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How the Change Manager at Siemens is Leveraging Time is Ltd. to Improve Employee Collaboration

Team Collaboration
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April 21, 2022
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6
min read
Great service starts with an engaged workforce

We sat down with Martin Latal, Change Manager at Siemens to learn how they’re leveraging Time is Ltd. to unlock important insights that drive employee engagement and experience. 

Martin needed to gain a comprehensive understanding of how team members within the financial services department were collaborating, as they were undergoing a critical digital transformation. Only then could he accurately assess his teams’ dynamics - in a remote workplace. 

Read on to learn how Time is Ltd. data revealed negative trends within their email communication to the meeting culture that overloaded their employees - and how they utilized those insights to improve employee engagement and more. 

As a Change Manager at Siemens, it's my job to help usher our organization into the future. One key element of that is improving the employee experience through cultural change and relationship management.

To get started, I was tasked with strengthening the culture within the Financial Services IT division at Siemens as we underwent a digital transformation at the height of the pandemic. To improve anything in the workplace, you have to gauge the current situation. The first step required us to determine the negative culprits - such as email overload, unnecessary meetings, or other collaboration issues that hinder productivity. 

Frequently, surveys are used to get a read on employee sentiment. However, crafting an unbiased questionnaire is time-consuming, and the answers are based on an individual’s opinions versus aggregate behavior. We wanted to go beyond traditional methods and operate from a place of objectivity. Finding the right analytics partner was crucial to accurately measure how our teams were collaborating. 

We realized that once we had a transparent overview we could 1) create objectives to improve the current situation 2) come up with an action plan to achieve them, and 3) measure our progress over time. Teaming up with Time is Ltd. was a game changer! 

They gave us the ability to visualize our performance across important metrics that helped us understand our workplace from a macro perspective. We learned where time was being wasted, how we were collaborating, and where the inefficiencies were hiding. From that analysis, we were able to construct a data-informed plan to mitigate various issues across the organization. 

Switching to a hybrid remote working model…and the collaboration reality 

Siemens is a large multinational corporation with hundreds of employees in a single department. Like most organizations, when shifting to a hybrid remote working model, we faced immense challenges by replacing in-person meetings with email. We quickly realized that asynchronous communication, having several ‘cooks in the kitchen, and relying on various technologies to get work done created a sea of direct messages to massive email chains involving unnecessary participants. 

Imagine this coupled with onboarding new hires who are navigating the hierarchy and culture from afar…confined to a digital workspace, where they are not sure who to add to an email, so they end up cc’ing everyone. Talk about massive email overload and feeling micromanaged! 

We had a hunch that this communication overload could lead to burnout as a result of employees trying to keep up - while having little time to get focused work done. Like any scientific experiment, this was our hypothesis, but we needed to see what the data say. 

First, I went to my colleagues to get their take on the situation to get a well-rounded idea of what was happening. 

I asked my teams about time management…we shared the same sentiment 

Every day, it feels as if there aren’t enough hours in the day to get work done. My team and I felt we spent too much time in meetings. After raising this topic with leadership, I quickly learned several other colleagues within the company felt the same way. As we substituted in-person interactions with meetings, we experienced that there was little time to get work done during the day, which is a huge problem. The result? The lack of time to get actual work done means we are often multitasking or working after normal business hours. The data was not only right, but in surveying my colleagues, they too felt this negative impact this was having on a daily basis. 

What’s more, when there’s less time in the day to get work done, there is a higher possibility that errors will occur and team members will become burnt out. So, the next step was engaging a technology provider that could help us analyze what was going on - but offer an extra layer of security that anonymized data so not one person felt targeted. 

How privacy played an important role - and Time is Ltd. helped us achieve this

A big topic we had to address was privacy. Siemens is a privacy-minded organization. Time is Ltd. anonymized all our data and aggregated all insights on a team level. Aggregating the data at a team level was important because driving change is a team effort. The goal is to empower team members to be respectful of each other’s time, not to ‘single people out’. When we treat each other with respect, we will work better together. When we work better together, we will do better for our customers.  

