The answer, at least in part, Hill says, is to insist the rules your company plays by are the same rules as for your employees. Your company runs a trade-based system where offering more value to your customers than your competition means your company wins. Hill argues organizations can change the rules of the employee game by instituting a trade-based network within the corporate and by potentially directly connecting each employee to the customer regardless of their location in the pyramid.
"There is no reason not to start implementing this trade-based structure in our corporations today. Remember the pyramid structure exists because we all agree it does and we act accordingly. Once we all agree that a trade-based structure exists, it exists. We just need a head start on the systems to support it. Once you do you'll find you have real sustainable competitive advantage over your competition because your employees are now playing the same game and by the same rules as your company," he says.
That means, for a start, introducing systems designed around a trade-based structure, including ideas like:
- Investing in employment futures (individual or group) by offering to pay university fees for each new graduate you hire in exchange for a portion of their future earnings
- Offering bonuses to HR team mentors when employees receive a promotion to encourage them to invest time in managing the employee's career.
- Restructuring your Knowledge Management to more closely resemble the Internet - where everyone is a potential valued contributor - than the current pyramid system where only a select few people are empowered to define, create and post knowledge. People freely contribute to the Internet in return for being recognized as an expert or at least as knowledgeable in their area. It should be the same within the organization, Hill says.
- Turning your organization into an Invention development factory where employees are offered a financial incentive to bring you new ideas for products and services
- Creating a Rewards Bank, modelled on customer loyalty reward systems, by which employees receive a 'frequent flyer' mile or point every time they save your company money.
- Consider finding a way to trade employees' latent time on the model introduced by Odesk.com. "Perhaps you need an on-demand project-based workforce that can scale on a global basis? ... What if you were to put all your project-based employees on this system? Each time they had idle time they could be working for a non-competing company, producing additional revenue for your company. This might be a viable alternative to corporate downsizing.
- Project Management scheduling system - Eliminate bottlenecks and work backlogs for projects by creating a 'project task marketplace' where all employees can bid on tasks, taking workload off overworked employees. This works because employees have additional talents beyond the job they've been hired for and they often look for opportunities to put those skills to work.
- Project accelerator - avoid project overruns by planning for projects to finish early. Manage the process so that for each task that finishes early the time is captured and adjust the project completion time to finish sooner.
Which systems should you implement right away? Rate them according to complexity and urgency, then find what it would take to make it happen in your company by asking your employees, Hill recommends. Remember, they're going to make this work for you so enlisting their support early on in the process will be an important win for you.
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