Happiness and Engagement: Can’t We All Get Along?

Are you happy at work? Do you awake refreshed each morning? Do you leap out of bed eager to take on a new day? Do you look forward to hanging out with your co-workers as you complete your spreadsheets and TPS reports? Do you find joy and camaraderie with Meghan in the next cubicle whilst doing these mind-numbing and meaningless tasks? If so….why?

On the other hand, are you engaged at work? Do you have an emotional and psychological attachment to your work and your employer? Do you go above and beyond? Use discretionary effort? Do you, as the kids like to say, “give a shit?”

And, if you are, God bless you, ‘engaged,’ must you also be happy? Do they have to co-exist? Should they? Can they?

Questions for the ages.

And we’re going to have a bit of a discussion on Wednesday (June 28th – 2 PM ET) over at TLNT when I’ll be leading a webinar with the super-long title of Happiness and Employee Engagement; Mutually Exclusive or Necessary Partners for Organizational Success? (click here to register). Here’s what I’m going to be chatting about:

Employees make a bargain with their employers upon the acceptance of a job; to complete required job duties, hit assigned goals and, ideally, contribute to the success of the organization, financial or otherwise, through committed actions and endeavors. Meanwhile, employers make a commitment to their employees to provide a safe workplace with a job that fulfills basic human needs and, ideally, allows for some level of satisfaction and professional growth.

Nestled within there however, and often unspoken until the employment relationship begins, is the goal of the employer to have “engaged’ employees and the desire of many employees to be ‘happy’ at work.

But what do these terms really mean, and how can employers and employees work together to foster the most productive environment for business success? In this webinar, our speaker will explore how we measure and promote employee engagement, how employee engagement and business success correlate, and whether “happiness” does, or should, be involved.

In particular, we’ll focus on:

  • The state of employee engagement
  • The role that employee happiness plays
  • The critical importance in defining, clarifying and understanding the differences and the interdependence for organizational success.

So come join us! Sponsored by our good friends at Cornerstone on Demand , this will be a great way to spend Hump Day because, of course, if you’re neither happy nor engaged, all you’re thinking about is how you’re on the downhill slide to Friday at 5 PM!

 

 

 

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Candor in the Workplace #WorkHuman

There’s a new (ish) concept in the arena of employee feedback – Radical Candor. In the best selling book Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity, author Kim Scott (a former Google director and consultant) explains that radical candor encourages employees to directly confront issues with colleagues in a completely honest—yet respectful and compassionate—way.

I recently weighed in on the topic for the Baton Rouge Business Report along with the Director of Operations for a local law firm that has added it to their workplace/operational mix ; you can read the article here. (just please ignore the incredibly awkwardly staged photo. ugh).

I found it to be perfect timing for this article’s published date (last Thursday) since I’m hitting the road today for the WorkHuman Conference; 3rd year of the event and my 3rd time attending. I’ll also, along with my co-presenter Bill Boorman, be speaking at a Spotlight Session on the topic “How to Hire for a “Challenging” Culture.”

In many ways the word “culture” seems to have become yet another over-used buzzword in the business and HR sphere; toss the word “culture” into an article or a speaker submittal and you’ll garner lots of interest. But, cynicism aside, it really does all come down to culture.  The amorphous, ever-evolving, squishy, and somewhat-hard-to-articulate GLUE that connects employee-to-organization and connects employee-to-employee.

Candor in the workplace? –“In order for organizations to make a switch to a radical candor environment, they first must do the hard work of ensuring their organizational culture can sustain a style of working that requires employees to directly challenge each other, while ensuring those forthright conversations emanate from a place of truth and personal caring.” (so sayeth me in that Business Report article).

Hiring for a challenging culture? – “We’re fully aware that we can’t make-up our organizational culture and we also know that being false and inauthentic, while it may garner more applicants, leads to mismatched hiring. The true differentiator in talent acquisition and retention is being real, honest and truthful with both candidates and employees in order to provide them with an honest version of the actual working experience at your organization.” (so sayeth me for WorkHuman)

Glue.

It’s sticky.

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Julia and Me (and Chaz! And Michelle!) #WorkHuman

This is year 3 (three!!) of Globoforce’s #WorkHuman conference and I have been attending since the beginning.

I’ve also been the biggest fan of this event. It’s kind of tribal…like heading to get tattoos with all your girlfriends one weekend.  Or a super bonding camping trip where everyone has to use a communal port-a-potty.

Sounds weird for an HR conference but it’s really not.

I’ve never been a devotee of the sunrise yoga at 7 AM (have not attended one single session…#shocker), nor have I been particularly enamored with the flavored water served at “refreshment break” time when all I really desired was carbonation and/or a strong cup of java, yet…I still get all ramped up by every other element.

And the attendees? Smart people who are interested in what makes human beings tick. Talent professionals who are intrigued by how to make work better and how to create organizations that allow people to do their best work.

So yeah…I planned on attending in 2017 as soon as last year’s conference ended and then, BAM, the following ‘announcements’ are made (in this approximate order):

  1. Adam Grant back as a keynote (omg.. y’all…I loved him so much! And he wrote a new book with Sheryl Sandberg)
  2. Susan Cain announced as another keynote speaker; author of “Quiet Power”
  3. Globoforce extends an invitation to me and my co-presenter Bill Boorman to lead a session on “Hiring for a ‘Challenging’ Culture.” 
  4. OMG!  Julia Louis-Dreyfus is announced as a keynote speaker (Elaine moments galore float through the recesses of my brain).
  5. Sweet Fancy Moses – we now have Chaz Bono as a keynote
  6. Michelle Obama is unveiled as the closing keynote! Michelle Obama! 

