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From Corporate - Edition #21

How to motivate knowledge workers.

ScreenCloud Post

Please note: From Corporate is now The Connected Company. If you’re interested in receiving insightful stories and articles on the future of work every month, sign up here.

If you’ve ever come across the term “Knowledge Worker” you might know that:

1. The eight-hour workday was founded in the Industrial Revolution, as a way of regulating industrial work and preventing overwork.

2. We are no longer in the industrial age.

3. For “Knowledge workers” i.e. someone whose work depends on their brain rather than their hands, you might need to half that.

But aside from reducing a 40-hour workweek down to 20 (we’re not sure the world is quite ready for that), we’re looking at what else can be done to support, surprise, and delight today’s employees.

From studies to insights and tips from some of the most productive workplaces in 2019, let’s unearth the findings.


Who are today’s employees and what motivates them?

In our search to understand modern-day employees, we happened across this collection of insights, based on studies ranging from as far back as 1988 (when Peter Drucker first coined the term ‘Knowledge Worker’), about what today’s workforce are really looking for. Here are some stand out insights:

  • “Tacit” knowledge makes for more effective employees in today’s workforce, including that of intuition, insights, and experience, over systems, formal education, and knowledge of processes.
  • A “knowledge-supporting” culture is defined by low-level office politics, a shared stake in outcomes, stimulating and varied work, and cooperation instead of competition.
  • According to the American Productivity & Quality Centre, creating internal “communities” and networks for knowledge sharing is key to improving employee thinking and development.
  • A study by CIPD found that performance management, led by the employee, results in a high sense of ownership and suits the knowledge worker, who feels sensitive by vague assessments of what they prize most; their skills and knowledge.

How to

Improve your emotional culture at work

How your employees express themselves at work, and how they manage their own emotions, all contribute to what tuned-in observers are calling the workplace’s “emotional culture”. Improving yours means facilitating more opportunities for honest and direct conversations and trying to reduce negative emotions like stress or frustration before they take hold. Check out these tips on how to boost your emotional culture.


"Knowledge creation depends partly on the effectiveness of knowledge-sharing processes within the organization."

—CIPD study on Knowledge Workers, 2004


Automating employee onboarding

You know how you can order something from Amazon and have it delivered the next day? Wouldn’t it be nice if your employee onboarding worked as seamlessly? We thought so, which is why we reviewed how we do employee onboarding at ScreenCloud, leading to a system where 95% of the journey is automated from the point of the new recruit saying “I accept”. Learn more about it here.

Don’t believe the hype

While workplace wellness programs have become a common way for employers to try and increase employee health and wellbeing, a recent study from Harvard found “unimpressive” results. Creating the first multisite, randomized controlled trial of a workplace wellness program, they found that its introduction created “no significant differences” to employee BMI, blood pressure, absenteeism levels, or job performance.

Developing digital fluency

Digital tools have become synonymous with getting more done, faster. But is that the case for all employees? In this guide, productivity expert Sally McGhee discusses how to use digital governance and usage audits to set every employee up for success - not just the ones born digital. 

What 10 years taught me about employee motivation

For almost ten years, Claire Lew has been considering what motivates employees. You know what she found? That it isn’t up to leaders to motivate but to build a context for employees to produce good work based on their own motivation. Here's how.

Fighting burnout together

Employee wellness is more front of mind than ever, but that doesn’t mean that burnout is at bay. Which is why we liked this insight into how EY created “The Energy Project” in order to fight burnout together.

If you liked these stories and want to be the first to see them, sign up for our monthly newsletter.

PS. Thanks to Husna Miskandar on Unsplash for the great cover photo 👍🏻

 SC Gradient

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