©2017 Switch and Shift, LLC
Research from Hay Group shows that an employees’ immediate manager shapes 70 percent of their experience of work. That’s big. A manager’s leadership style has more meaning to employees than company benefits, peer relationship, project work, and even CXOs. So, if middle-managers are best positioned to create the conditions for employee engagement, how can leadership motivate them to maximize their abilities? Consequently, how would results improve?
Social intelligence was once defined as “the capability to effectively navigate and negotiate complex social relationships and environments.” But what does that mean today when it seems every conversation – and every major issue – is discussed ad nauseam on social and digital media? When perceived injustices – even those over a small $5 monthly fee or a basic customer service issue – are globally amplified? When a single troll can seriously dent your brand’s reputation? What is corporate social intelligence?
In the Industrial Age, many entrepreneurs and corporate leaders focused on building companies that provided a good return for investors and shareholders. In the Social Age, however, it seems the focus of many great companies has changed. They now emphasize development of a community – and ultimately, a culture– that inspires employees to achieve a common goal. Sure those leaders still care about traditional business metrics. But to them, building community is a critical step toward building a great company.
The not-so-secret insight about what inspires people to change? We humans need to understand why change is important and know what it means to us, personally. A top-down mandate for change by the CEO is hardly inspirational. Sure, the push may get compliance from employees. But it won’t earn their commitment. What will get a high level of employee commitment? Contagious change.
Purpose is an underlying belief of why an organization exists. It is what mindfully guides how leaders generate value for its stakeholders and create the firm’s competitive advantage. The use of purpose to guide a firm’s activities and benefit stakeholder groups (rather than shareholders) is a newer perspective. It challenges the longstanding belief that the purpose of business is to generate value for its owners. The belief, championed by Milton Friedman, even advocates that a business should not solve social problems.
What do you think when you hear the words “culture change”? More important, what do your baseline employees—the women and men who get the essential and routine work done—think when they’re first introduced to organizational culture change?
Society and many individuals have been snookered into believing the purpose of work is to be paid. It is, after all, the predominant driver for getting a job. Yes, we all have bills to pay, and experiences we want and “stuff” we “need.” However, the pursuit of more—money, experiences, material possessions—has led us to develop a work ethic that moves at a relentless pace. It’s stressful and unsustainable.
While employee engagement is an important influence on the work experience, too many companies – despite the thousands of man-hours and millions of dollars thrown at the problem – fail to make measurable improvements. The reasons for this vary widely, of course, Yet, there is a central misconception about engagement that sends too many leaders down the wrong path…
Today’s workplace is a complex community where individuals, ideally driven by a shared purpose, show up every day. Not just to perform work, but to contribute to the team, grow personally and professionally, develop friendships, and to learn from those they consider mentors. They bring their kids, dogs, and struggles to work. They count on others to help solve problems. And when a challenge is put before them, they appreciate the opportunity to be part of the solution.