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Snapshot: The TEDxYYC OrigamAi experiment

In June 2021, attendees of TEDxYYC had the opportunity to check in on their personal and professional wellness through a survey and dashboard created by OrigamAi, a human-centered workplace data analytics firm based right here in Calgary.

The software is designed to let individuals check in on their wellbeing, and to equip the organizations they belong to with information and tools to support their staff both personally and professionally. Focusing on organizational issues relating to performance, culture, and mental wellness, OrigamAi is designed to help leaders make meaningful changes to better the lives of their employees resulting in improved efficiency, reduced turnover, and a stronger bottom line.

For the TEDxYYC participant experience, individuals were asked to respond to the questionnaire as if they were being asked about their existing employment, volunteer, or school situations. This approach allowed TEDxYYC to capture an anonymous “organizational snapshot” of how the audience was feeling about their personal and professional wellness.

Here’s how they did:

Organizational Trends

Reading the data in Organizational Model Hierarchies

Individual survey responses were collected and anonymized, and used to populate a dashboard that shows anonymous results. This data was used to assess the following categories:

  • Professional Skills
  • Leadership
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Team Identity
  • Team Communication
  • Team Group Traits
  • Team Individual Traits.

Each of these high level categories has unique supporting categories that build on one another, and contribute to the overall score.

Professional Skills is the framework of behaviours and aptitudes that are necessary for successfully working with others in a professional environment.

On the whole, TEDxYYC respondents self-reported as “slightly above average”.

Within Professional Skills, the subsections of Core Skills, Interpersonal Skills, and Goals/Values Alignment were each rated as “slightly above average”

Professional skills summary for TEDxYYC

This is good news! Employees that believe they are capable of succeeding in their roles will be less likely to experience stress, overwhelm or burnout, and are therefore less likely to look for work elsewhere.

On the whole, responses from the TEDxYYC attendees indicated that they feel they possess the basic professional and interpersonal skills to succeed in their workplaces, and they feel aligned with the goals and values of their organizations.

Leadership is associated with developing professional leadership skills. TEDxYYC respondents rated themselves at “slightly above average”, and you can see this in the supporting categories as well.

Interestingly, Teambuilding was reported as only “average”, which makes sense considering how Fostering Group Cohesion, Shared Purpose and the ability to easily engage with others has been affected by COVID-19 and how it changed the way we interact professionally in 2020 and 2021.

Leadership summary for TEDxYYC

Emotional Intelligence, and its supporting traits including Self Awareness, Decision Making & Mental Agility, Stress Management, Relationship Management, Social Awareness, and Self Management & Expression all ranked as “slightly above average”.

Considering the effect that the pandemic has had on our personal and professional lives, behaviours like Mental Agility and Stress Management have been put to the test.

On the surface this looks like an obvious result because one would expect the typical TEDxYYC audience to either possess or be in pursuit of emotional intelligence. Digging a little bit deeper let's appreciate how resilient our respondents are. Considering the effect that the pandemic has had on our personal and professional lives, behaviours like Mental Agility and Stress Management have been put to the test.

Emotional intelligence summary for TEDxYYC

Team Identity is the framework that captures the degree of unity that a group of people holds in a shared affinity. Essentially Team Identity asks: “Do you feel like you’re part of the team”?.

While the high level result is “Slightly above average”, a look into the supporting traits reveals only average levels of mutual trust, participation and commitment, and willingness to put the needs of the team above personal needs.

Team identity summary for TEDxYYC

In this snapshot we can see how team cohesion and commitment - that feeling of belonging - could be at risk. If all respondents were part of the same company, that organization may be risking presenteeism, or high turnover. In this context of TEDxYYC respondents who have been working or studying from home, or not working at all, it is unsurprising that these aspects have lower reported rankings.

Team Communication which assesses how effectively teams communicate and why, rated overall at “Slightly above average”, however drilling down a bit shows there are cracks in the foundation.

The base trait of “Open and Fluid communication” was rated at “Slightly below average”, and “alignment” and “Ability to effectively address conflict” were rated at “Average”.

Team communication summary for TEDxYYC

Given the state of the world at the time of this snapshot - Calgary was experiencing it’s 3rd set of pandemic-related restrictions after over a year of working from home, or uncertainty of future employment, it’s no surprise that communications within teams is not highly rated. Working from home or facing job insecurity is an isolating experience, and with the inability to move forward with certainty, communication is hard.

Of note is the aspect of Pareto, which ranked as solidly above average. Pareto is where we study the overall balance of agreement amongst the team members while also evaluating the likelihood of original ideas, their reception and consideration from the larger group. This high rating tells us that while foundational communication factors are suffering, ideas are still flowing, and team members are willing to engage and participate in those discussions.

Team Group Traits captures the underlying behavioural norms of groups that are working under a common objective. You’ll notice a lot of grey or n/a showing up beside the contributing factors like commitment and risk appetite. These greyed out sections show where there wasn’t enough data collected to create an accurate grade.

Team group traits summary for TEDxYYC

However, the trait of a “Balanced group with non-homogeneous traits'' scoring as Above Average tells us that TEDxYYC attendees feel their teams are made up of a diverse collection of professional skills and personalities. Teams with a variety of skill sets and attitudes can create better work, think outside the box, and are happier in their roles.

Team Individual Traits are the individual traits and behaviours that contribute to team development and performance. While the overall rating was “slightly above average”, a dive into the supporting traits shows us again that while leadership and self awareness are highly rated, participation and promotion of teamwork is rated as only ‘average’.

Team individual traits summary for TEDxYYC

Individual responses

If you filled out the questionnaire during the week of TEDxYYC, you’ll have a dashboard where you can go and review your individual results. (you can log in at https://app.origam.ai/ )

The first two things you’ll see are a Stress Threshold Matrix, and a Mental Health Balance Scale.

Stress Threshold Matrix is a quick look at your personal stress levels (in red) compared to the average of the other respondents.

Stress threshold matrix for TEDxYYC

The Mental Health Balance Scale shows you how you rate in 5 areas of wellness and 4 areas of risk.

Stress threshold matrix for TEDxYYC

How did you compare? Tweet us @Origam_Ai.

What the trends mean for individuals and organizations.

The trends we saw throughout these responses showed that individual traits like leadership, self awareness, and emotional intelligence were high, but factors relating to teamwork and communication tended to rate lower.

Communication is important for individuals and organizations because it helps avoid confusion, resolve conflict, build healthy workplace culture, and create relationships that allow individuals to find their identity within the team and the larger organization. Simply put, communication makes teamwork easier and more effective.

When communication and teamwork break down, individuals may feel disillusioned, devalued, and are more likely to ‘check out’ at work because they either lack accountability, or believe that what they do doesn’t matter. Organizations may see higher rates of presenteeism (those who show up, but don’t contribute), resignations, and decreased productivity, or even sales losses. This snapshot of TEDxYYC happened at a unique time in our collective history, and it will be interesting to see how the rankings change over time. How do you think these results will change in 1, 3, or 5 years? Tag @TEDxYYC and @Origam_Ai on twitter and let us know.


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