Tag Archives | Trust

Do Happy Employees Matter?

Happy African-American BusinessmanHow happy are team members in your organization today? Are they enthused, optimistic, engaged, cooperative, and creative – or not so much?

This week I learned of a colleague’s recent conversation with a CEO of a global firm. The discussion revolved around increased turnover in their company – and not “beneficial” turnover. They were losing talented leaders and team members. That’s a problem.

Exit interviews revealed that these players didn’t feel valued. They saw the company as exclusively focused on results, not on the organization’s original “serve others” purpose.

Their Chief Talent Officer suggested doing an engagement survey to learn what the rest of their global workforce thought about these issues. The CEO boldly replied, “I don’t care about happy employees! I just want these people to produce!”

[stunned silence]

I believe that this CEO isn’t alone in his belief about happy employees. It’s an assumption that many senior leaders hold. These leaders grew up among bosses that held and acted from that same belief.

It’s all they know.

How might one seek to influence a senior leader with this belief? How might one inspire that leader to not only understand the benefits of employee engagement and happiness but to actively encourage it?

I’ve found success with a combination of these elements:

  • Show them the data. This particular CEO wasn’t influenced by the exit interview data from his own departing talent. So, you’ve got to gather reliable, undeniable data that leaves the leader with no choice but to try more employee-friendly practices and policies. Internal data – like this organization’s exit interviews – will have the most impact. A regular, organization-wide engagement survey is a needed foundational piece of internal data. Look at simple, fast feedback solutions for internal data like TinyPulse. Present them with key insights from current engagement research from organizations like Gallup, Kenexa, and others.
  • Show them the money. Happy, engaged employees produce better results and profits than disengaged employees. Research by Dale Carnegie found that companies with engaged employees outperform companies without engaged employees by up to 202%. Research from Towers Watson found engaged companies have 6% higher profits than disengaged companies.
  • Show them it works. Do your own employee engagement research, “under the radar.” Find a willing leader of a distinct, intact business unit who will let you “experiment” for a year. Start with an engagement survey to get a “happiness” benchmark. Note performance of individuals and teams to get performance benchmarks. Identify policies and practices that pit people against each other and refine them so they encourage cooperative interaction. Set clear values standards for treating everyone with trust, respect, and dignity. Create open communications across teams and across levels so everyone feels fully informed. Stick with it. Within six months you’ll see upticks in engagement, service, and results. Compare this “skunk works” unit’s performance with other units performance, and you’ll find impressive gains. Share these results with your senior leaders, over and over again.

Will these approaches help every senior leader to “get” and support employee engagement? No, but you’ll have living proof that happy employees are worth their weight in gold.

How important is employee engagement, happiness, and well-being in your organization? Share your comments and insights on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google +.

How healthy is your team or company’s culture? Don’t guess – get the data with my online Culture Effectiveness Assessment.

Want hands-on guidance for building a safe, inspiring workplace? Join me in Denver for my Culture Leadership Roundtable. This one-morning-a-month series, based on my book, The Culture Engine, starts in March 2015 and ends in September.

Photo © Kurhan – Dollar Photo Club. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © 2005 Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.



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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

No Room for Bullying

Business TeamDoes bullying happen in your work environment? New research by the Workplace Bullying Institute reveals that it is likely.

72% of Americans are aware that workplace bullying happens. Of those, 27% have experienced workplace bullying personally and 21% have witnessed abusive treatment of players in their work environment.

Workplace bullying is a global phenomena. Ellen Cobb’s excellent 2012 research outlines global incidence, impact, and attempts to address workplace bullying in countries around the world.

This infographic outlines the “lowlights” of the 2014 US Workplace Bullying Survey.

A new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry underscores the long-term costs of childhood bullying. The harmful effects can extend for decades after the initial bullying! The study found that effects include lower levels of education, greater physical and mental health problems, and poor social functioning throughout victims’ lives.

Bullying – in or out of the workplace – erodes trust, erodes confidence, reduces performance, and creates health problems.

