Imagine a place where people enjoy going to a municipal agency. Or: to the bank. Hard to imagine? – That may be true if you’re used to having to pore over yet another ten-page form with fine print and all sorts of cryptic phrases. But there is another way. Innovative work options that are geared towards what people really want – customers and employees alike – are making their way into administrations and companies at the intersection of the public and private sectors.
The Rostock Way: Administration with a smile
Imagine a municipal agency that you enter with a smile and leave with an even bigger smile. This is the vision of one of the best-known innovators at the administrative level: Rostock Mayor Claus Ruhe Madsen. His “Smile City” approach places the people of the city at the core of all official activities, in the spirit of New Work. To achieve this, he relies on openness, collaboration, and the breaking down of silos, as well as a culture of internal and external networking. This way, he creates comprehensible administrative structures in which the city’s citizens know exactly whom they can turn to with their concerns. Take building construction, for example: Instead of different departments (building department, land registry department, environmental department,…) with, at times, conflicting interests, there should be just one point of contact in the future: the “department of buildings”. Instead of the youth welfare office, the civil registry office, the parental allowance office, etc., a single “family office” is planned to make the lives of families in the city as easy as possible. The employees of the various departments will be connected and work WITH each other instead of behind closed doors. And: each employee takes responsibility for the entire “product”, not just for one step in the process. In order to make self-efficacy tangible for the employees in administration, Claus Ruhe Madsen relies on the “Good Day Policy”. Employees should ask themselves: When was a workday good, productive, and successful – for example when they helped a family get off to a good start with a newborn child? This question should become the guiding principle for the actions of all employees in administration.
Open Data in Helsinki: Even further north – even better connected
Another good example is the city of Helsinki, which relies on open data and thus operates maximally networked with its citizens, founders, and companies. For example, traffic data is collected consistently and made visible, which allows the city to react quickly to bottlenecks in local public transportation. Residents can report road damage or broken swings on playgrounds to the administration via smartphone. This makes it possible for these problems to be addressed unbureaucratically within a few days. All of the collected data, as well as information on construction projects in the city, can be viewed by citizens. Start-ups that want to contribute ideas to make the city even more livable are invited to use the data and develop new smart tools.
Health insurance companies: Administration under competitive conditions
The importance of blazing new trails is also moving higher up on the agenda of health insurance companies. They operate at the intersection of the public and private sectors, thus fulfilling an important social duty, and are nevertheless subject to market-based processes that increase the pressure to innovate. They must be open to improvements to be able to provide good service for their active members and continuously attract new members. Competition among health insurance companies brings movement into their often huge administrative structures. However, the pace of change varies greatly. While some insurance companies are only just tentatively attempting some work-from-home options due to the pandemic, others are already much further along. One of the pioneers in terms of digital corporate culture is “pronova BKK”. Since December 2020, the company has been using Tandemploy SaaS to promote internal networking among employees and establish new ways of working. With the help of the software, employees can get together across departments for lunch dates and expert exchanges, set up projects, or apply for a colleague’s project.
HASPA: Good employee experience – good customer experience
The Hamburger Sparkasse (HASPA) is taking a similar approach. It is considered one of the pioneers in an industry that is known to be very conservative. With a version of the Tandemploy talent marketplace that is precisely tailored to the company’s needs, HASPA employees can come together for job sharing, generational exchange, expert exchange, or virtual and in-person lunch dates. In recent years, the internal transformation has enabled the bank to completely reposition itself towards its customers – more contemporary, more innovative, and always with the best possible customer experience in mind. A good employee experience makes it possible! Because in networked organizations, employees meet as equals, enjoy developing new ideas, and have the necessary freedom to try them out. It is exactly this willingness to experiment that is needed to lead industries with a more conservative image into the future. The banking industry in particular shows in many places how this can be done, whether with innovation hubs, targeted collaboration with startups, or simply a culture of listening and exchanging ideas with one another.
In the work context, there are probably few things that make people happier than feeling their own self-efficacy, integrated into a team that is working toward a common goal. Supported by smart technology that is designed to benefit people, we can build “Smile Cities” and “Smile Companies” everywhere. #tandemployvibes