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Agile IQ®

Connectedness

Influencing Behaviour. Secondary Factor.

Overview

Connected team members demonstrate trustworthiness by caring about each other’s wellbeing. They have a meaningful sense of team community that supports honesty, respect, and psychological safety

Case Study: Microsoft

A 2021 survey of 150,000+ Microsoft employees picked up a significant decline in team sentiment about connections since the mass pandemic work from home experiment began. Microsoft saw employee reporting about feeling connected decline, though not in a straight line, from 91% in April 2020 — its baseline for this data point as it did not track it pre-Covid. Connectedness fell to 75% by November 2020; went back up to 79% in December 2020, and then began to plateau in February of this year.

 

“The shift to remote work was slowly eroding team connection,” Klinghoffer notes in a report out Tuesday. “At the beginning of COVID, people were really focused on staying connected in new ways,” she says. “But as time went on, those team connections grew harder to maintain.”

Dawn Klinghoffer, Microsoft

What hasn’t worked?

So what hasn’t got the job done? According to Kathleen Hogan, Chief People officer at Microsoft, one ineffective method was the attempt to lead with the recreation of team experiences in a virtual environment— from lunches to offsites, desk-side chats and happy hours.

 

“Our data tell us that our employees need us to focus on the basics first, like work life balance and prioritisation. Only then can a spectrum of formal and informal touch points like team moral events help strengthen team bonds.”

Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft

The importance of managers

Microsoft’s data suggests that manager support matters even more in a digital world. One focal point for manager support, Microsoft noted, was to retake the highs in team morale: new employees.

The data showed that, compared to COVID pre-pandemic Microsoft, new employees said reliance on managers for support during the onboarding process increased almost 20%, while reliance on peers for initial support declined 15%.

This focus paid off quickly in new employee sentiment, with Microsoft new hires who said managers played an active role 3.5 times more likely to say they were satisfied with their onboarding experience, and 1.2 times more likely to feel like they were making important contributions to the team.

References

CNBC (2021) The message Microsoft is sending to managers after a decline in team connectedness. 30 March. Online at: https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/30/microsoft-message-to-managers-after-decline-in-team-connections.html

agile iq academy logo 2022-05-05 sm

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