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Motivating Employees and Making Work More Fun

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Progressive workplaces focus on purpose and value, having networks of teams supported by leaders with distributed decision-making. Employees get freedom and trust, and access to information through radical transparency that enables them to experiment and adapt the organization. In such workplaces, people can develop their talents and work on tasks they like to do, and have more fun.

Pim de Morree from Corporate Rebels spoke about unleashing the workplace revolution at Better Ways 2022.

The way we work is broken, De Morree stated. According to the State of the American Workplace Report 2017, only 15% of the employees are engaged in their work. When it comes to burnout symptoms, 44% of the employees sometimes have them whereas 23% always or often have them (based on Arbobalans 2018). The report Socially Useless Jobs states that 40% of the employees feel that their work is not useful and that they are not contributing to society.

De Morree stated that it’s beneficial for companies to create a workplace where people want to be, as this leads to higher productivity and profit, lower absenteeism, and fewer accidents and defects.

To figure out ways to motivate employees to the highest possible state, De Morree and Joost Minnaar are visiting pioneering organizations around the globe. Based on this they have identified eight trends in progressive workplaces:

  1. Focus on values and put purpose first in decision-making.
  2. Reinvent the entire structure, breaking down the hierarchy into a network of autonomous teams.
  3. Leaders become coaches and coordinators who support the success of their teams.
  4. Experiment and adapt; try out new ways of working.
  5. Creating a work environment where people have trust and freedom.
  6. Get rid of rules and distribute authority throughout the company.
  7. Grant company-wide access to data, documents, financials—in real-time, radical transparency.
  8. Finding the individual main talents and finding ways for people to develop those.

De Morree mentioned that there are different approaches to transform and propagate change in a company:

  • Start small with one team and then add other teams.
  • Involve all teams into change at once (big bang)
  • Start with one department to remove the hierarchy into a network of teams.
  • Radically change the whole company at once. This usually only works when there’s an urgent and important need.

He provided ideas for improvements that progressive teams can start with:

  • Redesign your meetings: have fewer and better meetings. There should be a clear structure for meetings where De Morree referred to sociocracy: no agenda upfront, but created on the spot- people can choose how to be involved. First inform everyone and then make a decision based on consent.
  • Distribute decisions using consent-based decision-making. This can lead to quicker and better decisions.
  • Give better feedback. One technique that can be used is the "stop, start, continue" technique.
  • Create a list of all activities, cluster them into roles, and let people choose what role fits them.
  • Resolve conflict better by turning conflicts into opportunities in a graceful way.
  • Adopt result-based working; assess team and individuals on outcomes and give freedom for people to boost performance.

The world needs more rebels to make work more fun, De Morree concluded.

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  • We wouldn't have to discuss motivation if we stopped demotivating people

    by Scott Duncan,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    Do companies hire demotivated people? I seriously doubt it. So if people start at a company feeling motivated to be there and the companies are motivated to have them there, we should ask what we do to them such that, later, we talk about how to motivate them. Clearly the problem isn't motivation, it's demotivation. This idea of motivation reminds me of Deming's comment: "Remove barriers that rob the hourly worker of his right to pride of workmanship."

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