Let’s Rewire Rewards Systems

 

Technology Heart (1 color)

During a recent Twitter Chat with my MSLOC Community and other thought leaders from around the world, a question arose about the necessity of anchoring an Enterprise 2.0 system around a burning platform or a sense of urgency in order to engage employees. I struggled with this concept given how socially connected on social media platforms we are outside of the workplace when no burning platforms exist. We do not post photos to Instagram to solve big problems but rather for the sense of community, the creative outlet and also, selfishly, for recognition from our individual networks.  Small, attainable and ongoing reinforcements are influential drivers in our daily lives.    

We count the number of likes we receive on Facebook, track our Klout scores and revel in high Twitter traffic. So what are these technologies validating? Our worth? Our popularity? Our photography skills?  I think this question is actually irrelevant. What is important is that these technologies create constant personal small wins that reiterate an individual’s importance –  and this is something that millions of people find wildly addictive.  

Recent developments show how far we will go in our plugged in society to receive this  validation for a small win, myself included.  Wearable fitness devices like Fitbit or the Nike Fuel band have built their model on our innate drive for personal success by having owners set a daily goal or limit to meet.  I have friends who will engage in what seemingly looks like completely irrational behaviors (stepping away from drinks on a Friday night to get a couple laps walking around the block in) in order to meet their daily goal. So how can these reinforcements be introduced into the workplace? And is it necessarily a good thing?

With gamification methods integrated into organizations’ enterprise systems, employees can be motivated to make goals and maintain productivity. Gamification provides meaning to the meaningless, enabling employees to adapt an alternative perspective of their work. An unbearable task can now be reframed as part of a game rather than a waste of time. Employees don’t have to rely on their superiors for positive feedback, but instead can receive it directly from the game, thus making employees more willing to engage.  

However, at the core of this question is a bigger issue.  What has happened to leadership teams that make employees feel deprived of recognition?  Enterprise 2.0 is a great mechanism for increasing engagement and connectivity among employees but it should not be used as a substitute for the relationships they have with their managers.  In our plugged in society, we need to pay more attention to the heart (of the issue and of one’s employees) and operate Enterprise 2.0 first and foremost under a Human to Human system. 

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