Microsoft: ‘Using technology to track people at work is not the answer’

Nothing will ever go back to the way we did in 2019. The world has changed and leadership needs to keep up. Our newest Job Trend Index Research shows that getting the right match will not only require new leadership skills, but a whole new mindset.

This moment – ​​and the hybrid era that lies ahead – calls for leading like a scientist: be curious, gather relevant information, test and challenge our own hypotheses to arrive at answers. best words.

In Microsoft, we believe in leading by data, not dogma. That means leading with the right data – numbers measure results, not just operations. Leaders have a choice: either embrace this mindset to drive success for both employees and organizations, or face economic and cultural constraints coupled with outdated metrics and assumptions. wrong determination.

Today, many leaders are sentinels, not scientists

In our survey, 85% of leaders said that switching to hybrid work made it a challenge to trust that people were productive. They may have reason to worry: In the US, we’ve seen signs that economic productivity can recently declined. However, most employees (87%) report that they are productive at work – and Microsoft telemetry confirms that responsive overload, multitasking and long workdays are the norm. not an exception.

We call this the productivity paranoia: Leaders worry their employees aren’t doing enough, when more employees are working than ever before.

Some leaders miss the visibility the office once provided, and some companies have even turned to tracking keystrokes, mouse movements, and on-screen activity to reduce paranoia. this thought. But while you can get much data from tracking this type of employee activity, I can say with confidence that it is Mistake data.

At Microsoft, we believe that using technology to track people in the workplace is not the answer, and our technology is not designed for that purpose. Measuring productivity with mouse movements is like using a sundial as a stopwatch. And surveillance not only leads to bad data, but it also undermines trust, a key factor in organizational success that, once lost, is difficult to regain.

However, if leaders can move away from scrutiny and adopt a more scientific mindset, insights into aggregated data can be used to help people and teams work well. their best, while balancing productivity and happiness. Our research reveals three key ways leaders can act more like scientists to drive business impact: focus on results, measure what matters, and listen. easy to understand.

Focus on results, not output

Leaders urgently need to avoid worrying about whether their people are working full to help them focus on work most important. That means prioritizing value over volume and results over activity. “Busy work” is bad for bottom-line profits, and leaders are long overdue in admitting this to themselves and their employees.

Some 81% of employees say it’s important to have a manager help them prioritize their workload, but less than a third (31%) say their manager never gives clear instructions. clear on how to do that in live time. And managers need all the help they can get: 84% give us more guidance on prioritizing their own work will help their performance, and 80% say they would personally benefit from more clarity from senior leadership about impactful priorities.

Leaders need not only Set tangible goals like OKRs (Objectives and Key Results), but they must also set NO-KRs–Using tasks that employees will Not do to get the most important work done. They need to align teams around impact and reduce “busy work” that doesn’t support key goals.

Measure what matters

Looking around the office is never an accurate or effective way to gauge impact, alignment, and happiness. Nor is its digital equivalent, workplace surveillance.

Instead of measuring performance, measure results – results that are directly tied to the success of the business. You should also look for ways to collect smart insights on engagement, digital exhaustion, and happiness through the employee experience platform.

This helps you measure the team’s progress toward goals (no matter how many emails it takes to reach a goal) and can alert managers when the team’s health could be at risk, causing problems. productivity and ultimately business success at risk.

It also helps foster a healthier work culture where managers, teams and employees can do their best. For example, flag a manager when a team is experiencing meeting overload, or remind an individual that they haven’t set a focus time during the week.

Listen to understand

Data shows that only 43% of employees strongly agree that their company solicits employee feedback at least once a year – meaning that more than half of companies rarely ask employees for feedback. employees about their experience on the job.

Employees are often closest to business processes and pain points that can affect or help with productivity. If leaders don’t claim their insights, they’re missing valuable information as well as opportunities to drive employee engagement.

Our research shows that employees who feel their company uses their feedback to drive change are significantly more satisfied (90% vs 69%) and engaged (89% vs. 73%) than those who believe their company is not taking action.

In our mixed world, leaders need to be intentional about regularly asking for and really listening to employee feedback to monitor employee performance. Consider co-creating new metrics or experimental approaches with them to encourage purchase and transparency.

Look forward

In times of economic uncertainty, leaders feel more pressure than ever to deliver on success and get the best out of their employees. But if you think simply tracking and measuring your activity will help you get there, you’re simply wrong.

The leaders who help their organizations rise will be the ones who think, act, and manage like scientists — gathering data from multiple sources, experimenting to test hypotheses before acting, and Be ready for unexpected results. Those who don’t will fall behind.

Jared Spataro is Microsoft’s corporate vice president of modern work.

Opinions expressed in commentary are those of their authors only and do not reflect the views and beliefs of Luck.

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