Last month’s SuccessConnect Virtual Event by SAP SuccessFactors, included a number of great sessions from HR leaders on a variety of topics.
We especially loved the below 5 takeaways and tips from Daniel Pink, best-selling author of WHEN and TO SELL IS HUMAN and Meg Bear, SVP, Product, Engineering & Operations, SAP SuccessFactors.
You can read these in full here, however we’ve included a snapshot of each tip on transforming the employee experience below:
1. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to motivation
Instead, incentives used to motivate people should vary according to the employee, the task at hand, and more.
Too often, organisations use what Dan calls “if-then” rewards as the sole means of motivation. “If-then” meaning: if you do this, then you will get that.
What Dan’s research shows, however, is that “if-then” rewards work well for simple tasks with short time horizons but are less effective with more complex, more creative tasks that have longer time horizons.
When determining what type of reward or incentive to use to motivate someone, consider the task at hand and realise that leveraging a variety of motivational approaches will drive better results.
2. If you want people to be more engaged, give them more autonomy
When it comes to delivering great employee experiences, organisations should focus on what truly engages employees – autonomy.
When employees have a sense of autonomy – meaning they are allowed to shape their work environment in a way that allows them to do and be their best – they feel they’re in control, versus being controlled.
This autonomy spans from an employee’s day-to-day to their entire career.
Employees are driven by the moments that matter to them.
Prioritising autonomy and self-direction now leads to employees who are more engaged moving forward.
3. Provide opportunities for employees to develop new skills for the Future of Work
In planning which skills are most critical to develop for the future, Dan says organisations and individuals should focus on skills that are hard to automate or outsource; in particular, right brain skills, or skills that look at context.
Josh Bersin, a renowned thought leader in all things HR, calls these “power skills” – which we much prefer over “soft skills.” According to Dan, these skills include curiosity, empathy, inventiveness, big picture thinking, and the ability to connect.
The key is that these skills augment machine intelligence rather than compete with it.
4. Take breaks seriously to avoid meeting fatigue
While working virtually has been a necessity for many of us over the past few months, meetings have not slowed down – they’ve simply changed to take place online.
To combat ‘Zoom fatigue’, hear are a few practical tips:
First, consider whether you really need a meeting to accomplish the task at hand. Could a certain project be completed equally, if not more successfully, through online collaboration and email versus meetings?
Second, take more and better breaks. Breaks are not a deviation from performance. They are part of performance. We even advise scheduling breaks for yourself so that you remember to take them – and consider breaks that are outside rather than inside and involve moving.
5. Timing matters: people are more productive at different times of the day
From meeting times to work hours, the structure of work plays a critical role in the employee experience. Just as different incentives motivate people more or less effectively, different times of day bring out the best or worst in different employees.
There is a pile of scientific evidence to show that our brainpower does not remain constant throughout the course of a day, and that the best time to do something depends on the task.
We can look at our days in three main stages: the peak, the trough, and the recovery. Research has shown that for 80 percent of the workforce, analytical work is best done during the peak of the day (morning), administrative work is best done during the trough of the day (early afternoon), and creative work is best done during the recovery stage (later in the day).
Enabling employees to structure their day and approach their work according to what works best for them makes a big difference in productivity and their overall experience, leading to improvements in not only performance but also satisfaction.