The importance of sensing the mood of your employees hasn't fundamentally changed with digitalisation. It's still about seeing the individual, building a relationship and creating a workable work culture with sustainable leadership. This can range from how employees communicate and collaborate with each other to how you as a manager interact with your employees. New technologies using Artificial Intelligence (AI) will not replace the face-to-face conversation. However, AI will be able to help you as a manager to spot anomalies in behaviour and help you adapt the conversation to the moment and the need.
Technology simplifies the conversation
The conversation, the communication, is the recurrent tool for you as a manager to meet your employees. Relationships in the workplace are becoming increasingly important as more and more companies move towards function-based project teams, tailored to the unique circumstances of each project.
A major benefit of digital tools is that they have made us all more flexible. Working from home today is nothing strange or technologically complicated. But flexible working has spread the workforce both geographically and in terms of time. The slightly larger company may even have offices in several locations around the country or even in other countries that require travel to visit. In the past, the solution was often tele- and video-conferencing in dedicated rooms that had to be booked and where the equipment was a little too often malfunctioning. Today, setting up a video meeting is easy. It can be scheduled the same day or even be as spontaneous as a phone call. All the camera and microphone technology is in place and works directly in the computer.
Office collaboration tool takes the pulse of employees
The annual employee survey with 100 static questions can now be replaced by short, quick and targeted surveys in collaboration platforms like Teams. As a manager, you can check the mood of the team before and during a project and then follow up after the project is completed. Simple tools, such as Forms in Teams, not only collect data but also present it in an overview that can be used as a basis for discussion in the team.
This is where AI can help you get the big picture. With Office 365, you get access to several simple reporting tools where you as an administrator can see the usage of the different apps. The Delve search function uses AI to find trending documents so you can see if any project is drawing extra resources.
One way to share information in a more personal way than email is to take advantage of Stream, a corporate YouTube that is also part of Office 365. News of a new deal can be presented in a simpler video, a simple mobile phone movie with no effects or party hats, but much more engaging than an email.
Personal tools for finding balance
Much of working life is about finding balance. It's often about work-life balance, but it's also about how much you as a manager should scrutinise and supervise your employees. No one wants to work in an office where "Big Brother" is constantly watching their every move, but high performers can find it difficult to draw their own line on when they are working too hard. Microsoft has launched MyAnalytics, a feature that allows employees to monitor themselves without their boss seeing.
MyAnalytics is an app in Office 365 that measures and summarises the user's working day in a clear way. A dashboard shows how many hours were spent in meetings, on emails and a range of other activities. MyAnalytics uses AI to help streamline meetings and email management. Think of the app as a smart fitness bracelet for the workplace.
An employee who finds balance in his or her working life feels better, is more efficient and, not least, contributes to a more positive atmosphere in the workplace. At the same time, it reduces the risk of your employees working too hard, burning out, resigning or losing the will to work.
Think smart about technology
As a manager, you can be hard to reach, with lots of meetings and even more questions on email and phone, leaving you no time for the all-important employee dialogue. Let technology take the pressure off you and your employees, making room for spontaneous conversations and informal meetings. It's probably the best way for technology to help you build a relationship with your employees and sense the moods in the office.
We at AddPro have made the journey to the digital office. We use the tools we recommend ourselves and help clients build the tools they need to be even more efficient. Read our guide New Technology with Modern and Sustainable Leadership or contact us at email@example.com and we'll tell you more about how to be a more effective manager and have happier employees.