Companies of today need to be relevant, innovative, high performing and customer centric. To achieve this they need to ensure they have clearly defined objectives and are able to engage with staff on the tasks needed to meet the company’s goals.
This should be easy, shouldn’t it?
It is no longer relevant, nor is it effective, for a company to decide on the strategy, announce it to their employees and expect them to get on with it. The generations within today’s workplaces have changed and we now have ‘Generation Z’ staff. No, they are not Androids! They are a special type of workforce with clearly defined expectations, and you can read more about this generation and their needs at work in the video below.
Key to Generation Z is their desire to enjoy what they do, sometimes converting hobbies to careers, to have purpose and to be rewarded for their achievements with immediacy.
Based on this new generation making up almost 50% of your new workforce, companies now need to become creative in how they engage with staff. There are fundamental requirements that Generation Z have, as spoken about here. What kind of fun needs to be implemented to create purpose or to even achieve company objectives?
Let’s look at an example of what a company’s objectives might be:
A company has built a new office. They need their employees to make sure they are tagging into the building correctly and to make sure that all the door mechanisms are working properly. They would also like their staff to have fun and enjoy the new building.
- Should ‘fun’ be a party?
- Should the CEO/Senior Manager be standing at the door with confetti, sombreros and high fiving everyone that tags in and out?
Outcomes of scenario 1
- Staff could find senior managers easy to approach because they think they are fun
- With managers becoming more approachable staff could feel that they can engage easier with managers
- Staff could lose respect because they think management is crazy
- Staff could end up developing negative or disrespectful opinions of management because of the ‘fun’ initiative.
Based on the above we have to be very careful of the solution that gets put in place. Revisit the overall company objective – for example: improved customer centric service. To achieve this objective a metric could be to ensure all staff are present at work? The measurement is attendance.
- Create a virtual reward for tagging in and out of the building
- Create rewards for each event and a multiplier reward for when the events are done a few of days in row
- Create rewards for tagging in at different entrances, allowing for ease of traffic in and out of the building
- Create an ad-hoc physical reward to surprise staff for adhering to the tagging policy.
Outcomes of scenario 2
- A sense of fun is created by adhering to attendance policy
- Foot traffic in and out of the building is managed better by encouraging staff to use different entrances and exits
- An ‘Easter egg’ type of reward is created: by not knowing when the next physical reward will be given for a change in behaviour, staff are encouraged to repeat the activity daily to avoid losing out on the reward.
Looking at the points discussed so far:
When linked to a higher objective, performance gives staff a sense of how their interactions affect a company’s bigger picture: creating purpose.
Fun is important when trying to encourage the new generation of workers to engage with the company’s objectives/metrics: creating a sense of enjoyment.
Fun and performance should therefore not be used in isolation but as a means of achieving a company’s goals.
Yet there is one term we haven’t mentioned, and that is ‘engagement’. To explain how engagement fits into this scenario we will use algebra:
The formula: F+E2 = P.
Fun plus engagement squared equals performance. We have already established we need fun to engage with the current workforce to encourage them to perform. But why should engagement be squared?
- You require the individual to make the change and to engage with the solution so that they perform better individually.
- You need other staff members to follow the individual’s performance to create a community of engagement and performance.
- Managers need to engage and recognise staff who perform so that the behaviour can be repeated.
- You need a system to accurately track, distribute rewards and provide the staff member with feedback (engagement) when they demonstrate the right behaviour.
This is engagement squared.
To summarise, only by creating an element of fun and by engaging with all staff can the company achieve a behaviour change. This in turn will affect the organization as a whole to produce relevant services, high performance, innovation and customer centric services allowing it to outperform in the current economic climate.
Remember: F+E2 = P