THURSDAY THOUGHTS! – Blankets of positivity

how easyWhen an entire organisation is encouraged to recognise one another’s achievements, this kind of organisational atmosphere produces tremendous positivity throughout the workplace. Colleagues actively looking out for one another, and more than that, actually seeking out ways to help and give recognition to one another.

Research has shown (Grant) that where and when this does exist, there is also faster problem-solving, more efficient co-ordination and less variability in work simply because people are willing to step up and cover for one another when the need arises.   Continuity is established and purpose is preserved.  Commitment is demonstrated. 

So, according to a 2013 workforce mood tracker survey, of those who have openly and positively recognised a colleague in the last month, 62% described themselves as “highly engaged” and of those who admitted to never having done so towards any  colleague, only 27% said they would describe themselves as highly engaged.

But to find this degree of mutual support and open recognition as the norm is often thought of as the holy grail, it’s so rare!  In my whole career, I’ve only experienced it twice. So why is this?  Why don’t we go about our days anymore, seeking ways to help each other?  Why have we become so insular and self-preserving?  Only we can answer this for ourselves, and its well worth reflecting upon due to it’s propensity to spread.

So it seems sensible, that if the leadership of any team or organisation can invest in creating an environment, climate and culture that promotes positive feedback AND reinforces the organisation’s core values, then it can only be a positive and powerful force for engagement.

All this starts with us, as individuals, each and every one of us.  No, not waiting to see it first from someone else, but taking responsibility to find ways to support and recognise colleagues in the first instance.

Have you ever experienced this before?  If so, how did it feel and what was your role in making it happen?

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THURSDAY THOUGHTS! – Do you have good MANAGER HYGIENE?

Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 15.59.56Henley Business School’s Professor Bones says: “The line manager is the lens through which I see the organisation, and how the organisations sees me.”  This makes interesting interrogation.  It is no secret that management is one of the most important components of any persons job satisfaction and ultimately, their engagement with their role and tasks.

Individuals don’t leave bad companies, in many an exit interview, it is clearly understood that people tend to leave bad management.  Alternatively, great managers produce high engagement levels, motivation and loyalty to the cause.

At the heart of this dimension is that staff want  managers to care about them as professionals in their role and what they have to offer.  They require a belief that their manager wants them to succeed, and appreciates all the effort they expend in attempting to do so.  This is what is commonly known as management hygiene: the ability and competence of managers to know what motivates individuals; know how to create clarity and transparency; and know how to recognise and reward a diverse range of contributions.

So there are 5 key components to good manager hygiene:

  1. a habit of amplifying accomplishments;
  2. a natural tendency to thank people for their efforts and contributions;
  3. a bias towards positive feedback;
  4. ensuring people are put in a position to succeed; and
  5. strong communication skills.

In a recent survey, the question:

“My immediate line manager recognises and appreciates good work”

33% of respondents replied that they only received weak recognition and appreciation and only half were more positive about it!

The question:

“What has a greater impact on performance – negative or positive feedback?”

was a bit of a no-brainer to OD-types like myself!  Not surprisingly 94% of respondents replied, positive feedback.

So if you would be so kind as to complete the below poll, I would like to take the temperature of what’s going on in the Aresko audience workplace.  I will keep all responses anonymous, its the results I am interested in.  If you will answer this simple question then press “VOTE”, then most importantly, if you could share this article with your respective networks for additional voting, I would be eternally grateful!

Thankyou!

THURSDAY THOUGHTS! – Engagement: more than just words on a page

1240487_639765176056391_1435228163_nEmployee engagement used to be considered the soft skills of management.  Now it’s considered imperative and all “good” organisations will have a Staff Engagement Strategy of some sorts, in place.  The leadership makes a lot of resources available to produce strategies and they know how important staff engagement is. But how useful are these strategies to the day job, and is implementation of them under-resourced?  Basically, how well does that strategy work in your workplace?  It’s a telling sign of how well any organisation “lives the values it says it has adopted” to ask any member of staff what is the organisation value they are mostly driven by.

A recent Gallup pole suggested that, in 47% of organisations surveyed, staff engagement was the most important HR challenge.  That is an amazing statistic!  Particularly when you look at the results, which are pretty dismal: only 30% of staff were engaged; 18% were actively disengaged; with the remaining 52% not engaged. This means MERELY A THIRD OF THE GIVEN WORKFORCE ARE CONVINCED OF THE VISION, MISSION, VALUES AND OBJECTIVES OF THIER ORGANISATION.  This is a truly disgraceful situation.  Organisations should be ashamed of their organisation development initiatives as a result of this survey!

So for the next 5 weeks, we are going to address 5 simple steps to getting out of this dismal rut.  It’s not rocket science but it takes courage and a dedicated management team to turn such a situation around. Most of all, it takes consistent effort and commitment on a daily basis.

Whilst every organisation is different and will require it’s own engagement approach, there are key areas every one of them should focus on to get out, and stay out, of this engagement abyss:

Step 1: Create clear and credible values that are KNOWN and UNDERSTOOD;

Step 2: Build a healthy culture INTENTIONALLY;

Step 3: Insist on good MANAGER HYGIENE;

Step 4: Create platforms for POSITIVITY; and

Step 5: Understand what MOTIVATES your workforce and RECOGNISE and REWARD it.

So this week, we have a few hints and tips centred around clear and credible values.

“Those who say they “know and understand” the values of their organisation are 30x more likely to be fully engaged”

The absence of any recognition of the values which bind the organisation as one collective force, guarantees that staff will be disengaged.  Below are some practical tips on ensuring values are truly embedded in your organisation:

  • Have senior managers talk about them regularly. The values should be part of the daily vernacular;
  • Make them part of your corporate communications strategy. Internal and external communications should not only contain references to the core values, but translate them into the “way we do things around here”;
  • Link daily, weekly, monthly accomplishments to the values.  NEVER miss an opportunity to reference the role of values in any individual, team or directorate accomplishment.  They need to be seen and felt to be DRIVERS of effort.

Can you recognise any systematic way your organisation connects staff behaviour and work effort to the core values?  What happens in your workplace that enables the values to come to life on a daily basis?

If you are struggling to answer those two questions, then you are certainly not alone.  I recently facilitated a workshop of 30+ staff and not one person there could recount an organisation value to me.  How could engagement become infectious in that organisation if nobody knew what glue was supposedly holding them together?

A healthy organisation culture is the easiest way to avoid the engagement abyss – but engagement and culture are the chicken and egg equivalent in organisational life.  More about culture at another time, the foreseeable future focusses on engagement hints and tips.

If you have any tips to share about how to make organisation values known, please do so.  Easy to say, difficult to embed, so how have you gone about it in the past?

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