Whether we like it or not, people are driven by their need to connect. A company may choose to ban Facebook in the company, but it does not mean that it is really stopping people from whiling away time in other ways to connect. Even if a company’s rules make “spending social time” difficult, it is really a sub-optimal solution.
By forcing people to work more, we do not increase productivity and surely do not increase innovation.
Smarter CEO’s are starting with understanding “human nature” and then aligning their business to leverage human nature for best positive impact for the individual as well as the company.
One basic human need is to “connect”. That is why Facebook is so powerful and viral. We as humans want “to be in the know”, we want to “share”, we want to “be liked” and so on.
To leverage connectedness at work in a positive manner we need to do the following.
Make workplace safe for sharing feelings
Today workplaces have become so sterile and inhuman that everyone is just focused on “work at hand” and not the human aspects of people we work with. Make your workplace such that one can acknowledge “that they are stressed” or they are “feeling low”. Allowing people to be human allows for communication to improve because of the underlying element of empathy.
Make Appreciation the norm
Managers and leaders often focus on problems and hence by default come through as unappreciative. If something is not broken or problematic, we just don’t pay attention to it. Instead create a culture where positive things get more attention (even if normal). Stopping and saying “thank you for helping solve this solve issue” should be norm and more common than any other conversation. The more that happens more positive things will happen – now that is also human nature.
No Judgement attitude
Everyone will make a mistake or say or do something stupid – so what! Let it be. People realize their follies and judgement should just not be encouraged. An accepting environment opens up people, they ask more questions, they help others more and the power of positive connectedness grows.
Encourage People to Share About them
So you like Adventure sports! Does it matter at work? Of course, it does. Notice how people form a tribe around common interests. Also notice how the communication and support is always strong in tribes? Well then, encourage such tribes and see how it helps collaboration and innovation.
Like and Comment are New Engagements bricks
Today with Facebook, Likes and Positive Comments have become a rush and motivation. When I feel liked and supported, I am engaged and motivated. So why not leverage that at work? Adopt a Social Technology platform that makes such micro interactions easy.
Instead of fighting human nature, why not leverage it for positive outcomes and more joy and effectiveness?