Using ONA to Prevent Attrition

Using ONA to Prevent Attrition

Organizational network analysis (ONA) is the methodology of analyzing the socio-technical networks that exist within an organization. ONA leverages the data your organization produces (think communications, surveys, project management tools, emails, calls, meetings, etc.) to help identify and bring understanding to how work gets done within a company. 

ONA technology allows you to visualize and explore the formal and informal relationships that are created in your company by analyzing the flow of communications, decisions, and information. The analysis maps the interchanges of these crossroads, which occurs at the people level and has several applications. 

Below, we’ll briefly touch on a number of those use cases, but the one we’d like to highlight today is using ONA to proactively get ahead of regrettable attrition.  

Common ONA Use Cases: 

Onboarding Efficacy 

ONA has become a powerful tool in its ability to measure the overall efficacy of an onboarding process. When a company has a new hire join the organization, the person would be denoted as a node on the graph. If you were to look at the visual representation, you’d notice the lack of relationships and the distance at which that node exists outside of your “core” networks. An effective onboarding process helps employees build the personal and professional relationships that empower them to get their job done effectively. The speed at which you can build those relationships (thus moving the node to a more centralized location within the graph) is indicative to the results of a given team member’s onboarding.  

Information/Knowledge Mapping 

One of the most traditional use cases of ONA is to simply understand the flow of information and knowledge. Or in other words, who talks to and works with who. This contextualization of ONA data serves as a guide to identify operation inefficiencies. Let’s assume that you have a playbook and a process checklist that serves as an SLA between your Sales and Support teams. You may assume that the handoffs are seamless between the two teams thanks to your formal processes. What an ONA graph can show is that in reality, the reason your handoffs are going well actually has nothing to do with your process (actually, you’ve now realized your team doesn’t even use the suggested playbook) but due to the strength of relationship that exists between your Sales and Support leaders (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing). 


ONA also offers insight into how your colleagues and their respective teams collaborate. ONA can map which documents are critical to your organization, and which tools, and form(s) of communication serve as the best conduit. Furthermore, you could analyze the patterns of collaboration across areas of expertise, function, and even location. By understanding how teams collaborate, you can focus on reducing the overload that typically exists on central people—focusing instead on breaking down silos and integrating expertise that exists on the edge of the respective networks. 


Similar, but on the opposite side of the spectrum from onboarding, is regrettable attrition. ONA can play a critical role in identifying potential flight risks within your organization. Attrition is costly, and in most cases, it could be avoided. The problem? Most organizations are blindsided when a person in a critical role chooses to depart an organization. Using ONA over time can highlight central members of a given network and the “distancing” of themselves that typically leads up to the moment of departure. By identifying these people proactively, it gives managers a unique opportunity to dive in, realign passions with projects, and ensure the professional and personal goals of a given employee have an opportunity to be met.  

Why Use ONA to Prevent Regrettable Attrition?: 

In short, attrition is very, very costly for organizations. For detailed information, check out “The True Cost of Employee Attrition.” In short, you can factor about 1.5 to 2 times the given (departing) employees' salary as the baseline cost to backfill. That’s insane! 

What is crazier though, is that attrition can largely be prevented. In most cases, there is a disconnect that exists between a manager and their team member. Long before the employee chooses to leave, there are warning signs that give managers an opportunity to reset expectations, get clear on goals and communication, and realign the interest of their team member with what they are working on. 

How to Get Started with ONA: 

Back in November we released our Automated Organizational Network Analysis for all our users. For more information on the release, head on over to “Introducing Automated ONA by Peoplelogic.” This was big news and we’ve gotten great feedback from our users.  

Peoplelogic is a people intelligence platform that passively analyzes the data your teams are already producing in the tools they love and use every day. By automating ONA, insights, and recommendations—Peoplelogic is reimagining how effective leaders build stronger, happier, and higher performing teams. 

We’re still allowing all our users to leverage the automated ONA—and you too can better understand how information is shared, how people collaborate, and how work gets done within your organization and across your teams. Get started today!  


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