Flex Basics
March 19, 2024

How to Leverage AI to Drive Team Performance and Engagement in Flexible Workplaces

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Jennifer Dulski
CEO and Founder
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If you’re leading a team today, chances are you’ve already considered incorporating AI into your workplace. While many organizations have successfully leveraged AI to streamline tasks and boost productivity, this technology's rapid advancements have unveiled numerous applications beyond mere efficiency, including exciting opportunities for leadership and team development.

The traditional methods of improving engagement and performance, such as in-person workshops or e-learning systems, are no longer sufficient in today’s modern, flexible environments. Consequently, leaders are turning to AI to develop their teams in entirely new ways.

In this article, we’ll explore how leaders can harness AI to increase employee engagement and team performance while recognizing the continued importance of human capabilities.

4 AI Strategies to Increase Team Performance and Engagement

1. Communicate Your Vision, Mission, and Strategy in an Inspiring Way

The nature of remote and distributed workplaces means that leaders must virtually communicate inspiring visions and strategies to employees in different locations. In the past, it was easier for leaders to communicate a strategy to their teams during an in-person all-hands or large meeting. Leaders could stand up at the front of the room, use emotion to inspire their teams and instill conviction that the team could achieve its goals.

AI can now make it easier for leaders at all levels to communicate compelling visions and strategies in a way that motivates their teams. Let’s be clear: AI will not help you as a leader create a vision for your organization or your team. Your vision and mission come from your passion to solve a key customer need or local/global issue. Creating goals and strategies requires a deep understanding of the business and getting alignment among key stakeholders; something machines cannot do well yet.

That said, AI can help you hone and communicate your vision and strategy. Here’s how:

  1. Remove Friction of Getting Started: If you are unsure exactly how to phrase something or want help brainstorming what a strategy should include, Generative AI tools like ChatGPT and Gemini can help you create something to get started.

  2. Create Inspiring Language and Visuals: AI can easily create inspiring language and visuals. You no longer need to spend cycles wordsmithing a document or finding ways to design a framework; AI can help you bring your communication to a new level much more quickly than we can on our own.

2. Enable Employees to Focus on More Strategic Work and Team Development

There is an increasing emphasis today on efficiency and performance; leaders and teams face the challenge of accomplishing more with fewer resources. Fortunately, AI holds immense potential to handle routine tasks such as data analysis, basic coding, and copywriting.

As teams delegate manual tasks to AI, they gain the opportunity to invest more time in strategic collaboration, fostering deeper understanding and empathy among team members to enhance effectiveness. These connections become particularly crucial in flexible work environments with limited in-person interactions. With AI leveling the playing field for many tasks, team connection will become a new competitive edge for leaders. The leaders who are the most intentional about using AI for routine work, and using some of the remaining time to build strong relationships and deeper understanding within their teams will be the most successful.

3. Enhance Leadership Coaching

The shift to flexible work can make it harder for managers to get to know their teams since they don’t have as much time together in person. So when it comes to coaching, remote or hybrid managers may have fewer insights about their individual team members and end up providing more generalized guidance, or they do less coaching overall.

AI has enormous potential to help managers here. When AI is trained with data about individual team members, it can combine leadership best practices with personalized insights about an individual employee, equipping a manager with specific recommendations that are most actionable for that team member. If managers use tools to gather insights about their teams, that data can be helpful when combined with AI, whether they work together in person or not.

For example, if an AI model is trained on data about an employee’s preferred feedback method, their manager can prompt the AI to provide recommendations about providing feedback in a particular circumstance. The AI enables the manager to tailor their approach to the individual employee, improving the likelihood that the feedback will resonate and drive change. It’s a win-win for the manager and employee.

4. Develop Teams in Innovative Ways

Before flexible work, leaders brought in outside workshop facilitators for one-time offsite sessions or asked HR to help them facilitate in-person sessions to build team connections. Yet, in modern, flexible work settings, especially with teams distributed across geographic locations, those approaches don’t scale and are too expensive. Even if companies still use this approach, it is often limited to just the most senior teams and doesn’t drive long-term impact through all levels of an organization. This is where new technology comes into play.

New platforms like Rising Team enable managers to run interactive team development sessions just like a professional facilitator would, at a fraction of the cost, and either virtually or in person. This approach now scales team development and connection-building in all workplaces, making it easier for managers to understand and support their teams. Managers can address specific focus areas for their team, such as increasing psychological safety or improving resilience.

Alongside these software-guided sessions, AI can help analyze current team dynamics and provide managers with recommendations on specific actions they can take to improve their team’s engagement and performance. Imagine if you could remember everything you ever learned about your team and use that to help them grow and feel valued — AI can do that!

A Modern Approach to Team Development Using AI

The dynamic landscape of modern workplaces calls for a fresh approach to cultivating connections and nurturing team engagement. Fortunately, leaders now have the opportunity to harness the power of AI advancements to elevate their teams' performance.

By leveraging AI to amplify the communication of their vision and objectives, they can bolster team alignment with strategic initiatives. As AI takes on routine tasks, it liberates valuable time for strategic endeavors and amplifies efforts in team relationship-building. Moreover, AI empowers managers with invaluable insights, enhancing their capabilities as effective team coaches. Embracing modern technology, leaders orchestrate team development sessions with AI's aid, facilitating the retention and application of gathered insights.

AI holds immense promise for leaders and their teams. It proves equally impactful in flexible work environments as in traditional settings. Those who adeptly integrate AI into their workplaces stand to gain a significant competitive edge.

About the Author

Jennifer Dulski
CEO & Founder, Rising Team

Jennifer Dulski is the CEO and Founder of Rising Team, a SaaS platform that equips managers with the tools and training to build engaged, connected, and successful teams. She has a wide range of executive experience in leadership roles at technology companies, including Facebook, Google, Change.org, and Yahoo!.

As a thought leader, Jennifer writes about leadership and the future of work for LinkedIn Influencers and lectures on management at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Her first book, Purposeful, about how we can be movement starters, was published by Penguin Portfolio in 2018 and is a Wall Street Journal Bestseller.

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