ONA is a structured charting method used to analyze how employees collaborate and contribute to their company. Individual influence levels are often hard to pinpoint within the traditional hierarchical business structure. Thus, ONA technology aims to identify and leverage the different types of influential employees and discover problem areas, so leaders can enhance the way people work together and share information. 

Why should HR leaders care about ONA?

ONA helps HR leaders analyze employee networking– the work relationships that organically form between personnel. ONA adds another dimension to traditional workforce analysis methods, giving HR professionals a deeper look into the impact of collaboration on performance. HR uses ONA to evaluate employee connectivity, identify untapped talent, and enhance workforce planning and workflow. In turn, ONA can assist in:

  • Reducing attrition and increasing retention
  • Leveraging talent
  • Improving creativity and productivity
  • Identifying silos
  • Boosting business profit

What can HR leaders do to implement ONA?

Here are some basic steps HR leaders can take to integrate an effective ONA system:

  • Develop a strategy.  People analytics expert David Green outlines two approaches to ONA: 
    1. Active ONA involves surveys and other types of self-reporting methods.
    2. Passive ONA uses technology that tracks employees through wearables, digital badges, email, instant messaging, and collaboration platforms. Green points out that combining both active and passive ONA methods can provide a more holistic perspective on what drives employee collaboration. 
  • Fuse ONA with the workforce management system. Combining ONA with a company’s workforce management system enables managers and HR leaders to design a work community socially and professionally conducive to productivity. For example, ONA can assist HR in building teams of employees who work synergistically, with greater efficiency and innovation. 
  • Collaborate with IT. Integrating ONA with already existing IT structures helps ensure the smooth functioning of the entire workforce planning system. 
  • Prioritize privacy. With an influx technological innovations that can monitor body language, speech, written communication, and even breathing patterns, privacy is a big concern. HR leaders must consider the governing laws that protect employees’ private information. The EU’s GDPR (General Data Privacy Regulation) or the U.S. Chamber of Commerce data privacy laws offer valuable information regarding employee privacy policies. 
  • Take the best of both organizational systems. Using both the traditional hierarchical system of a company and ONA’s technological people analytics methodology, companies can gain deeper insights into optimizing their workforce. While the familiar, established hierarchical system does reveal employees’ basic professional skills, ONA highlights their hidden talent, using behavioral data and metadata to create a more productive, creative workplace. 

How can ONA improve company culture?

ONA helps businesses maintain a balanced workflow– assisting companies in incorporating peripheral employees, connecting separately functioning teams, reapportioning workloads, and leveraging influential employees. Ultimately, effective ONA can promote a more cohesive, innovative work culture by supporting more impactful workplace relationships.