Tag: culture technology

80% of Employee Experience is Determined by Managers, with Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic

Managers hold power. They have the ability to control and regulate the daily life of an employee. Their administrative mandate to observe, review, and divvy out work implicitly gives them the ability to determine how and when an employee works. Furthermore, the human condition subconsciously leads us to believe that those with such authoritative responsibility should be trusted more than those without.

This leads to a power dynamic. Every employee knows that their boss could make their life miserable. Furthermore, every employee knows that in the event of a dispute, the company is likely to take the side of the boss. This is especially true in workplaces where management consists of a very non-diverse group of people. 

This power dynamic is the fundamental reason why confidence is so often viewed as competence. In a recent podcast, with Dr Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Professor of Business Psychology at Columbia University & UCL, we explored the notion that a fundamental problem with the nature of work today is promotions. Instead of promoting the person who is going to best lead the team, the person with the most confidence gets promoted. To listen to the rest of the podcast, visit Forging the Employee Experience. To connect with Dr Chamorro-Premuzic visit him on LinkedIn or visit his website.

This practice is a recipe for poor employee experience. When people work for bosses they don’t like, they start working just for the paycheck. No one should have to work just because they want the paycheck. Everyone should be able to work in a place where they can feel like they are contributing meaningfully to the work being done. 

When we prioritize confidence over competence, we undermine the integrity of the work ecosystem by telling our employees that their performance is less important than their personality … which, by the way, wasn’t good enough to get them that promotion.

Entry- and mid-level managers have the absolute greatest influence on an organization’s culture and each employee’s experience at work. The system is set up for failure if the wrong people get promoted into positions of authority. Instead, we need to ensure that competence and leadership are the prevailing characteristics of the next wave of managers.

Eureka! How to Create an Award-winning Culture with Dr. Laura Wendt

We’re all very familiar with the phrase “the customer is always right.” So familiar, that no one could use it in a legitimate business scenario and be taken seriously. We’ve heard it so many times that it’s lost its value. Which, objectively speaking, is a shame because the statement is a powerful one. While an individual customer is certainly capable of being wrong, if a quorum of customers is offering feedback, we should listen – whether we want to hear it or not.

The same effect has occurred with the notion of Company Culture. Executive and staff alike roll their eyes at the topic of this amorphous notion. Again, tragedy has struck! Simply because so many people have been harping on it for so long and most of them have been completely clueless about how to effect change that does not mean this concept likes value. In fact, those that ignore it, do so at the peril of their own success.

Company culture is the lifeblood of an organization. It describes the how each employee connects with the organization on an emotional level. The best success a company with poor culture can hope for is the summation of the lowest performance potential of each employee. Work will still get done. Carrots and sticks are still very effective motivators. However, if a company wants to do more with less, then they will take the status of their company’s culture very seriously.

In a recent podcast with Dr Laura Wendt. She compared a groups ability to excel to porcupines huddling together for warmth. She explained that when a group of porcupines comes together to survive cold climates, they must be conscious of the effect their having on the group. If their group is agitated than there will be a great deal of uncomfortable poking and quilling. However, if in an attempt to see to the groups best interest, each porcupine avoids bristling its quills, the end result will be a prickle of porcupines that enjoys each other’s company and makes it through the cold climate. To hear the rest of the podcast, visit Forging Employee Experience. To connect with Dr Laura Wendt, feel free to reach out to her on LinkedIn.

Fundamental to increased group performance is the social and emotional well-being of that group. This concept is the backbone to the trite term Company Culture. Though frequently used and rarely acted upon, company culture is a hugely critical element to the success and profitability of any organization.

Twitter: @Laura_R_Wendt

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-laura-wendt-63976ab2/

Fixing Employee Engagement Won’t Fix Employee Engagement

Congratulations! You, like so many before, have finally admitted that your organization’s culture isn’t fantastic and most of your workforce isn’t engaged. Maybe those survey results finally came in or maybe you were hired because there is a culture problem. Either way, you find yourself leading the charge to make the organization a better place to work.

