The Engagement Culture
Our experience is that, as we’ve said repeatedly, People is the most important part of Purpose, Process and People in transformational change. The key to working with People, leveraging the power a focused organization can achieve, is engagement. Engage people in why change: the Purpose. Engage them early in the Process: how to do it better. Worked properly, engagement actually shortens duration of the change process, increases its strength and assures sustainability into the future. With that in mind, High-Performance Work Systems (HPWS) is the vehicle for embedding engagement in the corporate culture.
HPWS is a collective term used for a set of practices, the aim of which is to improve productivity at the workplace. These aims of productivity are achieved by giving more responsibility to the workforce which leads to their greater levels of involvement thus raising the overall efficiency of the organization. Another important benefit of these systems is that these increase the knowledge, commitment and flexibility of your employees. Although these are great steps which every organization would want to employ for the benefits this offers but the real issues often come in the implementation of these steps and these would differ between organizations as no two organizations are ever alike in all aspects.
Before the organization starts working on the improvement of its work system, there are few steps which need to be taken to ensure the readiness of the organization for the change which is being proposed.
One of the most important consideration is that the design of the improvements should focus on the requirements of the customer. Once the requirements have been understood, process and structure can be designed to deliver the best quality to the clients which ensuring that the motivations of the workforce remain high.
Clarity needs to a focus on all aspects of the organization’s work. All tasks and plans must be guided in clear terms and goals where the team working on any part of the process has a clear understanding of the requirements which are expected of them along with different measures of performance.
Any change is only as good as the willingness of the people who’re a part of the change so if the people in your organization are not convinced about the need for a change then you need to rethink your strategies. The case for the changes in the business strategy of the organization must be supported by compelling arguments.
The proposed plans or changes must be owned by the managers. Most forms of change work in the form of a trickle-down effect, if the managers are not a part of the process then the change will not be properly supported or implemented in the teams which work under them.
All processes must be completed in a systematic manner. There needs to be a coherence in everything which is a part of the change in the organization.
The first step in the implementation of HPWS in your organization is the creation of opportunities for the workplace to have a say in the decision-making process. This first step is a key component of the High-Performance Work Systems. When employees become a part of the key decision-making process, they bring their experience from the receiving end and no one understands it better than those who’re at the receiving end of the policies. When employees know that the policies which are being implemented have been decided after an input from them and their colleagues, they’re more open to accepting the change and it makes them more empowered. Their commitment to the organization also increases.
Another important part of the implementation of the high-performance system is the training aspect. When you encourage your workforce to participate more in the management functions of the organization, you are practically preparing them for greater responsibilities within the organization. It also means that your workforce begins working with different parts of the organization which trains the workforce in different aspects of the organization. During their interaction with different teams from different areas of the business, people learn about the problems and difficulties they face during their work which ultimately makes them more compassionate towards each other. This is important because it ensures that the workflows in a smooth manner and if a need arises, people from one part of the organization can support the others too.
Another component which can help in implementing high-performance work system is giving incentives to your employees. The first two steps are important but they stand on the back of incentives otherwise they’re doomed to failure. Involving employees in extra work in collaboration with other departments is going to need their efforts and dedication and if this extra effort is not rewarded then very few will see the need for their personal growth and the growth of the organization as something of much importance.
Even though bonuses and monetary benefits are one type of this, incentives can be delivered in many forms such as stock options, plans for sharing profits, group dinners or lunches, more paid leaves which can allow them to make plans with their family. All these are good incentives, the organization needs to understand the needs of the employees as their feedback will help in the determination of the best incentive and getting their feedback on the incentives you’re going to offer your employees is going to motivate them to improve their performance.
No organization is efficient if there is no mechanism for speedy communication especially when there are work related things which need feedback or comments from multiple parts of the organization. The communication infrastructure stands at the very core of any organization and its utility or importance cannot be stressed enough. The penetration of technology in all walks of life has made communication a simple task, it is an exercise in the overall development of the organization. These solutions don’t necessarily have to be at the bleeding edge but having any of these solutions allows the organization a shortcut to growth by improving their communications.
These four steps improve the overall efficiency of any organization as these work on the basic principles which have been defined by the experts in these field. Nadler argued that any high performing work system works on the improvement of its work, its people and its technology and these four steps aim to ensure the implementation of these four steps.
The most important consideration, after the implementation of the strategies, is to constantly evaluate and see where improvements can be made.