Yesterday was a good day. The ERGOLAB team is working with a leading luxury goods manufacturer and marketer to address high risk tasks within production facilities. The program is moving forward nicely, our redesign is in test phase, solution validation is right around the corner. Company A is thrilled with the outcome.
The day BEFORE yesterday…that day wasn’t quite as good. Similar work on behalf of a different ERGOLAB client continues to stall out, lose momentum and focus. This task redesign work lauched months before the above mentioned case study, yet we have little to show for it. Company B is frustrated, and rightly so.
At first blush, the clients are very similar; industry leaders, global brands, organizational commitment to Ergonomic practices. So….why the difference? Why is Company A so much further along that Company B?
One word. EMPOWERMENT.
At Company A, the culture encourages and rewards employee ‘intrapreneurship’ (think entrepreneurship BUT inside a company structure, not out). Have a new idea to streamline a process and improve productivity? Pitch the idea to your up line manager. Company A employees are expected to partner with management in the continuous improvement initiatives of the company. As consultants, ERGOLAB gets to partner with client employees who are engaged and invested in the program and it’s outcomes. There is nothing better than working within a client community of people with pride, enthusiasm, and passion for their work and workplace. Empowered employees make us look good.
Company B does not practice an Empowerment management philosophy. Employee roles are narrowly defined. Suggestions are accepted, but rarely acted upon. The employees want to participate in making their workplace a better place, but the current management style doesn’t allow for that type of a role. Driving positive change at Company B is a challenge; as our ERGOLAB methodologies require employee participation and collaboration in all phases of solution development and testing. Our biggest hurdle is often MANAGEMENT; their need to control and edit employee involvement and access to ALL the information is a real roadblock.
So…what about your company? As an employer, have you created an environment that encourages employee empowerment?
To paraphrase Lao Tzu in the Tao of Leadership;
The leader is best…
When his work is done, his aim fulfilled,
The people say, ‘We did it ourselves.