Team chat and video meeting apps bring lots of value to companies beyond the expected “facilitate collaboration.” They improve productivity, boost engagement, and, increasingly, those applications helping companies implement change based on an understanding of employee behavior.
In Metrigy’s “Employee Experience & Workplace Engagement: 2022-23” global research study, 41.7% of the 250 participating companies named understanding employee behavior as a value gained from their collaboration apps. The percentage is even higher, at 55.2%, among the study’s success group, as determined by those companies achieving above-average revenue growth, cost reductions, employee satisfaction improvements, and greater retention based on their use of employee experience technology.
Using Collaboration Behavior Insights to Drive Change
With these data points in mind, I asked collaboration app and management company experts that participated in an Enterprise Connect 2023 panel on collaboration and employee experience to share examples of how their customers have affected positive change or supported strategic decisions based on collaboration behavior insights. From collaboration apps, companies can gather data on areas that include:
- who is collaborating with whom, and how often
- how much time employees spend contributing to rather than just listening in on meetings
- frequency of meeting features and functions such as chat, camera usage, mute on/off, and virtual backgrounds
- average meeting duration
- number of scheduled versus ad-hoc meetings, and so on
When provided to employees on an individualized basis, insights such as these can help guide self-improvement. When provided in aggregate to IT, HR, and team leaders, they can help guide decision making on technology, processes, policies, and more.
Here are some examples of how their customers are using collaboration behavior data.
Optimizing meeting culture
At one financial services firm, the goal was to use collaboration behavior data to understand their meeting culture. In the process, this company discovered they had really low engagement scores in meetings with between three and five employees—the size of meeting in which you’d expect collaboration to be high. Instead, the data showed that a high percentage of participants during this meeting size never unmuted themselves.
With this data, the firm is exploring how they might optimize the meeting culture. Toward this end, they’ve begun exploring a series of questions such as:
- Should they empower people to drop out of a meeting if it turns out not to relevant to them?
- Would providing people the ability to get meeting notes or a transcription prove more efficient, and less time-consuming, than forcing them to sit through a meeting?
Employee well-being improvement
A common use case for using collaboration behavior insights is to understand the effect of the always-on nature of video meetings on employee well-being. After analyzing collaboration behavior, one large company set a goal of reducing meeting time by 100,000 hours per year, which would give employees back about two hours weekly. To do so, it implemented a policy of no meetings on Wednesdays. In a quarterly employee survey following the policy change, 60% of employees reported they felt better and 70% felt they were more productive.
Process change proof points
A large PC maker used behavioral data to analyze whether the use of “case swarming,” a method for resolving customer service issues via collaboration rather than escalation, would help contact center agents handle issues more expeditiously.
In a pilot with 300 agents, the company found 90% adoption of swarming among the agents resulted in more than a 35% reduction in time spent on resolving tickets. Understanding the positive impact of this sort of collaborative behavior led the company to expanding swarming to all 1,000+ agents.
Technology purchasing decisions
Oftentimes, personal preference leads to corporate head-butting over technology decisions, like Microsoft Teams versus Zoom for video meetings. When the CFO and line-of-business leaders at a large technology company couldn’t agree on which collaboration app to adopt, IT was able to share behavioral data from organic adoption of the apps in question. This insight led to a good discussion based on the quality of employee experiences, which shifted the decision from opinion-based to data-based.
Similarly, a manufacturing company pulled collaboration behavior insights from Microsoft Teams and Zoom to understand how to refresh and expand video endpoints on a department-by-department basis. The data showed where Teams would be a better fit, and where Zoom would be.
As these few quick examples show, there are many ways to use collaboration behavior data. If your company hasn’t yet tapped into this data, it should be. Think about the challenges your company faces, the issues it is addressing, or the decisions coming up. How might insight from collaboration behavior help?