How can Artificial Intelligence & Digital Solutions improve team effectiveness?

Posted by HR Tech Partnership on March 12th, 2021

A blog by Gabriel Barnes

As 2020 draws to a close and we reflect on a year characterised by a crisis which has prompted huge changes in all areas of life, it is surreal to consider how unrecognisably different the world of work was only a few months ago. So far in this series, we have seen how the shift to remote working has affected business at all levels, and this is true not least for team organisation.

  • With the extinction of certain integral components of teamwork, such as those all-important informal conversations around the coffee machine, it has become more of a challenge to work effectively as part of a team.

  • The workplace is no longer a physical space anchoring and uniting a group of employees and its leader, meaning that creating a culture of brainstorming and relationship-building is now a significant challenge.

  • For team leaders, it has become considerably more difficult to gain insights into the dynamics within a team, pick up on individual strengths and weaknesses, and respond to fluctuations in mood and mindset. Their ability to give feedback empathetically and constructively has been greatly affected.

In this way, such drastic changes to how we work have severely hampered team effectiveness which relies so heavily on a strong culture of collaboration, trust, and purpose. Artificial Intelligence and digital solutions, with their ability to provide greater insights and foster employee engagement, have a role to play in restoring this.

How is Artificial Intelligence already being used to support team effectiveness?

Even before the coronavirus crisis, some organisations were already beginning to see and capitalise on the benefits of using Artificial Intelligence to improve team effectiveness.

  • Certain tools based in Artificial Intelligence were being used to deconstruct and redesign work in a highly agile way, improving its suitability according to how the work will be performed and to the needs of individuals in a team. These have significant applications in times of change and transformation, so will only become more relevant.

  • Other digital tools were being used to match talent with work more appropriately and efficiently, ensuring that the work is as productive as possible and that the talent reaches their full potential.

  • Certain simpler digital tools, such as Microsoft Teams, have increased in prominence to such an extent that they now define how work is conducted.

For a team to be most effective, its leader must understand the relationships between its members and their dynamics. Advanced digital solutions have been employed to solve complex problems in this area which could have traditionally only been done by people working face-to-face with teams.

  • If a team and its constituent members are resilient, then they are effective. Artificial Intelligence-based programmes have been used to boost resilience in individuals, acting as a cost-effective personal coach, reducing stress levels, and nurturing positive qualities.

  • Digital tools have the capacity to glean insights from even the simplest of interactions, such as a conversation over Zoom, and these have been used to provide high-quality feedback to team leaders about the dynamics between their subordinates.

The future of AI in team effectiveness

So far, the response to the crisis by organisations has been with the sole intention of surviving the pandemic, and how Artificial Intelligence has been used to ensure team effectiveness reflects this. Now however, the priority for organisations is moving towards one of ‘thriving’ – focusing on what steps can be taken to make team working even more effective than before. This will inevitably mean an even greater presence of Artificial Intelligence.

As time goes on, for example, organisations will increasingly be looking for ways to bridge the gap between work that takes place in person and that which takes place digitally – ensuring that people have as much flexibility in their work as possible. Equally, as life as an office worker becomes a distant memory for many, the ability to cultivate relationships between new employees (or employees whose relationships formed in person have been eroded by the time spent working from home) will become hugely important.

Certain technologies will become particularly prominent as preserving team effectiveness becomes more complex.

  • Organisations will soon be looking for high-quality tools which can gain insights in a non-intrusive way into employee wellbeing, the issues they are experiencing, and their overall level of engagement. The applications for Organisation Network Analysis will therefore increase hugely, as will the demand for more sophisticated tools – those capable of emotion sensing, for example.

  • The use of virtual rooms and gamification is expected to increase as HR leaders look to build meaningful relationships between employees to ensure team effectiveness. This will be particularly relevant as workforces become more geographically dispersed. Other tools based in Artificial Intelligence will be able to support teams in the process of innovation and idea generation.

  • Artificial Intelligence will soon be used more widely to support teams looking to ensure that coaching and mentoring are carried out in a personalised and cost-effective manner. These tools are capable of tailoring programmes to individual needs, improving the employee experience.

Introducing AI in a practical way

Digital tools based in Artificial Intelligence have the potential to transform team effectiveness, as they are heavily focused on providing the best possible employee experience, boosting productivity. Therefore, the potential for a high Return on Investment makes implementing these digital solutions a worthwhile approach to improving team effectiveness.

A useful low-risk way to test the applications of digital solutions is to pilot them in the first instance, conducting a trial in a small team or around a specific issue, before scaling up if successful.

The HR Tech Partnership (HRTP) runs a Human Capital Digital Innovation Hub which can facilitate this low-budget innovation in HR so that leaders do not have to make large commitments in the first instance.


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HR Tech Partnership
Joined: May 14th, 2019
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