Key Point: Leaders need to be great (albeit not perfect) AND so do employees… Not just some but ALL of them. We do regular, ANONYMOUS, employee engagement surveys and fortunately have top-level scores. Comparing the results of these surveys to thousands of other companies, one can reasonably argue that our organization represents one of the best companies in North America to work for. Yet, when I look at the results I am amazed to see a small group of individuals with exceptionally low scores. Their personal engagement is far from the norm, and as a result, it is safe to assume that they are feeling miserable. (Note: We have some executives in this category too. Low scoring people exist at all levels. We purposefully do not know their identities, and will always ensure their personal privacy, but the data is clear). They obviously don’t like their jobs and they don’t like the company. To be specific, according to their survey responses, they do not really want to stay.
It is not for me to judge the personal reason people feel this way. I want to treat these people with the utmost respect AND I want to invite them to leave the company ASAP. So my request to the survey companies we are using, is to find a way to totally protect the anonymous nature of all individuals, the integrity of the survey instruments, and still communicate an offer to these employees… It could go something like this:
“Hi, this is an automatic and anonymous email based on a software algorithm that is responding to your personal survey results. No real person will see this email unless you want them to. Your own survey results indicate that you are both deeply dissatisfied and disengaged in your role, and with the company overall. We are sincerely sorry to hear that. If it is a matter related to your direct leadership, we are committed to changing and improving that. The data will show if there is a leadership issue in your general work area, and we will performance coach accordingly. However, if it is a matter of us (you and your collective teammates) no longer matching for whatever reasons, and you feel pessimistic about this situation changing for the better, please recognize that and consider making a change ASAP. Let’s get together and work out a fair and reasonable exit package for you. We know that you need a fair amount of time and money to find something more suited to you. Please think about this offer. It is not good for you or us to have you here dissatisfied and disengaged. Hope to hear from you soon.”
The survey companies have NOT told me whether we can do this, or if they would be willing to if they could, and frankly, I need more advice as to whether we really should. However, I think team members have the right to expect the best from their teammates. I’m not talking about every single day. For example, Friday of last week just sucked for me. I didn’t feel very good at the end of the day. But that was just one data point. Overall, I’m fired up and giving it my all. I expect the same thing from everyone I work with.
- Consider renewing your employee engagement “vows” with your company. It could go like this: A) I’m committed to being self-accountable for my thinking, attitude and action at work. This includes taking responsibility for knowing what’s expected of me, how my results and value are measured, and executing to achieve the desired outcomes. B) I’m committed to understanding how I fit into the organization’s purpose and results and why what I do is important to the overall success of my team and company. C) I’m committed to being a continuous learner and improver. D) I’m committed to being a great teammate, to helping others thrive in their roles based on the work I do and service I give to them.
- Consider if the company is living up to its end of the relationship? Its “vow” to you could be something like this: A) The leadership team is committed to being clear on the company purpose and expected results. B) The leadership team is committed to you knowing how you fit in and why your individual contribution is vital. C) The leadership team is committed to providing an environment for you to thrive in, including but not limited to fair and reasonable pay/benefits, recognition, and access to the information and knowledge you need to successfully contribute. D) The leadership team is fully committed to encouraging, supporting AND investing in your personal growth in every way.
- If the commitment exchange is equitable. Keep going… You and the company will very likely continue to thrive. If not… Get out ASAP. You and your organization deserve a better outcome.
Renewing vows in the Triangle,
Published and Edited by Garrett Rubis
[Ed Note: I’ve been asked to give my opinion on blogs from now on from my perspective as a millennial. So here’s the first of what will hopefully be many perspectives on all Character Triangle blogs.]
Millennial View: So, today’s iffy job market has seemingly created something called “fun-employment” among some millennials… (It’s a quip on unemployment, where instead of freaking out if laid off, you go travel, you go “figure yourself out,” probably rack up some debt, make some mistakes, but come out of it by finding a new job and career path that you really, truly excel at and love). It seems enticing… Almost smart, in an “everything will work out ok one day” type of adventurous way. But I think anyone with a steady job is willing to slug it out at a nightmare position with a steady paycheck (for at least a while), instead of the alternative of being even poorer and more “homeless” than we already are. But, guess what? In the end, I think we all know we’re not doing ourselves any favors by sitting in a horrible, unprogressive career situation if it’s making us miserable… Straight up quitting a bad job might be scary, but it’ll also be that huge, extremely hot fire under your butt that’ll force you to make that next (hopefully better) step happen (ideally, before you have to move back in with your parents). And maybe that extra sleep and that trip to wherever you don’t have time to go now, is the first leap to a better you.