How do employers respond to workplace bullying? The WBI survey found that 25% of US employers believe workplace bullying doesn’t happen in their companies. They do not investigate complaints.

16% of US employers discount the impact of workplace bullying; they know about it but believe it’s not a big deal. 15% rationalize it – these US employers believe that workplace bullying is a routine way of doing business (!).

11% of US employers defend workplace bullying, particularly when the perpetrators are executives and managers. 5% of US employers encourage it, believing it is necessary to be competitive today.

Only 12% of US employers act to eliminate workplace bullying. Another 6% condemn it through zero-tolerance policies and procedures.

What can you do? First, learn what resources are available to you. The Workplace Bullying Institute provides tools and services for individuals and employers.

Second, build a foundation of trust and respect in your work team. You don’t have to fix your whole division or company – just aim at improving your work team’s environment.

Most teams and companies focus exclusively on getting production done – not on the quality of the work environment. You can change that dynamic by crafting “great citizenship” guidelines for all team members.

Outline the values, behaviors, and norms that will enable work team dignity and respect. Make your values measurable (this post can help you). Invite team members to help refine those behaviors. Then publish them. Ask every team member to model them, praise them when others model them, and coach others when they see misaligned behavior.

These steps can create workplace inspiration – and eliminate bullying within your team, one step at a time.

What do you think? Does your employer act to eliminate bullying or even condemn it, or not so much? How does your work team address abusive conduct today? Share your thoughts about this post/podcast in the comments section below.

Get your free copy of my ChangeThis manifesto, “What? Your Organization Doesn’t Have a Constitution?

Add your experiences to two fast & free research projects I have underway: the Great Boss Assessment and the Performance-Values Assessment. Results and analysis are available on my research page.

My new book from Wiley, The Culture Engine, guides leaders to create workplace inspiration with an organizational constitution. Get your free sample chapter here.

Photo © istockphoto.com/yanc. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.



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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Contented Workers

Wellbeign at WorkHow happy are your company’s employees? The Gallup organization recently revealed the results of their research on the US communities with the most contented workers.

The Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index measures respondents’ perceptions in six areas:

  • Life Evaluation: Present life situation and anticipated life situation
  • Emotional Health: Daily feelings and mental state
  • Work Environment: Job satisfaction and workplace interactions
  • Physical Health: Physical ability to live a full life
  • Healthy Behavior: Engaging in behaviors that affect physical health
  • Basic Access: Feeling safe, satisfied, and optimistic within a community

Gallup and Healthways survey 500 Americans each day. They’ve conducted the Well Being Index since January 2008. The Well-Being Index is being updated in 2014 to assess respondents’ perceptions in five areas that analysis showed would be better measures of well-being. We’ll see these new focus areas in results issued next year.

The community with the most contented workers was Provo-Orem, Utah, with an overall well-being score of 71.4 on a 100-point scale. Rounding out the top three communities are Boulder, CO (with a score of 71.3) and Ft. Collins-Loveland, CO (71.1).

The three communities with the least contented workers are Huntington-Ashland, KY/WV/OH (this metropolitan area spans portions of three states) with a score of 59.5, Charleston, WV (60.0), and Redding, CA (62.0).

Numerous studies of well being and employee engagement prove that employees with high engagement and well being produce more, innovate more, and serve customers better.

What can leaders do to boost employee well being in these six areas?

Company leaders can influence communities to enact policies that inspire residents to engage in healthy activities. Getting communities to enact policies might take awhile.

Company and team leaders can certainly work to ensure job satisfaction and healthy workplace interactions. Check out my free ChangeThis manifesto to learn how.

Team leaders don’t need a formal mandate. They can enact informal approaches that inspire team members to embrace healthy activities. Arranging lunchtime or mid-afternoon walks with interested team members can inspire physical activity. Enrolling a team in a charity walk can inspire bonding, service, and physical health.

Bringing in a yoga teacher and providing space for interested team members to do a class before or after work is increasing in popularity.

Learning new and interesting things can be as simple as bringing in outside experts for lunchtime presentations. A nutrition expert can demonstrate simple, healthy meal preparation or inform about the season’s freshest produce.

