Healthy companies don't happen by accident. They're the result of an engaged leadership that creates a culture of care. Studies show that happy employees are more productive and their companies have a healthier bottom line.
So why does the Gallup poll tell us that nearly 70 percent of employees are actively disengaged?
Here are 3 things we get wrong and how to fix them ...
1. Ignore the human quotient.
All things considered equal, people choose to work with people they like more than any other factor. In sales, relationship (not product) is king. In choosing places to work, people will bring their talents to a company that has a reputation for caring about their employees and not treating them as resources that can be discarded at any given whim. In fact, the #1 reason why people leave their company according the largest management study ever conducted? Their boss.
Some companies make the mistake of placing the “customer first” even over their own people. This formula has also been proven to fail. Well cared for employees will go above and beyond in taking care of their clients. Just as an empty cup cannot pour what it does not have, so your people will not invest the same amount of effort into your clients if they are feeling devalued themselves.
2. Foster hypocrisy.
Did you hear about the employee who chased the manager for months about getting a meeting to address an issue only to find themselves blamed when the issue ended up costing the company money? These sorts of challenges happen all the time and the easiest thing to do would be to ‘say nothing’ and to allow the leadership to blame others for the mistakes.
Healthy companies do not “blame people” but rather blame the processes and when something is broken, the leaders take extreme ownership. Nothing can demotivate a well-intended team of people faster than allowing small incidences like this to go unchecked. In companies that are inspired, the teammates are on guard for the little hypocrisies that can create big resentments even when they are done unintentionally. Creating a culture where staff can call open challenge decisions that seem hypocritical, strengthens the relationship between everyone. Nothing builds trust faster than a leader who admits “You’re right. We did say that and now it does appear we are doing the opposite. Let’s discuss how we got here.”
3. Suppress questions.
If you take a quick read through the headlines of companies that experience catastrophic events, you will learn that one of the biggest challenges in their culture was that people were afraid to ask probing questions for fear of retribution. The fear is real and there are numerous cautionary tales where executives were fired for asking legitimate and probing questions.
Ask employees how “questioning their leaders” would be received and you will immediately know the health of a culture. If they reply with comments (even in humor) such as “not if I want to keep my job” or “What was the last name of the guy who did that again?” there’s a problem. If on the other hand, they reply with “You want to see? I’ll go do it right now.” Or “We do that everyday? Why?” then you can be assured of a much healthier culture.
Creating an inspiring culture does not just happen. It is a focused, daily, effort that requires continuous gardening in order to help grow a culture that will thrive.
An increasing number of organizations are finding interesting lessons in the art of play, and more specifically in "gamification."
Gamification recognizes that human behaviour revolves around the need for "validation" and "rewards" so finding what things are most meaningful to your employees in those areas and simple ways of "making it so" can be game-changers.
When employees are highly engaged morale goes up, productivity goes up and so do your profits.
While more companies are leading with empathy and wellness, employee engagement is often misunderstood and sometimes harder to translate into real ROI. Here are 10 things you should know right now ...