Real learning is a part of the work, not apart from it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

reward collaboration, not competition

Recently I had a conversation with some colleagues that went something like this...Many of your employees are doing things right. This is evident in their consistent success in meeting or exceeding goals. The problem is you are unable to harvest their approaches and spread them throughout the organization as effectively as you should. Obviously the adoption of better tools to help foster communication and collaboration would help greatly. However many organizations are still reluctant to embrace Social Media for Learning. So sponsor creative efforts to show the value of Sm for learning ...Look to reward creativity first and to training as a last resort to solve some of your business problems. Often the answers are already out there ...working, creating, innovating ...daily. I believe employee generated solutions are key to organizational growth. You need to tap into your own people and in effect partner with them.

One idea you should consider is a shift from incentives for results to incentives for innovation. The monetary contests typically run by organizations to inspire employees to perform better can lead to unethical behaviors and create a competitive environment that often falls short of improving the business overall for the long-term. When an employee successfully meets a desired goal we applaud and reward their efforts but do we ever communicate how they did it so their approach can be repeated company wide? One idea would be to promote a challenge that asks offices to create video vignettes or documented process addressing a specific business concern/issue. A clear criterion could be created that sets the parameters and a significant monetary reward, if needed, could be offered for the best solutions.

There are many advantages to this approach. Such as the harvesting and rapidly distributing of fresh ideas - Don't you think presenting peer created ideas would be received more readily and eagerly then the typical sludge pumped out as training to the masses? Imagine the increased morale as employees see themselves as knowledge workers not just workers... partners not just parts... Not to mention having real solutions that meet real needs.
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