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Microsoft's Data-Driven Employee Engagement Study Found Long Meetings a Major Issue

By:
Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jun 25, 2019
Meeting-GettyImages-953981260

Microsoft, concerned about losing top talent, conducted a data-driven study on its most unhappy employees, relying not on what they reported but on what they did, and found that work-life balance and bad managers weren't as big a problem as long, overcrowded meetings in terms of worker engagement, according to Inc.

The study used metadata from employees' emails and calendars to find the source of their distress. Using this data, they were able to rule out long hours and numerous requests, as the happier employees they were compared were going through the same thing. The difference between the two had to do with meetings. Not meetings in and of themselves, as both the happy and unhappy group spent about the same amount of time in meetings, but their size. The unhappy group had more meetings that involved 10 or 20 people. Microsoft found that these meetings were too big to allow employees to focus or engage in productive work, which in turn led to their working late, as night and weekends were the only time they had left to do the necessary work.

When the company implemented changes in response to these findings, it found that work-life balance improved and employee retention rates remained stable.