Empowering Employee Performance
In a rigid bureaucracy, whether in the government or the private sector, employee capability can become “dead capital” – an enormous, dynamic resource, effectively stifled by the organization. Successful performance management liberates that “captive” creativity, enthusiasm and dedication as a force multiplier for organizational success.
Fine as far as it goes, but how does this work in actual implementation?
Let’s begin with an example based on an axiom; workers are as different in their personalities as they are in their skill sets. Between one third and one half of the American population are introverts, people who perform best on their own, and whose quality of work can actually decline in team-related gatherings, which saps an introvert’s energy and distracts their attention.
The “cubicle-ization” of the American workplace, eliminating offices in favor of mass, open floor plans, has been a disaster for introverted employees who require privacy and quiet to perform at their best.
Enter Susan Cain, author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” a book which became a best seller in 2012. Cain has collaborated with the design firm Steelcase to develop a workplace alternative. The Cain-Steelcase design, represents five unique work rooms that are modular, and can be dropped in within today’s ubiquitous open floor plans.
While designed for introverts, the rooms provide value for extroverts and others of no designation. Of 39,000 North American workers surveyed, 95% reported the need for quiet spaces that allow for confidential conversations, ranging from a call to a doctor, to a conference call with a key client.
The Cain-Steelcase collaboration is an example of “actionable research” – transforming critical data and conclusions into tangible improvements in the workplace that unlock the “captive value” in employees, creating a new threshold for performance enhancement.
Performance leaders in organizations will quickly see the possibilities that these marginal investments will have in sustainable productivity. It is that paradigm of performance leadership and empowered employees that re-writes the narrative work success.