There are numerous motivational techniques taught as well as practiced to generate numbers. But as far as I had noticed most of the organization follows “squeaky wheel gets the oil” concept. So we are now here to hack how to go about motivating people around you to do jobs that is not in ultra-urgent bucket, it is simply in “nice to do” task basket.
Many a times people in the organization tend to do jobs that are creating a chaos. A customer is yelling on the other end, here the operator tries to fix the error. The assembling unit is unable to find a particular part; they go about searching for it all the time. So what is the actual problem here?
- Lack of systematic management:
When there is system in place. There is lot of time saving in terms of searching or organizing during the work process. Doing a 5s is one of the most recommended programs.
5S was started in Japan and it says Saysseiri, Seiton, Seiso, Seiketsu and Shitsuke. It simply means Sort, Set in order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain.
Under this step, we have to remove all unnecessary items for the current production.
b)Set in order:
Here we have to arrange parts in such a way that it can be taken out and put it back during the work process. It has to be in the order of requirement, say for example items that are often used are kept closer to the employees.
After setting up, it is time to clean and start the process.
Under this step, we standardize the process and maintain the first three S’s.
And now we have to inculcate a strong habit of maintaining the standardized processes.
2. Lack of motivation to do non-squeaky wheel jobs:
To maintain systematically one need to put an effort way ahead of time and keep things organized. These are called non squeaky wheel jobs. But to do jobs that are not alarming is something very difficult for the employees to execute. Here we need some extra punch to motivate them.
3. No long term solution:
This kind of approach leads to short term fixes and employees take away their eyes from having a holistic view that can provide organizations with long term solutions.
When there is repetition of the same mistake it is just a diabolic waste of time, money and effort, for the company as well as for the employees.
First of all, list down all the jobs that an organization would benefit if executed. It should include everything, right from the production department to customer relations.
2. Create broad buckets:
Then comes, creating a broad bucket system. The jobs can be divided on the basis of difficulty, say like “low difficulty”, “medium difficulty”, and “high difficulty” tasks. Difficulty level can be judged according to the time and skill taken to complete task.
3. Point system:
Each bucket created should have points. Say for example, 10 points for low difficulty tasks, followed by 20 and 30 as the difficulty rises.
Here is a generic example that can be applied for manufacturing firms:
Name of the employee
Sending a detailed reply for a customer enquiry about the product.
Create a process and display it at production or assembling unit. Train the staff to follow step by step process.
Finding a solution of a long pending product failure or error
Doing a 5S of your own desk
Doing a field visit to find out reasons for drop in sales.
4. Public display:
The table created should be kept at public display. It may be on the common notice board or through a share doc system in computers. Employees should be able to strike off the task done and write their name across.
5. Non-monetary incentives:
Now comes the most important step, we have to reward the winners with some non-monetary incentive. It can be a public appreciation or a few hours off or may be both.
It is the competing nature of humans that would keep everyone on their toes to seize more points compared to their counterparts.
2. Non-monetary incentive:
Various studies have shown that non-monetary benefits work better than the monetary ones. So rewarding the winners with non-monetary benefits would actually motivate them more without pinching the company’s pocket.
Most of the time, it is because of lack of visibility which made employees to refrain from tasks that are not directly related to their performance review. In this case, every single job is converted into numerical terms and that is like a cantrip for the management. Management can also manipulate by deliberately putting tasks into high points basket for it to get strike off quicker.
4. People or task oriented management:
Management is often classified into people oriented or task oriented. But in this case it is a beautiful balance of both. Tasks are completed along with generating employee satisfaction.
Reflecting on people like Hertzberg and Pink, there is a distinction between Reward vs. Recognition. In short, Recognition has long term effect, while Reward is more of a short term motivator.
also, the point systems you are describing are commonly referred to as "gamification." There are companies that exist today, which specialize in this such as Badgeville. Check it out.
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Thank you for your comment and I understand what you are saying. Going by Frederick Herzberg's motivational theory, I believe that reward will fall under "hygiene factor" without which people will get demotivated. If points system alone is taken out then it would definitely remind us about "gamification". But "Gamification's proponents argue that it works by making technology more engaging". And in my theory technology is not a causa sine qua non. People can also draw and display charts on a common notice board. Also, I saw companies applying game theory usually is limited to few activities. Say for example, a customer is rewarded for logging into their company's website. But in my theory we are trying to put all of the activities that may or may not relate to each other into two or three buckets. This will make employees from other departments too to get involved in completing the task.
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Nice concept. Very practical, proactive and a simple approach. Competition in the workplace is one of the best methods to generate enthusiasm and your article nicely wraps this up into a usable solution, applicable to 'non-squeaky' jobs. Thanks.
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