As you strive to solve this employee engagement conundrum, you find yourself naturally framing the problem as an “employee engagement” problem. You keep thinking, “how are we going to solve employee engagement” or “what are we going to do to have better employee engagement?” Well, trying to solve employee engagement by solving employee engagement simply won’t work.

A rookie mistake to running a 5k is to think that running a 5k over and over again will make translate to faster times. While this approach has sound logic (practice makes perfect!), it doesn’t work. To run a faster 5k, runners should step back and create a workout plan that involves sprints and longer runs (sometimes up to 10 miles at a time!). When runners result to the mentally easier plan of running the same thing over and over again, they do themselves a huge a disservice. Not only are the missing the actual benefits that come from workout variety, but they also don’t allow themselves to become more emotionally invested in the process.

The same is the case with employee engagement. If we are laser focused on fixing employee engagement – nothing will happen. It’s too easy to say, “We need more activities to engage employees!” It’s like saying “I just need to keep running a 5k and I’ll get faster.” Instead, we have to realize that the journey to increase employee engagement is going to require some 10-mile runs. Employee engagement is a metric for the overall employee experience. To increase engagement, organizations have to step back and think about the overall employee experience and what factors are contributing to a positive or negative experience.

In a recent podcast with nationally recognized diversity advocate and consultant Howard Ross, he likened the workplace to a party. When we try and figure out what is going to make a party successful, we have to analyze a person’s entire party experience. It isn’t enough to just throw a great party. The guests have to feel like they have a vested interest in the party’s success. One way to accomplish this is to let the guests pick the music. The host still picks the venue, the theme, the price, the dress code, and the DJ, but by letting attendees pick the music, the overall investment and experience in the party increases dramatically. To hear more about the need for a great employee experience, listen to the rest of the episode at Forging Employee Experience. Feel free to reach out to Howard Ross at his website or via LinkedIn.

We owe the same level of intentionality to engagement. We can’t simply fix employee engagement. We have to fix the underlying experience. We do this by stepping back and creating a strategy that allows employees to feel emotionally invested in the success of the experience. It is very difficult but is the only way to get real results.

When Diversity Hurts Employee Engagement with Kate Bischoff

The need for a diverse and inclusive workplace has become a research-based fact. A workforce that have a generally the same background and experiences isn’t going to be as competitive as organizations that bring true thought diversity.

But is there such a thing as too diverse? Well not really, no. That doesn’t mean, however, that we should just hire folks just because they bring the desired element of diversity to the workplace. There is one characteristic that we should never diversifyin the workplace – respect.

Any group, team, or company can work around any potential misunderstanding or miscommunication that will naturally occur when people from different backgrounds come together to accomplish a task, if there is a mutual foundation of respect. This mandatory shared value of respect is so critical that those individuals who show frequent patterns of disrespect should be let go immediately.

The negative impact that a lack of respect has on an organization cannot be countered with any other measure.

Respect, however, does not preclude feedback. In a recent podcast, Kate Bischoff spoke to this idea that feedback is a healthy part of any organization. She commented that part of maintaining a culture of respect is that idea that feedback can (and should) be provided when individuals disagree. Furthermore, organizations must absolutely ensure that they have implemented multiple methods of feedback. Everyone has their own preferred median for providing feedback to the organization. To find out more and listen to the full episode, visit Forging Employee Experience. To keep in contact with Kate, visit her at LinkedIn or on Twitter (@k8bischHRLaw).

Organizations must commit to hiring and retaining employees how are devoted to promulgating respect without diminishing a willingness to provide feedback. Without feedback companies and teams will not be able to find the growth and traction necessary to see continued success.

