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Microsoft Unveils the New Performance Equation in the Age of AI

May 12, 2023 Joe Mechlinski


In the past 4 weeks, I have been to...

➡️ Vancouver at the TED Global Conference launching Latch with the Tony Hsieh Award Community.

➡️ Colorado Springs facilitating High Performance sessions for 25 entrepreneurs at Baby Bathwater Institute.

➡️ Nashville keynoting a conference for Copper Beech for their top clients talking about building high-performing organizations.

➡️ And, this week, back in DC with HR Alliance for a session with more than 100+ top executives and people leaders... talking about radical resilience!

So what's the bottom line?

This is a heavy and hard moment for most leaders.

After speaking with more than 700+ business leaders, more than half feel their organization is unprepared to deal with future shocks.

In nearly every conversation, dealing with the pace and pain of change with strengthening resilience is on everyone’s mind.

Makes sense.

We as humans tend to resist change… and adversity.

We forget how pain is a prerequisite to growth and truly a signal to survive.

And an added layer in the rise of AI is a global shift to flexible work environments that are transforming the way we work. Leaders are faced with the challenge of increasing productivity while fostering employee engagement.

Often, organizations get caught up in the race to adopt cutting-edge technologies and overlook the human element that drives success.

However, new research from Microsoft – "The New Performance Equation in the Age of AI" – points to employee engagement as a critical factor for organizational success, especially in uncertain economic times. This research, based on surveys of more than 3 million employees across various industries, highlights the power of combining employee engagement with data-driven insights to create an environment that fosters high performance.

Quite frankly, this is the very best marketing to support why we built Latch.

The Data

The Microsoft study found a strong correlation between high employee engagement and stronger financial performance. Companies with highly engaged workforces outperformed the S&P 500, had better financial outcomes, and were more successful in navigating economic uncertainty.


The research revealed three key takeaways:

  1. Employee engagement matters to the bottom line, particularly amid economic uncertainty.

  2. Clear communication and goal setting are critical for unlocking employee engagement.

  3. Building a feedback flywheel is essential for sustaining engagement over time.

The Analogy

When I was in Nashville (while Taylor Swift was there), it was quite the spectacle.

Think Super Bowl meets Vegas meets the Beatles kind of moment.

But I digress…

What I did see in Nashville was a ton of bikes, and this got me thinking about the relationship between employee engagement and high performance.


The front and back wheels represent employee engagement and high performance, respectively. A bicycle can only run smoothly when both wheels are in sync. Likewise, an organization can only thrive when these two elements are aligned and working together in harmony.

Engagement fuels performance, while high performance propels engagement. This symbiotic relationship creates a self-reinforcing cycle that can drive your organization forward and leave competitors in the dust.


The Story

One of our recent clients is a CEO of a soon-to-be unicorn tech company. Let's call him Alex and we’ll refer to his company as Quantum Leap.

Faced with economic uncertainty and the transition to flexible work, Alex noticed that while productivity remained stable, engagement among his team was waning.

He tried a lot.

Engagement Surveys.

Town Hall Meetings.

Mental Health Days.

Fun Experiences.

And even Leadership Training from an outside facilitator.

All moved the needle for a moment… but not for long.

Enter in SHIFT + Latch.

In a few weeks on Latch, Alex established clear communication channels and set transparent goals for his team. He encouraged open dialogue and embraced modern tools to meet employees where they were in their work flow.

Next, he focused on building a "feedback flywheel," fostering a culture of continuous feedback and recognition. He collected and analyzed employee feedback, leveraging AI and data-driven insights to identify areas for improvement.

As a result of these efforts, employee engagement and morale skyrocketed, leading to improved financial performance and a stronger, more resilient organization.

Who doesn’t want more resilience?

The Road Ahead: Engaging and Empowering in the Age of AI


As we navigate the age of AI and the challenges it presents, it's crucial for leaders to prioritize employee engagement and harness its power to drive high performance.

Here are some practical steps to help you create a thriving organization in this new era:

  1. Communicate clearly and transparently: Set clear goals and expectations, and use modern communication tools to reach employees where they are in their work flow.

  2. Foster a culture of continuous feedback and recognition: Develop a "feedback flywheel" that keeps employees informed and feeling valued, and use AI and analytics to make data-driven decisions for improvement.

  3. Leverage technology to understand and empower employees: Use AI and data-driven insights to gauge engagement levels, monitor performance, and identify areas for improvement. Remember, what gets measured gets managed.

By implementing these strategies, you can foster a culture of engagement and high performance that is prepared to thrive in the age of AI.

The good news? Latch does the trick.

In the rapidly evolving landscape of the 21st century, the most successful organizations will be those that effectively balance technological innovation with human engagement.

As the Microsoft report demonstrates, companies that prioritize employee engagement, communicate effectively, and use data to drive continuous improvement will see significant benefits to their bottom line.

In this age of AI, it's not a race between engagement and high performance.

It's a tandem ride.

In this journey, balance is not something you find. It's something you create.

As we navigate the path to high performance, let's remember it's paved with highly engaged employees.

Let's get those wheels turning in harmony and enjoy the smooth, fast ride to success!


TOPICS: Employee Engagement, Workplace Innovation, Leadership Development, leadership, Remote Work, Company Culture