…So I have a sneaking suspicion that most employees are nowhere near as productive as they could 1. This is not really merely a suspicion. I know it for a fact. be. 1
I don’t think it has to be this way – mainly because at some point everyone has worked on some sort of productive, value added activity or project they absolutely couldn’t get away from. Most people are not slackers by nature. They are just being unproductive at work because what they are doing is boring.
To this the cynical manager is saying: “That boring stuff is their job. I pay them for it!” and I am saying: “I agree, but…”
…People need to have a sense of controlling their own environment in order to 2. The only thing that equivalently drives performance is fear (which I’m not a fan of using as a productivity “incentive”). For one example of a potential pitfall, I would encourage you to read Jessica Miller-Merrell’s article on the psychology of slacking here.fully realize their potential. 2 When people feel like they have to do something it often makes them dread it more.
Companies like Google seem to understand this concept intuitively. Employees at Google only spend 80% of their work time doing the job they were hired to do. For the other 20% of their time they can work on whatever they choose – as long as it ultimately advance the company in some way.
Not every company has the resources to allow their employees to spend 20% of their time on special projects. With that said, I think that a big component of the talent management puzzle that gets lost is that it doesn’t end with attracting, recruiting, training and retaining – employee engagement is also an integral piece here.
…As such, while 20% time isn’t for every organization I do think it’s important to give employees a sense of autonomy. I think this approach not only improves day to day productivity; it also occasionally unveils hidden talent within the organization.
Sometimes, the job someone is hired for is not where they will add the most value to the organization.
What did I get wrong here? As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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