How to radically improve performance and engagement at work

Looking for ways to improve your employee's performance? In this blog post, we will show you how to achieve stellar productivity from your employee's without resorting to pay rises and promotions.

Employee engagement is nowadays the buzzword of every company. Indeed, employee engagement is one of the strongest factors that determine a good working place, but happy employees do not necessarily mean that they are also productive or hard-working. 

On the other hand, it is also possible to have the exact opposite: people are hard-working and productive but not really engaged with the company.

In both cases, the result is the same. The resources of the employee are not fully utilized.

Why the traditional company is bound to fail

In the old textbooks for management of employees, the main focus was on employee productivity at the detriment of happiness at work place and employee retentions. The thought was that the main way to improve the employee output (productivity x engagement) was to increase salary as with more salary, the enjoyment of the employees free time would be increased (including his status etc...). This made the achievement of a higher position desirable and therefore people would strive towards it by being both engaged and productive (ie they would increase the employee output)

The fairy tale of the time-off

One of the tenets of the traditional way of increasing employee retention (by promotion and pay rise) is that the employee will have more money to spend during his time-off on himself, on his family etc... 

Now let's look at it in a (pseudo-)mathematical way.  According to the traditional management school, you could simplify the employee output to Money x time-off = employee output.

So, according to the traditional way of thinking, you would simply have to increase either money or time-off to increase the employee output.

But the above calculation is not valid anymore. The society has changed.

The new motivators

 One of the main motivators of the current workforce is not money anymore, but rather that the time we spend at our work place has to be meaningful, correspond to our views of the world and ultimatly be fun. As those concepts are difficult to grapple with (and even more difficult to put into place in a work environment), I have broken  them down into several different easier-to-achieve sub-concepts

Quality time 

 One of the concepts of todays generation is that employees want to have quality time. The concept of having quality time extends nowadays not only to the time-off but as well to the work place. The employees want to go happily to their workplace as they will have the fun of their lifetime doing their job together with people that they enjoy. 

And here we are at one of the most important things when creating a quality work environment for the employees where they can have quality time. The workplace must ensure that the employee can form connections with other employees. In other words, the workplace must enable employees to find people who share the same interests and, ideally, become friends.

If you are looking for tools to help you with this, then have a look at the social Intranet SION. It was designed by the makers of International Friends, one of the leading platforms for Expats to find new friends in their new city, so they have a ton of knowledge in the difficult art of making people become friends.

Company values 

The company values are part of the mission/vision statements that every company should have.  The concepts are not easy to grasp for some (I am one of them), but it can be summarized like this:

Vision = Big picture of what you want to achieve 

Mission = General statement of how you will achieve the vision.

And here is where the company values come into play:

Company values = How you will behave during the process of achieving your vision   

And in company values lies the next big motivator of a person. He wants to identify with the company, he wants to have the feeling that the company does something that fits with his mindset.

The difficult thing is to effectively communicate the company values to the employees to increase their engagement. As this topic is HUGE, it goes way beyond the scope of this post. It will be covered in another blog post.

Rewarding work 

 Have you ever been in a job where you brought in a really good contribution and did not get any reward at all? That was demotivating no?

And here is the main way to increase productivity of any employee. He needs to feel that his contribution is valuable, that there is a sense behind being productive. 

The traditional way is to have an evaluation meeting once a year but until that time, most of the small and productive behaviour of the employee will be forgotten. It does not enable the constant evolution of the behaviour of the employee.

In order to improve the behaviour of an employee, he needs constant feedback. This constant feedback is the main way to increase an employee's productivity. Any productive behaviour should be rewarded as soon as it has happened so that the employee can identify which behaviour is well received.

The employee (normally the manager but it can also be the product owner or any other person) needs to have a user-friendly (and especially quick) way of giving the feedback so that it is given often and continuously.

This is where the choice of tools become important. Either you install several different tools (which reduces productivity again because people need to get used to different User Experiences). On top of helping in achieving the above aims, it needs to allow the managers or product owners to constantly reward productive behaviou


Conclusion 

 Those companies that still use promotion and pay-rises as their only way to increase the employees happiness will not strive in this new economy of ever changing society. Those companies that will be successful have the following characteristics:

  • They recognise each employee as an individual
  • They properly communicate their company values so that everyone can identify with them
  • They have a system of continuous feedback 
  • They propose "Quality time" at work, ie have a work place where people like to spend time.

If you want to be part of that pool of succesful companies, then have a look at SION. There are loads of Intranet providers out there, but SION is unique in that it focusses on building friendships between the employees and having a user-friendly interface for promoting working together. ‚Äč