“Simplifying organizations is the groundwork for competitive advantage”-–Yves Morieux, senior partner and managing director in BCG’s Paris office. (He is an expert in corporate transformation)
Despite breathtaking advances in communication technology, many people still feel miserable and disengaged at work. Companies try many things to remedy this situation by sponsoring affiliation events, celebrations and leadership development programs. While the goal of these programs is to train managers on how to better motivate their teams, research shows they are ineffective. Employees at many of the world’s largest firms still report having low moral and lack the motivation and the desire to give more of themselves at work. Employees are frustrated by rules, which diminish their authority and autonomy and limit their ability to maximize their contribution. They feel shut out from the actual decision-making process. This frustration ultimately leads to disengagement and reduced productivity.
Yves Morieux’s (senior partner and managing director at the Boston Consulting Group) recent Ted Talk, suggests a strategy to fix this problem and challenges management to rethink how they’re doing things. Morieux says that as work gets more complex, management adds more rules and buffers that minimize employees’ sense of empowerment at work. He suggests six rules for management to use that would simplify operations and that will also improve motivation, productivity and employee engagement.
The six steps to increase productivity, motivation and engagement: simplify operations
The implication of breaking down barriers that impede individual employees from feeling engaged at work is profound. Morieux’s research shows that giving more people a voice and allowing more people to take risks is what will create the positive energy for workers to care about their jobs and the companies they work for. A system that makes people accountable combined with giving them the leeway to make decisions and the encouragement to cooperate with others leads to greater engagement, happier workers and increased productivity.
The biggest companies can begin to operate more efficiently, like small ones, once they start behaving internally in a more entrepreneurial way. Showing concern for employees and empowering them to participate in the business requires a reevaluation of organizational management and processes.
Morieux makes a strong case for empowering workers, reducing rules and building accountability as a strategy for companies to create more value at a reduced cost. The simplification of the structure itself is a step in moving from a bureaucracy to a human centered environment where people can thrive, contribute, feel genuinely valued and become committed to the organization’s mission. This strategy for increasing employee engagement could ultimately lead to increased motivation, productivity and retention of top employees. These lessons will be extremely useful for all companies seeking a competitive edge, especially for those that are growing rapidly and seeking ways to maintain a vibrant corporate culture.