Team leaders are only limited by their own assumed constraints. If they think healthy living is something team members must do on their own, they won’t try some of these approaches. If they believe that everyone (including themselves) can benefit from exposure to healthier practices, they’ll be creative with some of these approaches.

You want to create a variety of healthy approaches for team members. Don’t mandate these activities – simply make them available, easy, and interesting.

By arranging participation in these and similar activities, your own well being – and that of team members – will grow, right before your eyes.

What do you think? How contented are you? How contented are your work peers, today? How can leaders inspire healthier opportunities daily to boost well being and engagement? Share your thoughts about this post/podcast in the comments section below.

Get your free copy of my ChangeThis manifesto, “What? Your Organization Doesn’t Have a Constitution?

Add your experiences to two fast & free research projects I have underway. The Great Boss Assessment compares your current boss’ behaviors with those of great bosses. The Performance-Values Assessment compares your organization’s culture practices to those of high performing, values-aligned teams and organizations. Results and analysis are available on my research page.

My new book from Wiley, The Culture Engine, guides leaders to create workplace inspiration with an organizational constitution. Get your free sample chapter here.

Photo © istockphoto.com/olm26250. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of my songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). I play all instruments on these recordings.



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Don’t miss any of Chris’ posts, podcasts, or updates – Subscribe Now!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Character Matters

Ethics Green Road Sign with Copy Room Over The Dramatic Clouds and Sky.Two recent news items caught my eye. Both shed light on the critical importance of character in organizations.

The first story came from a designer named Jordan who was thrilled to get a job at one of the most successful technology companies on the planet. He felt like getting an offer from this company validated his talent as a designer.

On-boarding was “super bumpy.” The long commute and rigid hours meant Jordan hardly ever saw his new daughter during the week. It took nearly a month to receive his credentials to log in to the main server.

There were meetings all the time, which inhibited everyone’s productivity. But, Jordan thought, meetings are a “necessary evil in a company that’s so large with such high-quality products.”

Then Jordan’s immediate boss began making direct and indirect insults to him. The boss reminded Jordan that his contract wouldn’t be renewed if he missed performance standards. The boss’ habit of making personal insults shrouded as jokes to anyone below him meant all of Jordan’s team members received the same treatment.

It didn’t make Jordan feel appreciated or valued. The jokes, insults, and negativity from his boss distracted Jordan from getting work done. Jordan “desperately wanted Friday evening to arrive” and he “dreaded Sunday nights.”

When Jordan’s boss hit him with yet another weird low-blow insult, Jordan made the decision to leave his lousy boss – and he quit.

The second story described how the number of US soldiers forced out of the Army because of crimes or misconduct has soared in the past several years. The number of officers who left the Army has tripled and the number of enlisted soldiers forced out has doubled.

There is no question that long, repeated deployments to the front lines have placed great burdens on the Army’s soldiers and their leaders. And, as General Ray Odierno (the Army’s top officer), explained, “Sometimes in the past, we’ve overlooked character issues because of competence and commitment.”

Other branches of the US military have experienced high profile scandals (sexual assault, mistreatment of the enemy, etc.), so it’s not just the Army that has suffered these character issues.

In the high-tech company, the boss’ character was revealed in the serial mistreatment of staff members. In the US Army, character issues have caused leaders and soldiers to be tossed out of the service.

These stories note character issues with ONE high-tech company leader and character issues with a very small percentage of Army personnel (in 2013, 387 officers and 11,000 soldiers). There are thousands of high-tech company leaders, Army officers, and Army soldiers that demonstrate impeccable character as well as high competence and high commitment.

And – when ANY leader or team member in your organization demonstrates low character, it erodes team member well being. It erodes confidence. It inhibits performance. It quashes the application of discretionary energy by team members. It damages your organization’s reputation.

Character matters. Demand it. Model it. Observe it. Celebrate it.

What do you think? What character issues have you experienced with bosses or team members over your career? How do your best bosses model great character? Share your thoughts about this post/podcast in the comments section below.

