The Enlightened Manifesto supports a larger mission to increase business productivity. It reviews 21st Century workplace cultures and engagement practices to suggest a more enlightened way forward. This new way incorporates five core values as outlined below. It was developed prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, yet now is of even greater significance in this post-pandemic world.
Our vision is an enlightened world where business culture promotes a workforce fully engaged with their work as they complete tasks.
Our mission is to help companies make productivity gain a reality by embedding the 5 values of the Enlightened Manifesto throughout their organization.
BACKGROUND - The Culture
Business culture is built upon layers of tradition and process; occasionally disrupted by new technology.
Late 19th century telecommunication, transport & architecture, led to centralized administration; introducing archetypes such as filing, in-trays and pigeonholes. This lasted 100 years.
The Personal Computer
Late 20th century computerization, word processors and PCs replaced the filing cabinet with the digital folder. The birth of email with attached office documents sped up business communication. This lasted 30 years.
The Always-on Generation
Early 21st century smartphones and the cloud derailed office/home boundaries. Information Technology struggles to match expectations of enterprise software and consumer (user) apps. As has been the case for the past decade.
The Gig Economy
We are now seeing emergence of digital marketplaces that stimulate flexible working and freelancing; changing expectations of “regular employment”.
Increase workplace productivity by shifting focus away from practices imposed by old technology, towards those created by people based on their own sense of engagement with the work.
The Productivity Challenge
UK plc productivity has declined in recent years against other comparable economies. Further, Norfolk and Suffolk tend to underperform (as recognised by New Anglia LEP).
A steadily increasing workload is seemingly an unavoidable part of modern life; as are personal pressures across all life-spheres. That, coupled with the ‘always-on’ culture shift, results in the constant struggle with work/life balance.
Cost of absenteeism
“In 2015/16 stress accounted for 37% of all work related ill health cases and 45% of all working days lost due to ill health.” - HSE, 2016
The Employee Engagement Solution
“A workplace approach designed to ensure that employees are committed to their organisation’s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organisational success, and are able at the same time to enhance their own sense of well-being” - Engaging for success, 2009
Engage for Success
Many employee engagement resources are available; including the ‘Engage for Success’ website, endorsed by the CIPD, that aims to grow awareness and aid practitioners. It specifies as its four enablers: Strategic Narrative, Engaging Managers, Employee Voice, and Integrity.
Engage With The Work
Generally, attention is focused on improving employee engagement at the workplace. There is a more deep-rooted issue which needs to be addressed; employee engagement with the work.
The five core values:
Analyse processes continuously
Often, active processes actually hamper productivity and are a constant irritation to employees. Most detrimental perhaps, are those that evolved organically without any systematic analysis or design.
Balance work activity accordingly
Addressing the needs of the work/life balance, requires understanding that broad brush rules are too restrictive to be able to maximize efficiency from each employee.
Communicate without impediment
It is not necessarily the case that improved team communication increases productivity, as project communication is not the same as project information.
Consider instead that impediments to team communication decrease productivity.
Define tasks clearly
Small companies generally email work to be done. Large companies have requirements documentation prepared with business analysis and stakeholder input.
The rest should adopt more appropriate means of work breakdown, assignment, and tracking.
Empower employee independence
With mature work definition, employees are empowered to complete tasks their own way; teams are empowered with the delegated authority to make decisions.