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The hidden power of teams

Employee engagement is a driving force behind the success of any digital transformation. Not only the technology, but also the people in the organisation make the difference in customer focus, efficiency, optimisation, innovation and speed of work.

People like to work with other people and most of them try their best to work together. And if they do that as a team, employee involvement doubles.

Teamwork and trust are decisive

This doubling is shown by a survey by ADP Research Institute of 27,193 employees in 27 countries. ADP has been researching employee engagement for over 10 years, so they're pretty good at spotting the trends.

91 percent of respondents work in teams and they are significantly more engaged and more resilient than respondents who do not work in teams.

Globally, 91 percent of workers report being members of a team, a meaningful jump from just four years ago. And those team members are 2.9 times more likely to be Fully Engaged and nearly three times more likely to demonstrate Workplace Resilience than employees who don't work on teams.”

Engagement is a positive state of mind characterised by “strength, commitment and absorption”. Resilience in the workplace is an individual's ability to withstand, recover from, and work through challenging circumstances or events in the workplace.

Measuring engagement captures how individuals are proactive in delivering their best work. The degree of resilience is reactive and captures how people react when challenges arise.

8 questions to measure engagement and resilience

I find the research method used to be at least as interesting and relevant to this research. People are notoriously unreliable in judging the organisation they work in and in judging their colleagues. Think of studies on driving skills and happiness. The outcome is invariably “I am a good driver / happy but the others are bad drivers / not happy.” So that's not much use to you.

That is why the researchers of the ADP study chose eight statements that measure the emotion and attitude that lead to employee engagement and productive behaviour. People could indicate their own position on this on a 5-point scale (from 'strongly agree' to 'strongly disagree').

1. I am really excited about my organisation's mission.

2. I know well what is expected of me at work.

3. In my team I am surrounded by people who share my values.

4. Every day I have the chance to show my strength at work.

5. My teammates support me through thick and thin (‘Have my back’).

6. I know that I will be recognised when I do excellent work.

7. I have full confidence in the future of my organisation.

8. In my work I am constantly challenged to grow.

The definition of 'employee engagement' is not unequivocal and also differs per region. But the above eight statements that people have to score about themselves seem to me to be quite reliable and valid.

For those who want to know more about the challenges of measuring engagement, there is the article Where Measuring Goes Wrong by Peter Cappelli and Liat Eldor.

Get started with 'engagement' yourself

Are you a team leader or do you work in a team? Then share the eight statements above, let everyone in the team fill them in and discuss the results in all openness. Are there big differences? Are there clear areas for improvement?

My advice is to get started with this before you roll in any technology ('AI', 'chatbot', methodology ('Agile') or whatever. First work on trust, team dynamics and clarity about the expectations.

Webinar - Culture in digital transformation

March 10, Sofie Meyer and Erik Hartman host a webinar on the essential role of culture in digital transformation, with an emphasis on leadership, team safety, well-being, digital literacy and change literacy.

There is plenty of room for interaction and questions. If you sign up for newsletter, participation is free. You are very welcome!

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