BondWeaver: bringing network data analytics to HR
Meet-up with Gáspár Kocsis, Managing Director Luxembourg,
Written by Stephen Evans
Data analytics have transformed the performance of sports teams, but most business managers still rely on their biased gut instincts when assessing staff. BondWeaver are changing this by using the science of human networks and artificial intelligence to power a data-driven human-resources management tool.
Organisations need their teams to have a range of interpersonal skills.
For example, “opinion leaders” help set the tone for the organisation, while “information brokers” ensure people are kept up-to-date, with “healers” being good listeners who can help to detoxify potential conflicts.
Yet how can managers identify these somewhat intangible talents, encourage them, and ensure that the most valuable team members do not leave for the competition? It can be too easy to think that confident, charming people are the most important when it is often the quiet achievers which need the most encouragement.
Cutting edge science
Network science is the academic discipline which seeks to understand social networks and human interactions. BondWeaver's artificial intelligence and machine learning tools are based on insights from network science plus business research, sociology, biology, anthropology and psychology. Benchmark analysis from more than 100 companies are also incorporated.
Indeed two of the firm’s founding shareholders have deep experience in this field. Prof Mr Balázs Vedres of Oxford University is an internationally renowned network scientist, while Mr György Sági is BondWeaver’s product architect, relying on his background in mathematics and more than 30 years in management consulting. They are both part of the team which develops the algorithms behind the AI and machine learning in BondWeaver’s tools.
“Analysing data generated by normal office activity can give us great insights into how teams, organisatons function,”
explained Gáspár Kocsis, Managing Director in Luxembourg.
For example, analysing email communication networks can provide strong clues, such as which people are sent emails, who is copied in or who is in blind copy. It is also telling how quickly we respond to messages received from different people. If we have a difficult relationship with a colleague we will be slower to respond than if we are on friendly terms. Gáspár underlines that the AI tool does not “read” the text of the communications, but establishes patterns of information flows. Such data and the correlations between them helps the BondWeaver AI generate pertinent questions which add further dimensions to this analysis.
Spotting trends, asking the right questions
However, must clients do not use the communication analytics options, and rely on survey data. A basic 21 question survey is asked every six to twelve months, with two-question updates issued more regularly to collect interactional data. Answers add further richness to the data picture, with the AI and machine learning drawing possible conclusions The 21 question survey is quite simple to answer, such as: “who would you sit next to at the company annual dinner?” or “from whom did you receive feedback over the last seven days?”.
“This on-going, iterative process replaces the static 360° assessment exercise, and gives a data-driven picture which can inform and enrich personal understanding of each individual's role and performance,”
said Gáspár. This cloud-based tool generates a report for each employee, for line managers and executives. As well as a company overview, there are comparisons to benchmarks and suggestions for potential improvements.
BondWeaver has also developed a special analytics tool to help HR Managers and executives with the strategic imperative of avoiding employee attrition. Called Employee Retention Analytics, Gáspár says this tool has helped clients cut employee turnover by 30% annually.
Building a hub in Luxembourg
Founded in Hungary in 2016, the firm met with considerable commercial success across central Europe. However the shareholders decided BondWeaver needed greater focus on the western European market, and so chose Luxembourg as the business hub and group headquarters. The firm arrived in the Grand Duchy in June 2018, moving to the Lux Future Lab in May 2019.
Gáspár is delighted with the welcome he has received from the Lux Future Lab.
“What exemplifies the experience for me is how the people here are clearly passionate about having us on board,”
“As relatively recent arrivals to Luxembourg we are particularly grateful for their introductions to their network of contacts and for the professional support they provide”
he said. BondWeaver hope to be in the Lux Future Lab for as long as they can, but they are optimistic that growth will be sufficient to require them to leave for bigger premises by the end of next year.