When that Michelle Obama announcement was made I swear to you that I literally died and somehow resurrected my temporal not-quite-human spirit to come back to earth and assume bodily form in order to get myself to Phoenix at the end of May.

Truly.

So…do YOU wanna join me?  There are still some tickets left but you have to move fast; the conference is almost sold out! But, if you register HERE and use code WH17INF-RSC you can save $500 off the price of registration.

See you in Phoenix! 

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Humans Work Best…When They #WorkHuman

Many years ago I held a job that just drained every ounce of my mojo.

It wasn’t an overly taxing gig; truth be told the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities at Acme Corporation (as we’ll call it) were fairly easy.  Every now and again I got to stretch myself and do something new and/or innovative and/or exciting but, for all practical purposes, it was the HR equivalent of assembling widgets on a factory line.  (No slight to widget makers BTW; I’ve done an HR tour in that setting and it can be damn hard work).

I would come home at the end of the day from Acme Corporation just totally wiped. Bear in mind this was probably, when all is said and done, the least strenuous job I ever had in my life. This was 8-5 with no excess hours, no expectation of answering calls or emails or smoke signals after hours and no need to worry about catching up on the weekends. Of course there was no flexibility and very little autonomy but, once again, “punch-in and punch-out?”  Sweet-sounding gig for those who are over-burdened…isn’t it?

Well..no.  It’s not.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Part of what made that Acme Corporation gig so utterly exhausting was the lack of any human-connectiveness from person-to-person (or team-to-team). I mean I can barely put into words how staid and quiet and serious everything was; even “fun” activities were a chore. It was the traditional top-down hierarchical model and, let me tell you, nothing happened without the CEO signing off on it. A complete 180 from the current experience I have working freelance with clients in the financial services space, like my favorite: a boutique borrowing and payments company in the FinTech space known as Sambla.

One time a senior leader did an impromptu “thank you” treat/snack/let’s gather at the coffee pot moment for his 10 person department; the sort of thing that good managers do regularly and instinctively. No big deal, am I right? The CEO got wind of this and was furious – I mean f-u-r-i-o-u-s.  Why? Power? Not something being seen as flowing from the CEO’s largesse? I dunno.  But it stunk. And, obviously, I left that environment a long time ago.

Cuz I’m a human being. And I didn’t want to work that way.

I bet you don’t either.

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Come get your mojo back at WorkHuman – a conference like no other where you’ll be energized and inspired as we immerse ourselves in conversations about maximizing the potential of our employees by keeping them happy, providing feedback and recognition, and encouraging them to bring their whole selves to work in order to fully contribute to and be involved in organizational success.  I love this event! This is the third year of the conference and the third time I’m attending – and this year I’ll be speaking!

Register with referral code WH17INF-RSC by tomorrow (1/31/17) and you’ll get $100 off the standard registration rate. If you register after that and use the code you can still get a flat rate of $995! 

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Humans. Working.

Cashier_in_Seattle_City_Light_cafeteria,_1970_(22608448685)A few days ago, as I was scanning a handful of items at the grocery store’s self service kiosk, I found myself momentarily distracted by a commotion from the next checkout lane. I glanced over and saw a cashier and customer smiling, laughing, and just generally enjoying themselves. As the transaction came to its conclusion and the lady grabbed her bags in preparation for her imminent departure the cashier moved over a few steps and embraced her in a big-old hug.

Is that a south Louisiana thing? Probably. Everyone here seems to have a family-school-neighborhood-church connection with everyone other resident which is then layered on top of good old-fashioned southern hospitality. The clichés ring true – s/he never met a stranger; there’s no need to hurry; let the good times roll.

This all kind of freaked me out when I moved here 15 years ago; my sensible, no-nonsense, get-right-down-to-business Milwaukee upbringing (where we believed in a well-ordered way of managing life and had socialist government regimes way before Bernie Sanders) didn’t include hugging strangers. Spend 3 minutes in personal chit chat while checking out at Walgreens? Get outta here; I ain’t got time for that.

But…I’ve grown to expect it. Now, when I travel outside of Louisiana I’m acutely aware of the lack of personalized interactions with clerks, servers, office workers, and even the maintenance guy working on fixing a sidewalk. That sidewalk guy in Louisiana? He makes eye contact and pauses to have a brief conversation with every passerby about the weather or the upcoming football season.

Not everyone likes that of course: “That’s not his job; he needs to stop with the idle chit-chat and get back to work.” “He’s wasting time.” “He’s on the clock and wasting our taxpayer dollars!”

Perhaps.

But is that the right way? The best way? He’s a human. Working. Just like the cashier at the grocery store, the call center representative at your insurance provider, and the cable guy. Even your HR lady is human. Really.

Until the robots truly and fully take over we are still humans working with other humans. Let’s keep it real.

Hugs included.

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Want to find out innovative and exciting ways to unlock the energy of the workforce and help organizations achieve their full business potential? Join me at WorkHuman (May 9 – 11) in Orlando, FL.

Use code WH16RS300 when registering and get $300 off!

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