Tony Schwartz is the CEO and founder of The Energy Project and bestselling author of The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working, published in 2010.
Is there a company of any significant size that doesn’t seek and venerate “employee engagement?”
Twelve years ago, a colleague and I wrote a book called “The Power of Full Engagement.” The concept now needs a major overhaul.
For the last two decades, measuring employee engagement has been the primary way that large companies try to determine their employees’ level of commitment and productivity. In turn, dozens of studies have reported a correlation between high employee engagement and performance. Nearly every large organization now administers some form of engagement survey to its workers.
So what’s the problem?
With new software applications coming out every day, technology continues to offer a solution for any business need. Slack is shifting the way teams communicate, Hackpad allows for collaborative creation, and this blog wouldn’t exist without WordPress. But the most powerful business tool was actually invented long ago and was only recently perfected through technology – it’s the question.
That’s right, questions. Just think about the most successful companies. Google began as a search engine, literally your one stop resource for any answer. Apple continues to astonish the world by asking, “how can we do _______ better?”
“Culture” was Merriam-Webster’s 2014 Word of the Year. While it seems a bit odd that words are given accolades, the fact that this word was the winner comes as no surprise.
According to Fortune, business leaders are focused on workplace culture to draw the best talent and to make lists like the 100 Best Companies to Work For.
More business than ever before are blogging about their successes and failures in this arena. This trend in transparency is showing that it’s less about ping pong tables and free beer. Strong cultures focus on providing meaning, building relationships, and seeing employees as whole human beings. Try these 11 strategies to transform your business from the inside out:
A recent Forbes article asked the question, “Does Crying Kill Your Career?” This sparks an important conversation about the necessity for an authentic human experience in the workplace. Crying is viewed by many as unprofessional, regardless of gender. However, behaving professionally does not mean that we cease to be human.
Stoicism has little value in the modern workplace as connection and a sense of safety allow employees to perform their best, most creative work. Sometimes emotions get the better of us, and it is far better to release by crying and seek help than to just suppress the feelings and keep pushing through.
Many people become uncomfortable around tears due to fear. Managers are afraid to be sued by handling the situation incorrectly, or even just to cross that imaginary boundary where an employee or a colleague is seen fully as another person. That is one of the reasons why our managers solicit feedback from their teams every week, because the greatest weapon against fear and disconnection in the workplace is asking a question.
The other day I crumpled up a piece of paper and threw a perfect hookshot from across the room with my eyes closed. Swish!
I jumped up, exclaimed “YEAH”, and then looked around to see who had witnessed my legendary feat of office athleticism. Nobody cared except the team in the next pod who clearly missed my shot, but were wondering why I was standing there with my fist in the air.
If throwing out garbage with style makes us feel great, imagine doing something of consequence like closing a big sales deal or completing a new marketing campaign. The flavor of success is sweeter when shared. That’s why we were inspired to create our newest feature: Goals & Accomplishments.
Shawn Murphy is the CEO and co-founder of Switch & Shift, an organization dedicated to showing leaders how to advance organizational practices to be more human-centered. Shawn can often be found in the classroom teaching, speaking to audiences, or interviewing top thought leaders on his Work That Matters podcast. In 2014, Inc. Magazine listed Shawn among its top 100 leadership speakers.
How do businesses succeed? According to Shawn, success depends on the professional, social, and spiritual fulfillment of every employee. But early-on he learned that not everybody is open to that message.
While working at a Fortune 100 company, Shawn was given a project to encourage employees to use the company’s tuition reimbursement program for further professional training. He drafted a proposal to allow employees to receive training in any field, even classical guitar lessons. When he presented his idea to leadership he was told,“we are not here to help people self-actualize!”
Shawn left that organization because leadership could not celebrate employees as whole human beings. In this interview he shares his mission to help people do their best work and his advice for leaders to support employees in reaching their full potential.
There’s been a lot of chatter lately about giving employees space to do their best work. Just last year, Inc. published an article entitled The Compelling Case For Giving Employees More Freedom. Who ever heard of such nonsense? Apparently the featured company grew from 2,000 to over 10,000 employees in one year. If you ask me, that type of rapid growth is a disaster waiting to happen.
Other business writers have been recommending outlandish ideas on increasing accountability. Harvard Business Review published this piece entitled The Best Teams Hold Themselves Accountable. Okay HBR, what’s next? Employees who work from home?
These new methods for fostering employee productivity and accountability are just fads. Nothing drives accountability on teams like constant supervision, but who has time these days to stand over employees and tell them how you would do it better?
Can you imagine a world where all employers view their employees as whole human beings who desire meaning and purpose in their personal and professional lives? It turns out that employee-focused management creates the most productive and sustainably engaged employees, which in-turn creates more profitable businesses.
This month’s roundup of articles explores a shift in perspective — refocusing the lens to see employees as full-spectrum humans, and managers as people who support their growth and well-being. Employees in this brave new world not only excel at their work and grow more loyal to the company, but also have the space to discover fulfillment in every aspect of their lives.
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What do your employees really want; a shiny new ping pong table and catered lunches or can you make them happy with the basic “benefit” of providing honest feedback?
A recent survey of 1,000 full-time employees across the US found 81% of workers would rather join a company that values “open communication” than one that offers great perks such as top health plans, free food, and gym memberships. Yet only 15% of employees surveyed said their current companies were doing a “very good” job fostering honesty at the office.
The term “human resources” is paradoxical at best. Humans are living beings of arguably the highest order. They have complex emotional, physical, and mental systems that must be understood and nurtured in order to facilitate their self-actualization. Resources on the other hand are valuable company assets that must be maintained, catalogued, and put to use in a way that proves their worth or they are quickly replaced.
Our profit-focused paradigm is facing a crisis, because management tends to focus on the resource, not on the human. People come with aspects of self that are incompatible with traditional command and control management styles – personal and professional desires like creating interpersonal relationships, and achieving one’s potential. So how is management shifting to meet the demands of the modern workforce?