The need for technology to address meeting overload and its negative outcomes 

As a change manager, I need data to drive evidence-based decision-making. If we are going to make changes to our meeting culture, we need to measure the current state of our meetings. That is why I engaged Time is Ltd. I was looking for a technology partner that could visualize this type of data. I wanted to understand: 

  • How many meetings do we have? 
  • How many people attend them? 
  • How much of our day is spent in meetings, calls, and emails?  

We already had employee engagement and satisfaction surveys, but I also wanted to find objective data on how my team collaborates daily.  

Time is Ltd. Analytics gave us a clearer picture of our team dynamics 

Time is Ltd. empowered us to get an accurate read on the way our teams collaborated. Their visualizations made it easy to digest and identify where the issues were. We learned how our teams collaborated overall by analyzing the frequency of email communication and our meeting culture. We knew that this was negatively impacting employee well-being. 

We measured our workplace communication: 

Emails

  • how many emails were being sent 
  • the number of participants included 
  • the frequency of email communication 
  • when they were being sent e.g. outside of working hours and during meetings 

Meetings

  • how many meetings took place
  • meeting frequencies and gaps
  • volumes of emails and email behavior
  • number of participants
  • overlapping meetings 
  • and multitasking during a meeting (such as sending emails). 

The data revealed that excessive communication led to ineffective collaboration due to the barrage of emails and meetings. 

The outcomes we gained from engaging TiL 

First and foremost, we do not rely on opinions anymore. We have data. When we saw aggregated results from Time is Ltd., it inspired us to ask important questions about the health of team collaboration today. We believe in a culture that enables Siemens’ team members to work together as a collective, rather than pit themselves against  “what everyone else is doing.”  We are utilizing our data to develop action plans that make sense for us. Next, we are developing internal benchmarks with that data so we can measure our progress.

This is what transformation is all about, isn’t it? We use the data around us to understand how we can improve and drive value for our company and customers. Our ability to constantly deliver value to our customers depends on us having engaged team members. In order for us to have engaged team members, we need to be proactive in understanding how our team members work to free up bottlenecks and reduce collaboration inefficiencies.

Next steps

Time is Ltd. has enabled us to concretely identify our current collaboration challenges. Now, we know where and how to focus our effort; and the next step is to understand what actions actually drive that change.

The Takeaway 

As hybrid remote working environments become commonplace, HR to middle-managers are faced with the challenge of managing teams from afar. So how do you gain optics when work is spread across timezones in a digital workplace? 

As Martin pointed out, the answer lies in robust data from measuring employee engagement and experience. Business leaders of the future will increasingly incorporate collaborative analytics into their tech stacks to optimize workflows and squash the time sucks that bog down processes, create toxic environments, and kill productivity.

Get in touch with us today to learn how Time is Ltd. can help your organization identify where time is wasted, how your teams collaborate, and what you can do to mitigate inefficiencies across your business.

Article by
Evan James
Marketing professional with 15 years experience, now SVP of Marketing at Time is Ltd., the world’s leading employee experience & engagement SaaS company. Prior to Time is Ltd., Evan has held marketing leadership roles in Skillz (SKLZ), and Emplifi (acquired for $200M). Evan has a wide range of experience ranging from energy, gaming, and social media to helping early-stage startups scale their marketing to become industry titans.
Article by
Evan James
Marketing professional with 15 years experience, now SVP of Marketing at Time is Ltd., the world’s leading employee experience & engagement SaaS company. Prior to Time is Ltd., Evan has held marketing leadership roles in Skillz (SKLZ), and Emplifi (acquired for $200M). Evan has a wide range of experience ranging from energy, gaming, and social media to helping early-stage startups scale their marketing to become industry titans.

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