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Greenhouse performance boost via workplace innovation

Vigorous technical innovation has been a hallmark of greenhouse horticulture for decades. While automation and robotics have replaced some of the manual labour, people continue to play a key role in the working environment. In order to meet future requirements, labour innovation will also be essential.

Motivation of the employee as a success factor

The aim is optimum performance of workers in the greenhouse, which can be defined as high productivity in combination with job satisfaction and engagement. Adding game mechanisms to the work process has a highly beneficial impact on job satisfaction, collaboration, and productivity. Gamification can be seen as enriching existing processes with game elements and mechanisms. It employs short-cycle feedback and proven motivational mechanisms in the primary process in a manner that is agreeable, interesting, and stimulating for the employee.

Approach

Impediments and opportunities with respect to performance (efficiency of labour) and the employee (workload, job satisfaction, engagement, team spirit) are identified through analysis of the optimum deployment of people in the process and the various process steps. These are then linked to targets and translated into game elements and mechanisms for achieving those targets. Examples include Big Mouth, the 'paper gobbler' at the Efteling amusement park, who says 'thank you' when you toss waste in his mouth, a countdown game that challenges workers to finish a task within the given time, and a 'knowledge quiz' to motivate workers to produce more, attain higher quality or gain more company knowledge.

Expertise

Process and organizational changes can be achieved through such forms of gamification, leading to increased motivation and quality consciousness. Instruments and tools have been developed by TNO for this purpose. The approach includes the use of social media as a work platform, strengthening the company's innovative capacity and tapping into employee engagement as a springboard for learning and working.

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