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Boolean baseball logic and workforce analytics

March 2, 2011

Our guest blogger today is Joe Dobrinski, MMIS, MBA. Joe is a consultant on our Workforce Analytics team and today will share a key analytics concept he learned in the grade school…

Ms. Vegso was my 5th grade teacher at Fallowfield Elementary School. She was an exceptional teacher whose lessons ranged from proper grammar to “having manners.” Little did I realize at the time one grammar lesson she taught also applied to the logic of mathematics and information technology.

In one of my written assignments, I had used “and/or” to explain that after school I was going to go to the store to buy baseball cards or go to the park to play baseball. Since I was considering both I wrote “and/or.” The next day Ms. Vegso, using my paper, explained to the class that “or” by itself, is appropriate in my sentence and that it means either selection or both. I thought of this concept and Ms. Vegso this week when I was explaining the use of Threshold Groups and Thresholds in Variance Improvement Planning (VIP) to a Kronos customer using Workforce Analytics for Healthcare. Workforce Analytics gives organizations the ability to manage productivity and control labor costs by analyzing data from their Workforce Central system, plus other related systems like billing and payroll.

What Is Variance Improvement Planning (VIP)?
VIP is a productivity tool in Kronos workforce analytics applications. VIP helps close the loop of productivity reporting by allowing senior management the ability to set predefined productivity thresholds as triggers for action. An example of a threshold is “productivity index percentage” (target productive hours / actual worked hours). Thresholds are given upper or lower thresholds, which trigger a management action when exceeded for the predefined time period. Thresholds for the productivity index percentage might be 110% (upper) and 95% (lower).

Threshold Groups with One or More Than One Threshold
Where “and” and “or” relate to thresholds and threshold groups is in the decision to have:

  1. a single threshold group with multiple thresholds or
  2. multiple threshold groups with one threshold

I will use a simple example and table to illustrate the difference:


If you create one threshold group (TG1) and you add two thresholds (T1, T2) to that group, only departments that fall outside of both thresholds will require management attention. If, however; two threshold groups are created (TG1, TG2) each with a single threshold, management attention will be triggered for any department that falls outside of either threshold.

I tell my customers to think of a single threshold group with multiple thresholds as “AND” and multiple threshold groups with a single threshold as “OR.”

Final Thoughts
Variance Improvement Planning is a great tool that helps management proactively identify items like:

  • overtime saving opportunities
  • productivity below (or above) expectations
  • paying higher than expected pay rates

By identifying these opportunities for productivity improvement early, departments have time to make necessary adjustments to meet their performance targets.

In this sense, Ms. Vegso was our VIP. She identified our areas of learning opportunities and did a wonderful job helping us make needed modifications. Thank you Ms. Vegso.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Marc Sasser permalink
    March 3, 2011 2:20 am

    Thanks Joe. This even helped me. I can use your example to explain this to clients.

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