A new research uncovers the secret of effective employee communication and collaboration.
Shure commissioned the leading international market research firm, IDC, for a global study on the challenges organizations face in the new era of hybrid work. By analyzing responses from over 600 interviewees in the U.S., China, Japan, the UK, France, and Germany, the research evaluated what stands in the way of successful hybrid work environments.
Truly effective hybrid work environments are scarce. The research discovered how organizations can better position themselves to handle modern work environments and optimize daily communication, corporate culture, employee and customer experiences, and team satisfaction.
Worldwide, organizations understand that hybrid work is here to stay, but they realize that many current setups are not effective. 94% of respondents expect hybrid meetings to remain a cornerstone of work; however, over 50% are being pressured to return to the office full-time to enhance corporate identity and collaboration.
Organizations want to improve collaboration and believe the solution is a full return to the office; IDC's research suggests otherwise, indicating that returning to in-person work is not the only answer. The data shows that companies are overlooking key opportunities to enhance the employee experience, regardless of location, and that an investment in high-quality audio results in more collaborative and flexible ways of working.
Hybrid meeting environments have become the new normal in recent years, and it's clear they're here to stay, but organizations still aren't equipped with the necessary tools for effective communication, even though many have tried. As a result, employees become disheartened and demotivated, creating a cycle of frustration. It's crucial that from the top of the organization down, employees use the right technology that allows them to communicate in the right way," said Robin Hamerlinck, CIO of Shure.
Hamerlinck continues: “Finding the right audio equipment is the first step, and a step that puts all employees on the same level, so that equity in meetings is achieved. As a leader in audio conferencing and communication, we commissioned IDC to address these audio challenges and demonstrate that both employers and employees can thrive in hybrid environments.”
The hybrid model is here to stay, so why are we still struggling? We've ignored the "invisible influencer."
Many hybrid meetings present challenges. At the executive level, this reality can trigger demands for a full return to the office to enable effective collaboration. This is where the major mismatch lies. According to IDC's InfoBrief, a full return to the office or a completely remote workforce fails to capture the value that can be gained with hybrid work, which can enable effective communication with colleagues worldwide. But hybrid technology must work consistently.
When a hybrid system fails repeatedly, employees become frustrated. When asked about the top challenges of hybrid work, respondents highlighted:
- Lack of communication and collaboration skills
- Distracted employees and low attention levels
- Technological deficiencies impacting collaboration
While audio quality is not the sole concern that arises when specifying solutions for a hybrid environment, it has an impact on both individual and group productivity. Poor audio quality makes listeners perceive the speaker as less trustworthy, less intelligent, and less likable. Scientific research underscores that high audio quality leads to greater reliability and suggests that the person with the best audio quality is likely to be considered the best meeting collaborator if others have not optimized their equipment.
Furthermore, companies with a higher level of hybrid maturity are more likely to have invested in higher-quality audio equipment, resulting in an improved hybrid work experience:
- Of financially thriving organizations, 72% use professional audio equipment.
- Among those with stable financial performance, 63% use professional audio equipment.
As organizations continue to seek a competitive edge, having the right equipment and technological solutions will remain increasingly important.
Identifying, Embracing, and Breaking the Cycle of Frustration
When employees can't communicate and collaborate effectively, frustration arises. This can lead to poor performance within an organization, with employees unable to do their best work.
The cycle of frustration can arise when organizations demand a full return to the office under the assumption that this will result in a quick fix, improve corporate culture, and overcome communication challenges. However, on any given day, some employees are still working remotely. This necessitates the implementation of standard audio conferencing technology, often hastily and with minimal research. The result is a "good enough" team that does not address the root of the problem: employees are unable to communicate effectively.
The right technology serves to optimize the work experience, and organizations that can identify and break the cycle of frustration can improve morale and overall satisfaction. Quality audio gains influence over the organization's reputation. Organizations that invest in audio can see a significant impact from the first meeting to the last:
- Team motivation: 94% of respondents believe that technology investments can help recreate the natural flow of in-person meetings, contributing to team motivation.
- Productivity: 90% of respondents state that it enables and promotes equitable meetings to facilitate more productive and meaningful work.
- Employee retention: 90% of staff view it as an investment in their future with the company.
- Organization's image: 90% of respondents assert that it influences how staff and customers perceive the organization.
- Employee well-being and happiness: 73% of respondents claim it makes them feel valued, appreciated, and more capable.
- Greater agility and decision-making: 49% of respondents say it enhances decision-making.
The Price Was Right, Now It's Wrong: Audio Equipment Choice Must Focus on Quality
Once organizations identify and accept the cycle of frustration, purchasing decisions and technology implementation become crucial. When hybrid and remote work environments took hold globally, organizations made quick purchases that did not involve key stakeholders in the decision-making process.
The result of poor and uninformed decision-making is inadequate audio solutions that do not work to the benefit of employees. These solutions must now be replaced by technology that enables productive work environments.
- When asked about the most important factor when making audio equipment decisions, 61% of respondents