Shana Lebowitz Gaynor

HR Insider: Expert tips on building your career

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By Shana Lebowitz Gaynor

In November 2019, Microsoft released a free guide to effective collaboration at work.

The company had spent the last five months partnering with the top design consultancy IDEO, researching the traits and behaviors that make some teams — of engineers, astronauts, or really anyone — more productive than others. And the execs approached their task with some level of urgency. Across industries, teamwork is becoming more and more important, and few organizations know how to do it right.

Now Microsoft is paying close attention to how managers use the guide. It plans to use those observations to add to Microsoft Teams, its popular workplace collaboration app. Mark Swift, partner director of design at Microsoft Teams, told me the company wants to build digital tools that facilitate a sense of “collective identity” above all.

Microsoft is hardly the only company to recognize that a business’ success hinges on how well its employees work together. Kyle Ewing, Google’s head of talent, said she places a lot of value on humility in a job candidate — and avoids hiring people who appear to take credit for their team’s work.

That’s because Ewing knows that collaboration is a key part of Google’s workflow. Employees may come in with big ideas, she said, but their fellow Googlers have “the resources to actually help you bring those things to life.”




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