“8% of companies are now doing some form of Organisational Network Analysis (ONA)”* – Josh Bersin, Principal and Founder, Bersin by Deloitte

In the modern digital economy, the nature of the workplace has undergone a dramatic digital transformation. Organizations are increasingly changing from rigid reporting hierarchies to more fluid networks of informal teams. Academic research in the field of Organizational Network Analytics (ONA) has demonstrated that these organic relationship networks play a critical role in how communication is flowing, information is being shared and decisions are being made. Collectively called the ‘Social Capital ’ of an organization, these invisible networks of relationships (internal and external) help HR and business leaders understand exactly how work is being done and the behaviors of their employees (individuals and teams) at work which impact productivity, efficiency and innovation.

Traditionally Organizational Network Analytics has used surveys to collect information illustrating relationships between individuals and groups in an organization. The results of the surveys, whilst still highly insightful, have limitations. They provide a singular view based on an employee’s perceptions and biases at a single point in time. Implementing surveys at an enterprise level is time-consuming and suffers from limited responses, making the results (which by the time they are collated are already out of date) less than optimal for gaining a complete view of the real working, collaborating and mentoring relationships that contribute so much to organizations functioning.

TrustSphere objectively and in real-time measures this critical Social Capital with its’ Relationship Analytics technology.


By automatically ingesting the meta-data from digital interactions across corporate communication and collaboration systems such as email, voice and IM, TrustSphere’s analytics engine uses Organizational Network Analytics to map and visualize relationships between individuals and groups and identify an organization’s social capital.  Using statistical analysis, behavioral scoring and data science, it distinguishes between mere connections and actual relationships by understanding the frequency, mode and the way in which communication takes place across employee networks including:


Mentor networks are informal relationships that employees may have with senior colleagues whom they collaborate with for advice, direction and guidance. These relationships which could be across departments, offices and other boundaries help to improve individual efficiency, productivity and growth. Career success correlates strongly to being able to develop and leverage this informal network. Sometimes, mentor networks could also be external, including with former colleagues or senior leaders. Often mentor networks nurture cross coaching from outside the organization that produces a different perspective and disruptive thinking.


Innovation networks are specific relationships for developing successful and sustainable innovation from idea generation through to implementation and adoption. Internal innovation networks bring together internal teams and individuals that have a common issue they cannot solve individually. The internal network provides strategic direction and operational support, develops partnerships and builds bridges throughout the organization as new ideas impact people and processes outside the original innovation network. The external innovation network consists of external customers, partners and other organizations who collaborate to create new ideas, products, services or business models.


Work gets actioned in networks that form within and around the organization’s formal network and hierarchy. While every employee has a formal position, they also play many roles in multiple teams and participate in a number of communities. These grow organically or are cultivated with people that an employee recognizes is essential to accomplish their tasks and assignments. Internally, this could be team members or colleagues in their critical path. Externally it could be their customers, suppliers and business partners. These networks see virtually continuous interactions, as opposed to the more infrequent interactions of the innovation and mentoring networks.


TrustSphere identifies relevant relationship networks, their size and their performance. These hidden relationship insights are surfaced and made available through TrustSphere’s visualization and data analytics interface, TrustView. These insights can be used for regular performance feedback or bespoke business outcomes such as identifying hidden influencers, selecting high potential employees or early warning of employees at risk of burnout amongst many other uses.

*Digital HR: A New Architecture for Technology by Josh Bersin -October 2017