Posted by: Jeanne Meinholt
Senior Researcher on Tue 31 Oct

At our monthly Innovation Days, KnowledgeBrief clients scan the latest ideas in the world of management innovation and identify their top priorities for action right now. Here’s a summary of the viewpoints discussed at the recent Innovation Days.

Cohesion in a virtual world

Providing people with more control over the way they do their work can have beneficial effects on productivity and motivation, as well as on health and wellbeing. However, it is important for organisations to consider how they maintain collaboration in teams when they are situationally dispersed.

A white paper written by Dr. Nicola Millard, Head of Customer Insight and Futures at BT and our guest expert at November’s Innovation Day, highlights that organisations with a lot of virtual workers may find that individual levels of productivity may go up, but because no-one ever meets each other face-to-face, cohesion and trust between employees goes down1.

How do you create cohesion in a virtual world? Prioritise the top-three tools you can think of.

The impact of positive mentality on the workforce

The effect of a positive mentality in the workplace can be noticed from the details, like being genuinely happy to go to work. Positivity is also linked to loyalty: we are more likely to have a positive attitude if we feel authentically loyal to the company. Positivity can be embedded in the culture and it could become a success factor in fostering and retaining talent attraction.

Employers and line managers can support positivity in the workplace by fostering social connections, showing empathy, going out of their way to help, and encouraging people to talk, especially about their problems2.

What steps are you taking to show that you care for your employees? Do you emphasise the meaningfulness of their work?

Continuous change is a survival imperative

A recent article by Quy Huy, INSEAD Professor of Strategic Management, reflects on the proposition that we should view automation as an opportunity to liberate human managers. Professor Huy argues that “automation will make human managers more important, not less, to organisations”3. However, often it’s our mindsets that hold us back from accepting the emerging technologies that could open up the job market. But continuous change is no longer an option – it’s a survival imperative.

Make sure the foundations have been laid down properly and help employees successfully transition with the change in digital infrastructure. A workforce that receives insufficient emotional attention from management will resist change or participate half-heartedly, no matter what threats are made or rewards are promised.

Beating the odds requires sophisticated emotional engagement from managers. How are you developing your managers to be capable of delivering emotional engagement?

Sources: 1Millard, N. J. (2016) The Collaboration Conundrum - A WorkShift White Paper, BT Global Services; 2Seppala, E, Cameron, K (2015) Proof That Positive Work Cultures Are More Productive. HBR, 1 December 2015; 3Huy, Q. (2017) How Automation Will Rescue Middle Management, INSEAD Knowledge, Aug 31.

The complete Innovation Priorities report accompanies the monthly KnowledgeBrief SCAN and ACT publications available to clients. It captures clients’ collective views on stand-out priorities for action, and includes further research and action points from our Research Faculty to support turning these priorities into practice.

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Techniques Referenced in this Blog

Behaviourist Psychology | Emotional Intelligence | Employee-centred Leadership Style | Employee Engagement | Empowering Employees | Five Forces Analysis / Framework | Managing Global Virtual Teams | Transformational Change | Transformational Leadership

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