Frithjof Bergmann is the founder of the “New Work” concept. It emerged in the 1980s as a counter-model to socialism and describes a type of work that workers see as meaningful and actually want to do.
Some well-known New Work measures have already found their way into many organizations: Fitness offers, home office, child care, agile working methods, design thinking, coworking spaces, flexible working hours, table football in the break room, and much more.
These measures are intended in particular to increase the level of performance and offer a balance to the stressful everyday working life. Companies that practice New Work are more attractive to employees. But those who join the New Work trend without a plan can also fail. More flexibility, personal responsibility, and agility mean that individuals have to manage themselves. This does not suit everyone and does not fit every company structure. That is why preparatory work must be done:
The appropriate corporate culture
In order to be able to implement the New Work, a suitable corporate culture is needed. We need to think carefully about the effects we want to achieve and what kind of culture this requires. Are my employees open to change? If not, how can we change that? To make one thing clear – a culture changes over years, it cannot simply be transformed and reintroduced within 2 or 3 months.</div>In order to be able to implement the New Work, a suitable corporate culture is needed. We need to think carefully about the effects we want to achieve and what kind of culture this requires. Are my employees open to change? If not, how can we change that? To make one thing clear – a culture changes over years, it cannot simply be transformed and reintroduced within 2 or 3 months.
Culture cannot be chosen, it shows the image of the prevailing conditions. It cannot simply be steered in a certain direction. The appeal “We have to communicate more with each other” has little effect on its own, because communication is something you do as long as the context allows it. So if you want more communication, you have to change the context instead of making appeals.
The corporate culture is based, among other things, on the system of shared values. Therefore, it is important to create awareness and space for communicating one’s own values as a first step. An analysis of the value structures of each employee can show how one’s own values can best be lived in the work context and also creates an understanding of the value orientation of others.
The shared values can be made visible at team level to highlight commonalities and define a common mission.
Identify error factors
Managers are faced with the great challenge of having to recognize which concepts are only “quite nice” for their own company and which actually lead to an increase in performance. The foosball table in the break room certainly leads to employees having a good balance to their work and free drinks increase the feel-good factor, but unfortunately, they do not have any influence on the performance of the organization.
New Work measures should always be checked for their measurability. Can I determine whether the performance of my teams has really improved as a result of the measure, or do I have to rely on pure gut feeling?
Generally, it is important to increase the feel-good factor of the employees, because if I feel good at my workplace, I also go to work with a positive feeling and am more committed.
But low performance is usually not caused by a missing foosball table, but by stressful and overstraining work. Many employees even find themselves in the wrong roles – without even realizing it.
Employees do not become more productive if they are offered a better balance in their work. They become more productive when the actual work can be spent meaningfully. A kicker won’t change the bad working conditions.
It is therefore important to make the error factors visible in order to find the appropriate measures that will ultimately make the work area of each individual meaningful and value-oriented.
It should also be ensured that each employee acts in a team role that is appropriate for him or her. Functional roles are based on learnable and applicable skills such as software knowledge, while team roles are based on individual preferences and values. To find out who fits into which team role, it is important to take time in the team to understand one’s own team architecture and to distribute the team roles in a meaningful way so that increased satisfaction in the workplace is ensured.
Taking group dynamics into account
Team performance depends on knowledge of group dynamics and clear communication about how roles are understood. These dynamics can be made visible with the help of simple digital analyses and queries.
A good “gut feeling” alone is no longer decisive; data-based approaches can support decisions in an evidence-based manner. Value-based approaches paired with measurable data make it possible to leverage the full potential of teams and measure team effectiveness.
The digital team instrument from MONDAY.ROCKS uses 16 criteria and 48 questions to determine where the unused potential of a team’s employees lies, where their optimal areas of application are, and how each member can contribute to effective goal achievement. The results are clearly presented on the company dashboard. This offers the possibility of keeping an eye on the development of the teams at the company level.