zoning out at desk
Employees often enter a job filled with energy and enthusiasm, but unless you take steps to keep them engaged, that enthusiasm will quickly drain away PHOTO: Simon Law

Renewable energy overtook fossil fuels in 2016, accounting for more than half of the world’s electrical capacity according to the International Energy Agency. Regardless of your stance on global warming, it’s hard to argue against the first law of thermodynamics, which states that energy output can never exceed energy input.

So, if we extend the laws of physics to the business world, it stands to reason that if you build an organizational ecosystem that doesn’t replenish resources, you will eventually grind to a halt — just like a sad non-Energizer bunny.

Provide a Digital Workplace Infrastructure

Employees often come to work full of energy and enthusiasm, only to have those feelings dissipate over time, leaving a disengaged team that clocks in and clocks out but isn’t applying its talent and creative energy to solving company and customer problems.

But providing the right infrastructure via a digital workplace can ensure that your employees generate sustained and positive energy that continues to benefit your organization.

$3 Trillion Each Year in Lost Productivity

Run electrical energy through a wire and some of it will dissipate as heat. Similarly, a recent productivity study showed that the average organization loses more than 20 percent of its productive capacity — that’s one day each week — to so-called organizational drag, or the existing structures and processes that inhibit your organization’s productivity.

For example, an article last year by Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini, co-founders of The Management Innovation eXchange, reported this problem is costing the US economy more than $3 trillion each year in lost output.

Identifying and Reducing Organizational Drag

Where is your organization’s drag? What is causing your positive organizational energy to become destructive heat? There are likely to be many culprits such as excessive emails and unnecessary meetings that exhaust everyone and contribute nothing.

These, and other major offenders, can be addressed through the thoughtful creation and implementation of a digital workplace: Reduce noise via targeted announcements and relevant enterprise social communication. Create a resource repository and provide clear task assignments, instead of simply distributing post-meeting minutes or emailing status updates.

What’s more, time spent searching for resources, both human and otherwise, can be minimized using a personalized interface that provides relevant links and allows for skill-based searching. For example, need someone who knows about SharePoint, or lottery permits or zoning legislation? A five-second search should give you the connections you need to power on.

Harnessing Your Organization’s Kinetic Energy

Like the electricity captured by your car’s alternator, there is energy to be gained from movement. A growing, fast-paced organization generally has this same palpable buzz — easy to achieve in a startup, but not so simple to maintain in a maturing business.

One way to capitalize on the momentum you already have is to feed it back into your organization through a cycle of achievement and celebration. One way to keep the positive energy alive is to use your intranet to help your whole organization recognize the wins of individual departments, especially by highlighting the successes of often-unsung heroes like Accounting or Customer Service.

Perhaps your HR department has developed an easier process for PTO applications, or your accounting department has aced a client audit. Publicly celebrating their valuable contributions reinforces the feeling of belonging to a winning team — an innovative business that generates its own electricity.

Amplify Your Employees’ Energy

Any ecosystem that relies entirely on its own energy will eventually run down. Staff turnover, environmental pressures or existential malaise can challenge the enthusiasm of even the most engaged teams.

To offset these negative forces, senior management must gather external energy and refract it back into the workplace by sharing industry information and positive outcomes, as well as reinforcing the value of everyone’s daily contributions.

Again, an intranet is the obvious platform for this exchange, and it should be a dynamic exchange, where all staff members feed energy back to the C-suite. Open the conversation internally, and encourage insights from everyone.

Participation in industry events is another way to harness environmental energy, expose your staff to exciting new developments and connect with other individuals who share similar goals and experiences. Embrace the power beyond your organization and don’t let your business become a closed system.

Invest in Proper Maintenance

Like any well-oiled machine, devoting the proper maintenance to your organization’s moving parts will improve system efficiency and minimize energy loss.

Once you have implemented solutions to reduce organizational drag and created positive energy by communicating wins and highlighting achievements at the industry or regional levels, it’s time to circle back to optimize your results.

Examine what is working, where additional training might assist and which areas might need some new parts. Through proper maintenance and by strategically leveraging your intranet platform, you can will create a healthy ecosystem within your organization that delivers perpetual, positive energy.