How AI Can Fuel High-Performing Teams


Being a leader means learning about your team’s strengths and areas for improvement. Leadership means finding ways to strengthen employees’ strong suits and improve what’s holding them back. But to help their teams move forward and achieve better results, managers must often tap into sources of motivation.

Observing and measuring what drives different employees and the team can be tricky to say the least. Executives, middle managers, and front-line supervisors need ways to determine which skills their staff members should work on. Leaders are also better equipped to help their employees improve business outcomes when they know what qualities drive high performance. Artificial intelligence is a tool that can provide managers with those insights. Here’s how:

Creates Profiles of High-Performing Employees

In most roles, some employees stand out for their performance. It’s exceptional, or it consists of repeated mistakes and lackluster results. Most managers can usually name their top and low performers off the top of their heads. However, it’s sometimes difficult for leaders to articulate why those employees fall at either end of the spectrum.

Leaders can struggle to determine what work habits, skills, and abilities contribute to poor or excellent performance. At the same time, many managers have benchmarks or goalposts that they want employees to achieve. Artificial intelligence can build algorithms based on these benchmarks to develop profiles of high-performing employees. The algorithm creates performance analytics for various roles by analyzing the traits of high and low performers.

As a result, leaders have a tangible profile that identifies what characteristics and skills produce desired outcomes in specific roles. It might be active listening skills and empathy that win sales. For software developers, the most critical skills might be organization and the ability to minimize coding errors. Armed with profiles of high-performing employees, managers can improve their hiring decisions and focus their development efforts with existing staff.

Identifies Problems With Employee Engagement

The signs of a disgruntled employee or demotivated team are easier to spot than the root causes. As a manager, you might notice an increase in absenteeism or general unhappiness. Work performance may begin to decline and vocal and eager contributors might grow quiet and less enthusiastic.

Research has already established a link between employee engagement levels and performance or business outcomes. But what McKinsey & Company has recently unveiled is a list of work environment elements that directly impact employee engagement. These elements fall into one of three categories: social, work, and organization experience. Employees with positive experiences have engagement levels that are 16 times higher than team members with negative experiences.

Artificial intelligence can leverage data from the work environment to identify and predict problems with employee participation. For example, a team member may be inching closer to burnout because of a demanding workload. Meanwhile, someone else is thinking of quitting since they’re underwhelmed by their responsibilities and assignments. With the help of artificial intelligence, leaders can take action to improve employees’ experiences and involvement levels.

Supports Talent Development

In an ideal world, managers would have enough time to facilitate and support the learning experiences of each team member. But the reality is that leaders juggle daily schedules that are demanding and subject to change. All it takes is one interruption or urgent request to throw a manager’s plans out the window.

Plus, each employee’s career and development goals can be unique. Sometimes a direct supervisor or manager isn’t the best mentor to have a hand in developing those aspirations. Their background or area of expertise might not be an exact fit. In these scenarios, leaders often try to find someone else in the company who can fill those shoes. However, artificial intelligence can also step in.

Learning experiences powered by artificial intelligence can personalize and support talent development. Although technology can’t completely replace human mentorship, it does help fill in gaps. Employees can keep learning new skills or enhancing existing ones when leaders aren’t available. Artificial intelligence also equips mentors with data about what areas team members may be struggling with. Mentors can provide the right guidance when it’s most needed.

Automates Repetitive Tasks

Teams won’t perform as well if they’re bored by their work or spend most of their time on repetitive tasks. These types of tasks can stifle creativity and lower productivity. Getting buried in routine work can also compromise the customer experience. Surveys show that 70% of U.S. office workers believe they can’t efficiently serve customers because of time-consuming tasks.

On average, these employees spend nearly five hours a week on tasks they’d like to see automated. And 67% of workers feel they’re performing the same tasks repeatedly, causing them to feel stuck and unfulfilled. Some of those routine responsibilities include sending emails, scheduling meetings, and entering or manipulating data.

Thankfully, artificial intelligence can automate many repetitive duties and free up employees’ time for more meaningful work. Instead of scrubbing databases, team members will have time to develop data management strategies. Because they’ll be using and developing more advanced skill sets, employees won’t feel as though they’re underutilized or undervalued. Their motivation for and commitment to delivering higher performance will increase.

AI’s Role in Employee Performance

Characteristics, abilities, and work environments influence a team member’s performance. At the same time, employees that are part of a group feed off each other. When a few people struggle or underperform, business results can suffer. And other team members might start to develop signs of burnout and resentment for having to pick up the slack.

With the help of artificial intelligence, leaders can elevate individual and team accomplishments. Actions like matching and developing abilities for specific roles and automating repetitive tasks can improve team cohesiveness and outcomes. Artificial intelligence is the tool with the power to determine what managers should fine-tune to fuel high performance.