Make your Microsoft Teams meetings more effective and inclusive

Make your Microsoft Groups conferences more practical and inclusive

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In 2021, practically three-quarters of workers skilled a 70% enhance in conferences after organizations shifted to distant work because of the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.¹ When 43% of distant employees state they don’t really feel included in meetings², the pure query is, how can we make conferences more practical and inclusive?

We have been curious too, so we determined to survey numerous Microsoft clients who needed to enhance assembly experiences of their organizations. Because it occurs, this was the primary large-scale research that we’re conscious of performed by a know-how firm to find out what makes conferences efficient and inclusive.

We used statistical, mathematical, and machine studying methods to investigate assembly dynamics by means of survey information and nameless telemetry. This enabled us to construct a mannequin to grasp and predict which conferences could be efficient, and why. Standards resembling utilizing an agenda, energetic participation, having video turned on, retaining assembly sizes small, and sharing pre-meeting materials all ranked excessive for driving inclusiveness and effectiveness. Moreover, information evaluation confirmed robust connections between assembly participation and attendees’ subjective perceptions of inclusiveness, sense of consolation, and assembly effectiveness.

Since conferences are a everlasting fixture of recent work, we encourage you to dive into the findings under and discover new methods to advertise behaviors that result in more practical and inclusive conferences.


Figuring out Our Viewers and Survey Strategies

We used two survey methodologies in tandem to measure assembly effectiveness and inclusiveness throughout Microsoft workers and a choose group of Microsoft Groups clients:

  1. Publish-meeting pop-up – A two-question survey inside Groups that popped up on the finish of a gathering to gather sentiment in close to real-time.
  2. E-mail-based survey – Roughly 20 questions designed to grasp the nuances of the latest assembly the respondent attended.

The in-Groups survey methodology was designed with objectives to:

  • Attain a random pattern of conferences all through the group
  • Reduce intrusion within the workday
  • Decrease the burden to reply
  • Maintain responses nameless to make sure a psychologically secure place to offer suggestions on assembly effectiveness and inclusivity

Survey sorts and inhabitants teams have totally different survey response charges, including one other layer of sampling to our information assortment. Whereas this extra layer induces a “non-response” bias to the information, our evaluation confirmed a negligible quantity of bias that didn’t degrade the information utility.

In-product surveyIn-product survey


Modeling the Survey Information

To grasp the drivers of assembly effectiveness and inclusiveness, we started inspecting the energy of dependencies between consumer rankings on these standards with anticipated elements together with assembly period, the variety of individuals, utilization of audio/video/display screen sharing, and presence of an agenda amongst others.

We used a wide range of statistical exams and machine studying (ML) algorithms to be taught the set of things and mixtures that correspond to elementary variations in rankings of effectiveness and inclusiveness. Whereas an abundance of articles and small-sample research present a protracted listing of potential drivers for assembly effectiveness and inclusivity, lots of them are proven to not be important after large-sample evaluation.

A confirmed methodology of breaking down the collective sample of dependencies among the many set of potential elements and rankings is thru using graphical fashions. We developed a course of for choosing prime contributors by becoming an online of dependencies and estimating the energy of every connection. A pattern of such a mannequin is proven under. The next graphical mannequin from our peer-reviewed publication³ illustrates the multivariate interaction between elements.

Multivariate model of effectiveness (red and green show negative and positive effects, respectively)Multivariate mannequin of effectiveness (pink and inexperienced present unfavorable and optimistic results, respectively)

The arrows within the above graph present the relationships between the variables and in relative phrases. Utilizing inexperienced arrows to point out optimistic correlations and pink arrows present unfavorable correlations, this mannequin helped us choose the really impactful elements on assembly effectiveness and inclusiveness from a sea of claims and anecdotal hypotheses. For instance, the inexperienced arrow with “2.5” between “Participation” and “Inclusive” might be interpreted as conferences with excessive participation are 2.5x extra prone to be rated as inclusive.

