Newsflash: People aren’t possessions. So why do we insist on treating workers like commodities?
Once upon a time, employees and companies enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship. Workers stayed with one company for their entire careers, taking pride in their output and putting their noses to the grindstone for the sake of the organization. In return, companies offered pension plans, training, development opportunities, and reasonable work hours.
Let’s face it: For many workers, the annual Employee Engagement Survey is meaningless.
Once a year, employees throw their opinions onto a form that goes…well, somewhere. They see no real changes as a result of their participation. The next year, the same questions appear on a survey and the same thing happens. The experience feels transactional and shrouded in mystery, then wildly disappointing as any hopes for change fade quietly into the middle of quarter two. This “traditional” Employee Engagement Survey process actually ends up provoking more disengagement.
Poor Employee Engagement Survey experiences seem to be a part of a bigger problem: In its most recent report on the State of the American Workplace, Gallup shared some troubling data: only 33% of the American workforce reports feeling engaged at work. These “engaged” folks feel valued, enjoy their work, and are motivated to take part in improving their organizations. The rest are either not engaged (just “going through the motions”), or worse, actively disengaged (actually working to subvert or destroy what others at work build).
In other words, American organizations are failing two-thirds of our workforce. The report makes one thing very clear: If organizations are going to rise to meet this challenge, they are going to have to transform the ways they are used to managing people, and quickly.
Letting your guard down basically boils down to one thing… being appropriately vulnerable in your communication, which in turn promotes a culture of trust. This diagram is a simple visual showing a different way to achieve effective management and stronger leadership.
A few weeks ago, my wife and I took our six-year-old son on the requisite pilgrimage to LEGOLAND Theme Park in Carlsbad, California. As an avid LEGO “Master Builder”, my son was beyond excited to spend two days completely immersed in brick-building adventures. As a secret LEGO lover myself, I have to admit, I was pretty stoked as well.
I’d never been LEGOLAND before, so I had an opportunity to experience the park with zero expectations — minus the lingering concerns of crowds and hour-long lines that any parent faces with two days in a theme park.
Not only did our family have a great time; we spent most of our flight home reliving the details. And as we put the pieces of our trip back together, I began to deeply appreciate LEGOLAND’s approach to building an exceptional customer experience for their fans.
We hear it all the time. The continuous chatter of experts reiterating the same old talking points about what organizations need to do to engage and retain their workforce.
But, is any of it working? Gallup recently reported that nearly 70 percent of U.S. employees are disengaged, and 51 percent are looking for new opportunities. Even more problematic is the fact that these numbers have stayed stagnant for at least 15 years.
So, what if our ideas about employee retention are all wrong? What if we are being held captive by our own beliefs and assumptions about the very nature and structure of work in today’s society?
Get on a Southwest flight to anywhere, buy shoes from Zappos.com, pants from Nordstrom, groceries from Whole Foods, anything from Costco, a Starbucks espresso, or a Double-Double from In N’ Out, and you’ll get a taste of these brands’ vibrant cultures.
Culture is a balanced blend of human psychology, attitudes, actions, and beliefs that combine to create either pleasure or pain, serious momentum or miserable stagnation. A strong culture flourishes with a clear set of values and norms that actively guide the way a company operates. Employees are actively and passionately engaged in the business, operating from a sense of confidence and empowerment rather than navigating their days through miserably extensive procedures and mind-numbing bureaucracy.
Feeling burned out at work is both frustrating and exhausting. Even if you enjoy some parts of your job, the continual stress can be overwhelming. If you feel overworked and under-appreciated, it’s easy to feel angry and resentful toward your team members or your boss.
Occupational burnout is characterized by exhaustion, lack of enthusiasm and motivation, feelings of ineffectiveness, frustration, and cynicism, and results in reduced efficacy (the ability to produce your desired results) within the workplace (Wikipedia).
If this sounds like you, you’re not alone. Nearly 70 percent of U.S. workers feel the same way, though this shouldn’t be too surprising. At its core, occupational burnout is caused by excessive and prolonged stress. And these days, the workplace is more stressful than ever.
Most people in my life know I have a passion for running. However, most people in my life do not know that running is much more than just my cardio routine; it is a daily reminder that I am consistently setting and conquering new goals, which is especially important when other areas of my life feel dull.
My passion for running is not only apparent in my closet, stacked high with old running sneakers. It’s also reflected in my professional life.
Trust is a fickle thing. It takes time to build and can be destroyed in a heartbeat. In the workplace, trust is undeniably important. The level of trust an employee has for his or her peers and leadership often defines the line between a happy, engaged worker and an unproductive body filling a cubicle chair.
Yes, trust is a critical component of every successful workplace culture. So why is it so difficult to achieve?
Since day one, my goal as marketing manager at gothamCulture has been to promote our team’s in-depth knowledge and understanding of workplace culture.
We have a diverse group of folks here, with over sixty years combined experience in culture change, leadership development, and strategic planning for both private and public organizations of all sizes. We understand that while most people know what organizational culture is, not everyone is an expert on the subject, and we take great pride in our relatable approach to helping leaders learn to navigate today’s ever-changing business landscape.
I strive to make this blog a hub of valuable information that reflects this relatable expertise, and over the past year, we’ve written some great articles that do just that.
Here, I’ve collected our seven most popular articles about organizational culture change for 2016. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.