How simple can you make employee engagement?
I wrote about John Maeda’s ideas on simplicity 2 years ago. The ideas are still very applicable and thanks to Patti Digh I have now added an engaging 4 minute video on the 10 laws. I encourage you to watch the video, read the points, and determine how you can take action to simplify engagement.
John Maeda. a professor in MIT’s Meida Lab, is the master of simplicity. He wrote a compelling book, The Laws of Simplicity.
In this article I apply Maeda’s 10 laws and 3 keys of simplicity to employee engagement.
1. REDUCE. The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction. What can you reduce from work and the organization that can enhance employee engagement. Perhaps you can remove constricting policies or physical barriers between people.
2. ORGANIZE. Organization makes a system of many appear fewer. There are many variable influencing employee engagement. Strive to organize them into effective categories. For example I like to organize employee engagement interventions into 3 dimensions: organizational, leadership, and employee.
3. TIME. Savings in time feels like simplicity. Where can time be saved to make work simpler and yet more productive and powerful?
4. LEARN. Learn all you can about employee engagement. Learn what engages you. Learn what experts offer. Mostly in a leadership position, learn from the people closest to engagement – yourself and the employees!
5. DIFFERENCES. Simplicity and complexity need each other. Engagement must be interspersed with periods of disengagement.
6. CONTEXT. What lies in the periphery of simplicity is definitely not peripheral. If you want to enhance engagement look to change the context of work or the working environment and watch behavior change because of this “peripheral” change.
7. EMOTION. More emotions are better than less. Emotion is the motion of engagement. Create emotions of caring and satisfaction and belonging. Let employees know they matter.
8. TRUST. In simplicity we trust. Employee engagement must be based on trust and belief. Effective employee engagement is based of mutual purpose and benefit for all.
9. FAILURE. Some things can never be made simple. As you strive to simplify employee engagement keep your eyes open for failure and what can be learned from this.
10. THE ONE. Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful. What obvious drudgery can be removed from work so that the most meaningful of efforts can be added to the employee’s effort and experience.
1. AWAY. More appears like less by simply moving it far, far away. Can you keep the less urgent and unimportant disengaging work far away?
2. OPEN. Openness simplifies complexity. Make your organization open to employees. Open book management has been a powerful way to gain engagement from many employees as they become a real business partner in an organization. Can you use the tools of Web 2.0 to create an open environment — open to communication from all levels and equally open to change because of this communication?
3. POWER. Use less, gain more. Empowerment can be a pathway to engagement and reduction of hierarchical power can create more power within employees to power up their own engagement.
I encourage you to read Maeda’s book and focus on how you can design simple employee engagement at your work.