We too readily accept that work is something people don’t really want to do. We pay them ‘compensation’ for their time in order to bribe them away from things they’d rather be doing. What a strange way of designing the activity occupying the most waking hours for most adults.
Why don’t we aim to make work so interesting, fascinating and rewarding that people would do it whether they are paid or not? Very little effort goes into work design. We just continue to create jobs with lists of tasks and design pay systems that reward people for turning up.
This is “D for Devotion” week in the WiseWork calendar. It’s time we turned work from something that is seen as drudgery to something that people are motivated to do. To get devoted employees we need to understand what it is that they enjoy doing and to assume that we can make work a pleasure.
There are millions of people around the world who spend many hours a week collaborating together to achieve goals in teams. They are highly engaged, develop amazing new skills and talk enthusiastically about their achievements. Not only are they not paid to do this, they even have to pay for the pleasure. I’m talking about the world of online games.
You may not have heard of ‘gamification’ of work. The idea is simple. You take the the design features that make games so enjoyable and use them in work design. You make the rewards for doing a good job stimulate people to want to do more. You allocate tasks to people based on their abilities not on ‘seniority’. And you appoint leaders for activities based on they ability to inspire others in that particular situation. For an insight into the power of games see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dE1DuBesGYM.
Some of these ideas are behind the WiseWork Principles . We’ve developed them knowing that work can be enjoyable. We’ve put aside some of the outdated assumptions behind many jobs and taken a fresh look at what people want from work. And we’ve based them on years of experience working with organisations willing to think again about how to get the best out of their workforce.
In an era of full employment you need to attract and retain the best talent. In the gig economy when more people have the option of setting up other own it’s even more of a challenge. Are you looking at what turns people on, or just expecting them to turn up to work because they have to earn money to survive? How many of your employees would still keep on working if they won the lottery? If they were so devoted to what they do, then the money wouldn’t matter, and they’d continue to work for the satisfaction of doing a good job.