speaker during BIFM’s annual ThinkFM conference, held at the Science Museum in London, Waber suggested that if organisations collated and analysed data to measure how people collaborate with each other and use their time, “we can transform our understanding of business”.


The reason that organisational change is typically difficult to achieve, said Waber, is because as human beings we tend to focus on issues of organisational hierarchy and established processes rather than on the individuals and their personal interactions that affect core performance metrics.


“Who is the social centre of your company? That’s an important factor to understand.”


Waber’s consultancy uses behavioural data to change how companies are managed. “Everything you do in a work day generates data,” said Waber. “How much you speak, how much you listen, how much you walk, drink, etc.”


Ever cheaper microphone, infrared sensors, accelerometers and wireless communication methodologies such as Bluetooth means managers can now not only measure the performance of equipment but of individual workers too, a ‘dynamic conversation assessment’ that can include how long each speaker talks and who’s talking to whom, even assessing levels of engagement from an assessment of a worker’s active posture.


“Through analysing a user’s tone of voice I can even figure out how stressed you are,” said Waber.


By way of example, Waber cited the case of a call centre where analysis of individuals shows that how individuals related and interacted with their co-workers was a stronger determinant of success than how they communicated with their prospects at the other end of the phone line.

Changes to when breaks took place boosted collaboration and overall productivity, also reducing stress along the way. Staff churn in this example organisation has been cut from 40 to 12 per cent a year.


ThinkFM took place on election day, its theme ‘FM in a connected world’. More stories from the day will be posted over the coming days and will appear in the July edition of FM World.