So far, we have covered several emotional quotient (EQ) items that are important to creating an innovative climate. The first step was to change your organization so that employees care. Then you showed them trust, an important second gesture of your good faith in them. Actively asking them for input and listening to their reply allowed them to engage in solutions to problems. Another important EQ item is fun.
Fun in the workplace is often considered unproductive. Imagine if it was productive. What if you could make engagement fun? For example, gaming is popular and could be a way to harness the collective genius of your company. If done correctly, it will let those self-forming groups play together on the company’s behalf.
When crafting a game, be sure you capture their intellectual energy in a way that can be measured and compared. Make sure you have a recognition and reward mechanism in your game, too. Give your introverts an atmosphere that is safe for them to express their thoughts. Do not allow unproductive behavior (sarcasm, idea-attacking, etc.) into the game. If you make the game fun, people will want to play it. Invite everyone to play and make sure new employees are trained on the game as soon as they arrive. They will be poised to contribute from day one—especially if you host an on-boarding party, as mentioned in a previous post. Make the game on-line and mobile so employees can participate any time, anywhere. Make sure it is multi-lingual, so those that are not entirely comfortable with English will still have a voice. Not speaking English well will cause even your foreign extroverts to go quiet. Make very sure that your leadership team is not only behind the game but active in the game. You don’t want leadership controlling the game or the teams. But you do want them to play. You want everyone involved at all levels in the organization. Since these managers do the performance reviews, you should make participation in the game a part of everyone’s evaluation (including the managers). Make sure the game has Energizer Bunnies. These are the people who keep ideas alive through baby steps and feedback.
There are several games on the market. Generally, these will cost less than one full-time employee. You could also create a game internally. As an example, I researched several offerings before deciding to create MutualFun—a collaborative, stock market-like game that fosters innovation.
Whatever you decide, if the game is rite for you, it’s a 24/7 application that works on your behalf to get extra things done.