GE's self-managed teams are raising productivity, employee satisfaction

Dive Brief:

  • General Electric Co,'s self-managed employees are making the concept of "teaming" work, reports Quartz. The company's employees have control over their work and how it gets done without managers or supervisors as overseers. 
  • GE calls its self-management system “teaming," whereby groups of employees decide what task or procedure needs to be done and how they should do it. At the company's Bromont, Canada, facility, workers have coaches instead of supervisors, who give goals rather than strict directives.
  • The teams manage traditional supervisory tasks such as planning and scheduling production, setting overtime and vacation policies, and improving manufacturing processes. Employees from each team also sit on “councils” alongside company leaders, including HR, and have input into promotions, firings and overtime decisions. 

Dive Insight:

Under "teaming," GE leans on irs employees to understand and take ownership of their work — a key way to engage employees almost immediately. Autonomy can increase employee satisfaction and its by-product, productivity. Employers that value employee input and allow them autonomy over how the work gets done tend to see higher rates of happiness, even when pay may be lower than at other companies. Small businesses tend to be good at this, explaining some of their high rates of happiness despite fewer resources.

Today's workplaces are flatter with less hierarchy. With top-down management styles on the way out, organizations must rely on and cultivate workers' self-management capabilities. That means recruiting for soft-skills, such as communication and empathy, to ensure potential leaders coming up the pipeline are ready to listen to employees and manage appropriately.

Filed Under: Recruiting HR Management