When speaking with managers about changes in the workplace, we sometimes hear statements like “This is not profitable, it’s just to make Generation Y feel better.” Or “This is just for startups and doesn’t apply to our established (manufacturing) business.” But changes in the workplace are here to stay.
Leaders see this as an opportunity for growth and make changes to move towards connected and responsive collaboration. And research shows that agile or responsive organizations grow nine times faster than their legacy peers, and they have more satisfied employees. *
Buurtzorg, a Dutch care provider, is creating a workplace where nurses work in independent, self-managed teams with the goal to support patients to become self-sufficient. No fixed tasks. Through this method of organization, Buurtzorg’s patients consume just 40% of care they are entitled to, resulting in a patient satisfaction score 30% above the national average. Despite a tight labor market, more than 2,000 nurses joined Buurtzorg in just two years.
Another example is Semco, a maker of industrial machinery with roots in building equipment for the naval industry. It has been called the most radical workplace in the world. Employees work in small self-motivated, self-managed teams and take all decisions regarding hiring, layoffs and strategy. No managers, no HR department, no written policies and no office hours. In Brazil’s 10-year recession, Semco’s revenue grew 600%, profits 500%, productivity 700% and employee turnover was only 1-2% per year.
These are just a couple of example, for a broader insight I recommend taking a look at the full Semco story in the book ‘The Seven-Day Weekend’ by Ricardo Semler. You can also find many more examples of progressive organizations in Frederic Laloux’s book ‘Reinventing Organizations’.