Author: Dorian Stone
In recent years, hybrid and remote work has led to the dispersal of teams. This new work landscape holds great opportunity but also presents new challenges—specifically, a rise in disconnection among employees. We’re starting to see the effect of a fragmented workplace in deteriorating interpersonal connections and cross-functional alignment.
In Grammarly’s workplace technology and experience survey with IDC, a leading marketing intelligence firm, we found that three-quarters of organizations already offer very or extremely flexible work environments for their employees. As business leaders continue to embrace flexible work, they will need to address fragmentation head-on.
I predict that leaders will invest in AI communication assistance solutions with more intensity in the year ahead to help dispersed teams connect and collaborate in more productive and meaningful ways.
Improving employee connections will be increasingly crucial for success in the hybrid workplace
Our research with The Harris Poll shows that employees now predominantly rely on written communication channels to convey and receive information. The survey results also show that more than half of knowledge workers reported miscommunication at least weekly. When written communication goes wrong, misunderstandings pile up, leading to frustrating rework and missed deadlines. Over time, this friction undermines relationships and disconnects employees, which leads to lowered productivity and even employee turnover.
Studies indicate that investing in employee connectivity pays off. According to research from Harvard Business Review, when employees feel a sense of belonging at work, they show a 56% increase in job performance, a 50% drop in turnover risk, and a 75% reduction in sick days. The potential value of belonging is too high to ignore. The same study also found that these benefits could add up to $5,200 per person per year for a 10,000-person company.
More and more of the top consulting firms are recognizing the profound issue at stake. According to McKinsey, 51% of employees who left their jobs in late 2021 did not feel a sense of belonging at work. Another report, from Deloitte, found that over half of employees (57%) and nearly 7 out of 10 executives are “seriously considering quitting for a job that better supports their well-being.” When employees at all seniority levels are looking for greener pastures, the business’s overall stability is in danger. By 2025, this labor volatility will cause 40% of organizations to report a material business loss.
In the aforementioned IDC survey, the report author, Marci Maddox, emphasized that communication is the foundation for a “culture of trust,” which is the basis for a positive, productive, and resilient work environment. When employees convey information in a way that’s on-brand, reliable, and persuasive, then teams can collaborate more successfully. Over time, effective collaboration leads to greater employee confidence and loyalty.
To tackle rising attrition and falling productivity head-on, leaders must address the underlying challenge of connecting and supporting a dispersed workforce by prioritizing effective communication across the organization. Fostering a sense of connection and belonging is no longer a nice-to-have—it’s now essential for sustainable business performance.
Communication assistance AI will play a critical role in connecting the dispersed workforce
AI-powered technology solutions will play a pivotal role in cultivating employees’ sense of belonging. Our research with IDC shows that 74% of companies are prioritizing investments in modern productivity tools, including AI, that will help employees improve their communication.
In a remote workplace, connections are forged and relationships are maintained largely through written and asynchronous communication. When employees communicate cross-functionally or with individuals of different linguistic backgrounds and cultures, language must be even more precise and carefully crafted to avoid confusion and misalignment.
This is where AI tools provide practical support for employees. For example, Grammarly Business delivers real-time communication assistance to help employees improve the clarity and tone of their writing while also offering in-line suggestions to help the writer stay on-brand.
These features enable users to communicate with higher accuracy and empathy to foster better cross-functional alignment, leading to stronger relationships, more successful collaboration, and more productive work. By catching and correcting moments of potential miscommunication before they occur, employees can avoid costly rework and connect more meaningfully with their colleagues.
In 2023, leaders must ask themselves how they will support and empower dispersed teams to drive productivity and employee retention. Those who address the root cause of employee disconnection will propel their organizations forward.