We are in the middle of a massive shift as organizations, teams and individuals deal with the new reality of on-again-off-again lockdowns. Constantly adapting to new ways of working (whether remote work or new SOPs for field, office teams) is the new normal. Having the ability to shift quickly, and reorient ourselves is what is key to managing with our new reality.

Which led us to the question – what makes teams resilient – and how do we prove it empirically?

Thankfully, over the past 5 years, our in-house Behavior Labs team has been poring over tons of behavior data on over 6000 teams to arrive at some insights – linked to empirical proof. Interestingly, this happens to be something the US Marines are known for (Resilience) and have proof of in the form of an ethnographic study.

The nub of the study – Resilient teams demonstrate a capacity to cope with rapid and multiple changes in their environment and develop new behaviors to adapt to those changes.

The study found that in the case of the Marines, the resilience was in their practices (behaviors) and not their biology.

We demystify what this means for teams in organizations and showcase how some Resilient teams bounced back to the same / higher levels of productivity within weeks of shifting to a WFH scenario.

Here are the 3 things that stand out:

Resilience Lockdown Empty Office

Image credit: Pixabay

Leaders respond promptly and creatively

In the initial phase of the lockdown, everyone focussed on solving for infra and technology for their teams (Do the teams have laptops, Wi-fi/broadband, a desk?)

Forward-looking leaders went a step further and came up with a plan of clear expectations from their teams. This involved pivoting their teams around new objectives.

Examples

  • A Financial services customer changed their team activities from training to connecting with customers over the phone. So once the lockdown ended, they were sitting on a ton of verified customers ready to disburse a loan.
  • A BPO team changed the way their team was incentivized within a week. This helped the team to be aware of their new targets and what was expected of them.

The So what – Teams where leaders reoriented their targets within the first 2 weeks became productive 50% faster than others where the leadership took longer.

Managers reinforce the right behaviors

Faced with a new working environment full of distractions, resilient teams had managers actively stepping in to coach their teams, helping them build a new working rhythm. Without the luxury of meeting face-to-face, managers who built a more frequent check-in process with their teams saw the team engagement levels remain constant.

Examples –

  • 90% of supervisors at a leading BPO ensured daily team huddles and ensured a conversation a day with each rep. Conversations focussed on the activities being done well and not on the outcomes. This helped the team increase their quality metrics during the lockdown and improved productivity by 20% post lockdown.
  • For a sales team – 80% of the Area Managers reviewed each team member’s progress on activities (like customer connects) instead of loans sold at least once a day. They celebrated activities done well by individual reps and built social proof for others to follow.

In both cases the daily conversations helped accurately gauge team morale, and individual challenges. The simple activity of connecting regularly and in a particular rhythm helped keep the team members primed and in a daily rhythm of WFH.

We saw supervisors and front-line teams dedicate 7-10 minutes every day to manage their own and their teams performance.

Frontline teams are engaged and self-sufficient

Frontline teams with clear expectations, regular reinforcement and check-ins tend to demonstrate self-sufficiency. Wherever teams were engaged with their performance (metrics, targets and expectations) and were in regular and consistent touch with their supervisors, their outputs were ~15% higher than teams where these aspects were missing.

These teams took ownership and pride in their own work, which was evident in how consistently they engaged with their work and engaged on a daily basis.

Over the past 3 months, across thousands of teams, these basic behavior markers were what made a team resilient (and productive) or not.

Using worxogo’s remote working behavior module & nudge engine, our customers have successfully built resilient teams who have remained productive in the lockdown period. Call us to find out how you can too.

Behavior Labs

Author Behavior Labs

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