For years, organizations have contended with competition, complexity, chaos, and continual change. This year, however, the coronavirus pandemic presented those organizations with a set of challenges exponentially more complex than those they faced in the past.
As the speed of change and level of instability continues to accelerate, leaders and their organizations are increasingly eschewing hierarchical, command-and-control leadership, and instead relying on cross-functional collaboration and teams.
Organizations rely more on teams now than they did 5 years ago
1. People now spend about 50% more time engaged in collaborative work than they did 5 years ago. Source
2. Collaborative work takes up 80% of the average employee’s day. Source
3. 93% percent of companies plan to reshape their organizational structure, with most intending to flatten their organizational chart, decentralize decision making, and extend authority and control to semi-autonomous teams. Source
4. 31% of leaders report that most or all work within their organizations is done by cross-functional teams. Source
5. People are on twice as many workplace teams as they were five years ago. Source
High-performing teams can provide organizations an undeniable advantage
Research shows that teams almost always make better decisions than individuals, and can achieve huge improvements in areas including customer experience, employee satisfaction, and operational performance. What makes a high-performing team? Our work at AIIR strongly indicates that high-level teams with greater levels of trust and cohesion are more engaged, innovative, and more able to overcome challenges as they arise.
6. Connected teams demonstrate a 21% increase in profitability over their less-connected counterparts. Source
7. Teams that rank in the top 20% for connectedness see 41% less absenteeism, 59% less employee turnover, and a 66% increase in employee wellness. Source
8. 37% of employees said “working with a great team” was their primary reason for staying at an organization even if they weren’t happy with their job. Source
Yet, most teams never reach this level of performance
9. 75% of cross-functional teams are dysfunctional, failing to meet at least three of the following five criteria: meeting a planned budget, staying on schedule, adhering to specifications, meeting customer expectations, and maintaining alignment with the company’s corporate goals. Source
Alignment, collaboration, communication, and trust are major obstacles to team performance
10. 39% of surveyed employees believe that people in their own organization don’t collaborate enough. Source
11. 86% of employees and executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures. Source
12. 97% of employees and executives believe lack of alignment within a team impacts the outcome of a task or project. Source
13. 45% percent of people said lack of trust in leadership was the biggest issue impacting their work performance. Source
As the pandemic continues to force many teams to work remotely, many companies have spent considerable time and effort to combat these issues
14. Before the coronavirus outbreak, 70% of employees work remotely at least once a week, and 53% work remotely for more than half of the week. Source
15. 88% of organizations worldwide made it mandatory or encouraged their employees to work from home after COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. Source
16. Many companies are making the shift to remote work permanent, with 68% of large-company CEOs reporting plans to downsize their office space. Source
17. 72% of companies are adopting social tools to improve communication and increase collaboration. Source
18. 40% of organizations have set up additional virtual check-ins for employees with managers. Source
19. 32% of organizations have introduced new tools for virtual meetings. Source
But studies show that instead, they may be exacerbating them
Rather than making us less lonely, technology can actually make us feel more isolated.
20. Before the pandemic, workers spend almost 50% of each day communicating digitally rather than in-person. Source
21. More than 50% felt lonely as a result of communicating primarily via computer. Source
22. Two-thirds of adults say they are experiencing social isolation. Source
That’s bad news. Loneliness reduces our ability to perform tasks, limits creativity, and reduces reasoning and decision making. Social isolation also reduces empathy, compassion, and perspective-taking, creating obvious obstacles to building the trust and cohesion essential to effective teams.
How can today’s teams achieve high performance?
Helping your team adapt to and overcome the challenges of a global pandemic requires attention to two dimensions of team performance: culture, which describes how teammates support, trust, and communicate with each other, and productivity, which describes decision-making processes, role clarity, and alignment with team purpose.
The AIIR Team Effectiveness Survey is an incredibly powerful tool that measures Team Culture and Team Productivity and provides team leaders and talent professionals concrete information in a simple, actionable framework that they can use to improve their teams’ performance and to track that improvement over time.