GUEST: Jacob Morgan — Founder of The Future Organization
Engagement efforts have failed. There’s a lot of investment in surveys and measurement, but the numbers — and the practices that drive those numbers — don’t change.
Engagement is a result of core workplace practices. It’s not affected long-term by perks. We know when perks are installed to manipulate us.
Employment day 1, everyone is engaged. Then, slowly, the organization breaks people down, and trains them to become disengaged.
Part of the problem is that when corporations are focused on quarterly profit, things like changing workplace satisfaction that take time don’t get the attention they need to move the dial.
We promote the wrong people. Leadership is a specific set of skills, and being a good individual contributors don’t always have the skills that leadership requires.
There are people skills in your company already. Seek them out and leverage those skills.
Organizations lie to recruits. We tell them how amazing and wonderful it is to work here — even when it’s not true. Now, the new hires quickly become resentful and unhappy, not only because of the environment, but also because of the bait-and-switch.
If you’re an individual contributor, speak up about your experience. Manager’s be committed to the success of others. Executives, take a stand for designing exceptional employee experience.
The common assumption is — You need to give your employees challenging and exciting work. But the employer doesn’t control what the work is that needs to be done. It controls the environment in which the work is done. How does the company require you to do your work? How does the company support you in your efforts? What is the culture of work in which the work gets done? What metrics are used to measure performance?
Results are a trailing metric. Behaviors lead results. Measuring and rewarding behaviors improves employee satisfaction and results both.
Environment can be controlled by the employer/organization. There are three environments. Culture. Physical environment. Technology. These three environments all play together. It’s important to deliberately design all three.
With every change an organization makes, it’s important to consider the impact of change on the above three environments.
There’s no such thing as an organization where 100% of the people are going to be happy all the time. The most important thing is how the organization responds to those people who at a given time are not happy.
The companies that are doing people well are treating the problem as a laboratory would — with quick, measured, deliberate experimentation, not with a lot of drawn out thinking. Make attempts and respond to the results with new attempts.
This is a messy process. Decide for yourself whether this is a battle worth fighting — at whatever level you are working. Expect that it’s not going to be easy. And the results are
Subscribe to Jacob’s newsletter: text “future” to 44222
Find Jacob’s books, The Employee Experience Advantage, The Future of Work, and The Collaborative Organization here: https://thefutureorganization.com/books/
Your host on Mighty Good Work is Aaron Schmookler.