Participation represents “talking within the assembly greater than as soon as.” It reveals a major optimistic impression on the prospect of the assembly being rated inclusive (4 or 5-star). This sample persistently reveals up whatever the survey sort or viewers group. The energy and consistency of this impression inspired us to develop focused ML fashions to additional perceive particulars about this correlation. Particularly, to incorporate the interplay results and discover the ramifications beneath totally different segments. Our findings present that:

  • Conferences with increased ranges of participation have been rated extra inclusive. Contributors who spoke usually throughout the assembly gave a 98% inclusive score, individuals who spoke a couple of instances gave an 89% inclusive score, individuals who spoke solely as soon as gave a 67% inclusive score, and individuals who solely listened gave a 36% inclusive score.
  • Contributors who felt their presence was needed for the assembly felt extra included – giving the assembly a 92% inclusive score over these whose presence was not needed, who gave a 53% inclusive score.
  • Conferences with smaller assembly sizes have been rated as extra inclusive. It is a lowering development the place 2-person conferences have been rated by all individuals as inclusive, whereas conferences with greater than 10 folks have been rated solely 60% inclusive.

Our evaluation additionally confirmed that the impression of participation on inclusiveness was additionally influenced by different elements together with assembly period and size of the assembly. For instance, essentially the most important achieve is noticed for thirty-minute or shorter conferences. On this phase, participation can enhance assembly inclusiveness by ~6% and effectiveness by ~4%.

Video utilization was one other space the place the massive pattern of our survey allowed us to be taught from nonlinear patterns. Whereas extra analysis is warranted to grasp the breadth of assembly situations that profit most from having video on, and which situations profit from having video off, our survey information did yield attention-grabbing findings. We discovered the assembly state of affairs with a better likelihood of benefiting from video utilization is a “small assembly” with fewer than eight individuals the place some individuals are in a gathering room, and the remaining are becoming a member of remotely. The profit largely comes from native individuals (these within the assembly room) with the ability to see distant individuals through video. Bigger conferences could also be extra liable to “Video Convention” attributable to extended eye gaze, an impact that’s magnified when customers are required to stare at quite a few one-inch containers of faces on their screens.⁴

Extra Assets and Insights

Along with encouraging behaviors correlated to elevated assembly effectiveness and inclusiveness, Microsoft Productiveness Rating and Viva Insights are helpful assets to assist monitor organizational productiveness, effectiveness, and engagement.

Productivity Score can be accessed through the Microsoft 365 Admin CenterProductiveness Rating might be accessed by means of the Microsoft 365 Admin Heart


Higher Conferences… Via Science

Bookshelves are filled with pages devoted to the subject of assembly effectiveness, although many of those insights are based mostly on small samples and anecdotes. Whereas there’s nonetheless a lot about conferences but to discover, such because the affect of assembly objective on effectiveness and inclusion (brainstorming and drawback fixing versus standing conferences), our analysis provides helpful constructs for learn how to make such connections.

What is evident in a hybrid-first world, is that the amount of scheduled and ad-hoc conferences is prone to enhance. Organizations want a trusted methodology to determine and measure the elements that result in extra helpful conferences and allow us to kind and strengthen connections between colleagues and buddies.


1. Atlassian. 2022. You Waste A Lot of Time at Work Infographic | Atlassian. [online] Accessible at:
2. Work Pattern Index: Microsoft’s newest analysis on the methods we work
3. Cutler, R., Hosseinkashi, Y., Pool, J., Filipi, S., Aichner, R., Tu, Y., & Gehrke, J. (2021, February 19). Assembly effectiveness and inclusiveness in distant collaboration. Retrieved Could 23, 2022, from
4. Karl, Ok., Peluchette, J. and Aghakhani, N., 2021. Digital Work Conferences Through the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Good, Unhealthy, and Ugly. Small Group Analysis, 53(3), pp.343-365


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