Canadians’ workstyle personas can help employers maximize performance

Similar to learning styles, workstyle personas aim to categorize employees so as to maximize each worker's potential.

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Four categories explain each employee group’s optimal conditions to turn out the best work product

Just like there are different types of learners, not everyone works the same way. In a recent report from Microsoft Canada, surveys showed that the way workers accomplish their tasks can vary greatly. The survey split them into four categories: the connected builder, the autonomous problem solver, the creative connector and the independent ally.

“Male or female; Millennial, Gen-Xer or Boomer; culturally diverse and differently abled—these are all important factors in building diverse teams, but they tell little about how an individual likes to work,” Jordan Sheridan, general manager, modern workplace, at Microsoft Canada, observed in a release. Sheridan went on to explain that understanding these categories and differentiators can help employers maximize their employees’ potential.

Credit: Microsoft Canada

Workers in this category are identified by their hustle and bustle in the workplace. They often take their work home and chip away at projects during their free time. More than 70 percent of connected builders think of themselves as focused and ambitious, with only 7 percent thinking of their workday as finished when they leave the office.

Roughly 30 percent of those surveyed fell into this group, and although one in five respondents under 25 fit into the category, its even more common among older employees.

Credit: Microsoft Canada

These personas favour working alone and are calmer in their own space. This doesn’t make them grumps, though. In fact, 43 percent of independent allies love being around people despite nearly half preferring to work alone. Due to their ability to work best when they put their head down, nine in 10 of those surveyed in this group feel that their workday is done as soon as they leave the office.

Credit: Microsoft Canada

Respondents in this group like a little independence. More than half of these workers like to spend time thinking about ideas to solve problems. Also, more than 40 percent are easily distracted, often leaving their work for outside of office hours. 

Interestingly, senior and mid-level executives are well represented in the autonomous problem solver category, coming in at 33 percent. Theyre also slightly more likely to be male than female, but theyre found across a vast range of demographics.

Credit: Microsoft Canada

This is probably the friendliest colleague in the office. Workers in this group love collaborating and adore bouncing ideas around with their team. Seventy-one percent of them work within a group in the office, and nearly half work in shared spaces. 

They have their own workflow, too. Nearly three-quarters like to finish one task before bouncing on to the next, and 86 percent feel that the workday ends when they walk out the door. Creative connectors are more likely to be female.

Each of the four types of worker has something to offer, and if employers can accommodate their employees’ style, theyre more likely to unlock their workforce’s full potential.

Wondering what type of worker you might be? Curious Canadians are welcome to take the quiz and see where they fall.


  • Most employees find teamwork great for motivation and inspiration, but they also value the quiet and focus that can come from working alone.
    • 68 percent of employees surveyed said that they’re most motivated when working in a team; 71 percent said they’re most inspired when working as part of a team
    • But 50 percent say they’re most productive when working alone; only a fifth are at their most productive when in the office surrounded by people; and only 18 percent say they’re most focused in the office surrounded by people
  • Distractions are a significant challenge for nearly all types of workers.
    • Almost half said they’re distracted by people around them talking, and 42 percent said they’re distracted by chatting with colleagues either in person or virtually through text or instant messaging
    • 47 percent say they’re most productive in a quiet part of the office away from other people, and a further 18 percent say they’re most productive at home—with a total of 65 percent saying they’re most productive when working at home or in a quiet part of the office
  • Employees have an expectation that their employer will provide them with the right kinds of technology and devices for them to produce their best work.
    • Nearly two-thirds  said that having the best and most up-to-date technology to use for work is important or somewhat important to their overall satisfaction 
    • 71 percent said the same about having up-to-date and easy-to-use versions of essential software, and 54 percent said having more advanced software to enable better collaboration is important or somewhat important to their overall satisfaction with their work 
    • 76 percent said they value having a fast and powerful computer to use for work
    • 53 percent said they value having a lightweight laptop to use for work