In the realm of modern management, we’ve witnessed the ascent of soft topics. Soft values here don’t revolve around the tone of voice or word choices but emphasize the significance of individuals over mere transactions. Employees take precedence over customers. The question that arises is, how can we steer our workforce toward innovation and development? The answer lies in the tools at our disposal, writes Moticheck’s CEO Martin Rajasalu in an article in the Business-IT (originally in the Estonian language).
In the era between the two World Wars, the world’s top-selling motorcycles hailed from Italy, the UK, and the USA. But today, Japanese cycles have seized the throne, owing much of their success to a concept known as “kaizen.” This Japanese term, that translates to “continuous improvement” or “enhancement.” It represents a philosophy and methodology that focuses on making incremental, yet significant, improvements in various aspects of life, spanning business processes, productivity, quality, and personal development. Toyota, renowned for its commitment to this ideology, stands as a prime example of its efficacy.
Kaizen centers on the power of teamwork and collaboration, leveraging data and facts for decision-making, and promoting engagement with the actual work environment or “gemba.”
By observing and engaging with the actual work environment, managers and employees can make informed decisions.
The kaizen that tends to get lost
However, comparing the post-war Japanese manufacturing philosophy to the present-day operations in production companies, we observe an increasing reliance on robots, where work processes are measured in kilowatt-hours and milliseconds. Regrettably, in many instances, this transformation has ushered out the concept of kaizen. Many leaders have failed to heed their people, resulting in a stagnation of development. Mere pronouncements of strategic goals and quarterly profit numbers do not suffice as effective communication, motivators, or catalysts for growth.
In today’s rapidly evolving landscape, nurturing a culture of creativity and development demands active employee involvement, trust, a mentally comfortable workplace, and straightforward tools for idea collection and implementation – a bottom-up communication model.
To effectively manage and perpetuate a culture of kaizen, managers require constant feedback from employees. An annual employee satisfaction survey falls short in this regard, as it lacks the immediacy and the depth to uncover nuances. Further, sharing these results with the entire team to boost motivation can be a cumbersome process, often detached from the daily flow of business operations.
People like the short message format and constant dialogue known from social media.
Non-stop dialogue instead of the leader’s sermon
In an age where concise communication and continuous dialogue are the norm, taking smaller steps to engage and retain employees is paramount. Consider the shifts in communication habits in the 21st century – lengthy letters have evolved into daily digital interactions, akin to the way we communicate with our loved ones.
As employees invest considerable time in social media and digital communication, harnessing this platform to enhance employee experience and foster kaizen through a quick, daily interaction mechanism seems a natural evolution. Such a solution, taking mere seconds a day for employees to use, has the potential to revolutionize engagement. Although the direct impact on individual lives may be minimal, its value to employers is monumental, enhancing employee retention and productivity.
Quantifying innovation and process improvement in small increments might pose challenges, but engaging and retaining employees can be more straightforward. Mental stress and toxic work environments drive 47% of resignations and 12% of lost productivity, as revealed by Professor Amy C. Edmondson of Harvard Business School. Gallup’s Q12 global survey suggests that only 20% of employees feel successful in their roles. To replace a departing employee, employers often incur costs equivalent to 12 to 18 months of the employee’s salary, encompassing expenses such as recruitment, training, and induction.
Replacing one employee who leaves costs the employer 12-18 months of salary.
The platforms and tools
Estonia’s maiden employee experience monitoring platform, Moticheck, offers a unique solution. It establishes a daily, team-centric dialogue with employees, updating in real-time to provide insights into 14 distinct aspects of work life. These insights crystallize data into actionable information for managers and employees alike, creating a shared information space that fosters a safe work environment and a channel for bottom-up communication.
By bringing soft topics to the forefront alongside financial indicators, such as mental health, well-being, recognition, and trust, solutions like Moticheck drive positive change. These platforms serve as more than an organizational-wide slogan; they empower teams and individuals to effect meaningful change. They expose both areas of concern and strengths, functioning as a form of department branding that recruiters can leverage in their quest to find the right talent.
Leaders using Moticheck no longer need to rely on vague questions during annual meetings; they have a real-time understanding of employee sentiments and can take prompt, targeted actions to improve workplace dynamics. This transformative approach permits soft topics to be measured just like traditional financial indicators, offering a tangible pathway to profitability.
Work experience monitors get people talking
In conclusion, maintaining a culture of continuous improvement and nurturing employee engagement can significantly impact a company’s success. As technology, such as artificial intelligence, enters the management realm, these platforms empower every manager, regardless of team size or hierarchy level, to facilitate change and enhance their teams. Moticheck, in particular, integrates artificial intelligence to assist managers in addressing team challenges proactively and reactively, making this a promising path to embrace the future of workplace management.