Employee Experience Matters, Whether We Want It To Or Not With Tom Krieglstein

The easiest solution to the handling employee engagement is to ignore it. The details and intricacy of understanding how people feel and adjusting to those feelings requires a great deal of effort and time. It requires a shift in mindset and a not small amount of awareness. So by and large, organizations simply stick their head in the sand and pretend like it’s a pop psychology fad that doesn’t matter.

But we know it does.

Hiding from the problem, or any problem for that matter, doesn’t go away because we choose to ignore it. People never wanted to be in a contract-based relationship with their employer, so the idea that we can simply pay people and call it a day, doesn’t work.

Every moment of everyday is an experience for employees. They unavoidably participant in the culture of the company. They are victims or beneficiaries of the interactions and politics of the workplace.

This inevitable participation in the ebb and flow of the organization means that ignoring the problem will absolutely not make it better. Nine times out of ten, it makes it worse.

In a recent podcast with Tom Krieglstein, founder of Swift Kick (an organization that trains leaders on creating a culture of connection), he described the nature of the work force as a dance floor. He asserts that all employees are essentially just attendees at a dance. The most engaged employees are dancing in the middle and the least are sitting by the wall with their arms folded wishing they were somewhere else. The goal of an organization is to get people in the middle of the dance floor actively involved and participating. This powerful construct is called Dance Floor Theory and is how Tom and his team help engage employees at organizations across the nation. To listen to the rest of the podcast visit, Forging Employee Experience, and to stay connected with Tom visit his website at http://www.swiftkickhq.com.

The company culture of an organization is very much like a dance that everyone must attend whether they want to or not. If the dance facilitators, or company leadership, tries to pretend like engagement doesn’t matter than the company culture will fizzle like a dying party that everyone eventually tries to leave.

People Analytics Can Distract From the Employee Experience with Lewis Garrad

Over the last couple of decades, Employee Engagement has started to become more and more important to companies. Early data showed how much time and energy companies lost to a disengaged workforce. In recent years, organizations have started making huge efforts to fix the Employee Engagement problem. Yet despite millions of dollars of investment, the average number of engaged employees has only risen 3% in the last almost 20 years. So, what’s the problem?

At a fundamental level, employees don’t feel a connection with their companies. The relationship cultivated from their first day on the job perpetuates a feeling of obligation. Employees tend to feel like once they have provided the work their companies have paid them for, then they have fulfilled their obligation and are typically content provided the minimum to get by. Employees don’t feel connected with their organizations on an emotional level. If organizations want to see real change, they’ll have to start focusing on curating a working relationship such that employees feel truly connected with the company.

To make that change happens, organizations must stop focusing so exclusively on the numbers. Yes, employee engagement stats are an important metric. Yes, increasing retention is a huge bump the bottom line. But at the end of the day, it’s about the people. It’s not about the numbers. When organizations can honestly say that they care most about connecting with their employees, then they’ll find the engagement stats rise organically.

Furthermore, many of the past efforts of boosting engagement have missed the mark. Quick fixes like beer Fridays, snacks in the break room, or casual dress don’t move the needle. This failure stems from the lack of efforts that the company exerts when they do these things. While they think they are showing how amazing they are to work for, most employees see it as an attempt to make them more loyal. It doesn’t work.

In a recent podcast with Lewis Garrad, he discussed another major factor to employee engagement. He related that about 50% of the tendency for employees to be engaged at work can be traced back to their personality, and that those type of people that tended to be more engaged shared a similar set of cognitive characteristics. He warned that while it may be tempting to hire based on those characteristics, a workforce full of individuals who are all more inclined to be engaged would prevent cognitive diversity and promote group think tendencies. Listen to the full podcast at Forging the Employee Experience and follow Lewis Garrad on Twitter at @LewisGarrad or connect via email at lewis.garrad@mercer.com.

Employee Engagement can be boosted, but there is not shortcut to success. Organizations will need to look place the ineffective low hanging fruit, stop focusing on the numbers, and commitment to creating a workforce full of positive connections.