Get your free copy of my ChangeThis manifesto, “What? Your Organization Doesn’t Have a Constitution?

Add your experiences to two fast & free research projects I have underway. The Great Boss Assessment compares your current boss’ behaviors with those of great bosses. The Performance-Values Assessment compares your organization’s culture practices to those of high performing, values-aligned organizations. Results and analysis are available on my research page.

My new book from Wiley, The Culture Engine, guides leaders to create workplace inspiration with an organizational constitution. Get your free sample chapter here.

Photo © istockphoto.com/feverpitched. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of Chris’ songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). Chris plays all instruments on these recordings.



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Don’t miss any of Chris’ posts, podcasts, or updates – Subscribe Now!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

More Good Decisions

indian lab technician working in the laboratoryHow effective are your day-to-day plans, decisions, and actions?

One of my #GreatBosses told me a story that sheds light on good decision-making.

A leader and follower were discussing an important project. The follower felt the pressure of performing well as the lead on this project.

It was the first formal leadership role she’d been given. She wanted to inspire her team members to high performance while making them feel trusted, honored, and respected.

She asked her boss, “How do I ensure I’m leading my team well?”

The leader said, “Leading well requires only one thing.” The leader paused.

The follower asked, “What is that one thing?”

The leader said, “Good decisions!” The leader paused again.

The follower asked, “How to I ensure I’m making good decisions?”

Experience!” the leader replied. The leader paused again.

The follower asked, “How do I get experience?”

The leader said, “Bad decisions!

(This story is based on a quote from Mark Twain, the great American author and humorist.)

I took away three key insights from this story.

Don’t be Afraid to Make Decisions

All leaders struggle with making good decisions.

Some struggle because they don’t want to disappoint a portion of their followers. Some struggle because they’re in new territory; they don’t have a proven knowledge base and the risks of any decision are high. Some struggle because they don’t have enough data. Some struggle because they can see the benefits of opposing arguments.

The biggest negative impact of these struggles? Decisions don’t get made.

The reality is that not making a decision is a decision.

#GreatBosses know their job is to lead their team – and to make the best decisions they can, moment to moment. So, make decisions.

Involve Key Players in Decisions

Surround yourself with trusted, talented colleagues. Invite them into the decision making process. Explain the opportunity and the context. Let them express their opinions, the pros and cons as they see them.

Seek insight from those that will be directly affected by the decision – which may mean involving far-flung, front line team members.

Listen. Consider. Then decide.

Ask for Feedback on Decisions

Once the decision is made, examining the impact of the decision begins. Ask those affected by the decision for their views on the impact of the decision. Ask early and often!

Listen without defending. Learn what unintended consequences might have been prompted by the decision.

Then refine the decision to reduce the negative impact and boost the positive impact.

If the decision turns out to have far more negative results than positive ones, rescind the decision. Explain why – and thank people for their feedback.

Then, decide again. Involve others again. Get feedback from others again.

These experiences will help you make more good decisions.

What do you think? How good are your decisions – or your bosses decisions? To what extent do you or your company’s leaders involve others in decision-making? Is feedback sought out to assess decisions or not so much? Share your thoughts about this post/podcast in the comments section below.

Get your free copy of my ChangeThis manifesto, “What? Your Organization Doesn’t Have a Constitution?

Add your experiences to two fast & free research projects I have underway. The Great Boss Assessment compares your current boss’ behaviors with those of great bosses. The Performance-Values Assessment compares your organization’s culture practices to those of high performing, values-aligned organizations. Results and analysis are available on my research page.

My new book from Wiley, The Culture Engine, guides leaders to create workplace inspiration with an organizational constitution. Get your free sample chapter here.

Photo © istockphoto.com/michaeljung. All rights reserved.

Subscribe!Podcast – Listen to this post now with the player below. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

The music heard on these podcasts is from one of Chris’ songs, “Heartfelt,” copyright © Chris Edmonds Music (ASCAP). Chris plays all instruments on these recordings.



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Don’t miss any of Chris’ posts, podcasts, or updates – Subscribe Now!

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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