by Alan Adler, Guest Contributor
Get Employees to Care
HOW do you get employees to care? Culture Leadership. Recently, my wife and I had a discussion about several negative experiences we’ve had with different companies. In each case, the employees clearly, just didn’t care. One employee actually told us that it was her last day and she couldn’t “think of a worse place to work.” Was it the fault of the business, management, employee or all of the above? Or, did our experience have to do with culture leadership styles? We came to realize that it doesn’t matter what the age, gender or job is, far too many employees are unhappy where they work. And after all, do you really expect employees to CARE about the customer’s experience; if they’re consistently unhappy in the workplace? Consider this, as bad as the job market is today, industry experts suggest as many as 70% of people who have jobs are dissatisfied and seeking to change. Recently, Gallup reported that “67% of all customers leave a business because of a disgruntled employee.” Additionally, too often, employers are oblivious to their role when an employee fails to meet expectations.
Get Employees to Care by Working “On” Your Business
I wanted to understand how others felt, so I posted the question “How do you get employees to CARE?” on eight LinkedIn discussion groups. I received hundreds of responses. Here’s a sample of them that shared recurring themes:
Dr. Brian Monger, CEO MAANZ International/CMD Melbourne Area, Australia replied, “too busy ‘Doing it’ to be good managers.” I agreed, and replied that “When people spend 98% of their time working “in” their business, there is little time to work “on” their business.”
Thu On, Senior Operations Analyst at Tiffany & Co., New York City posted, “I strongly suspect that the work environment isn’t aligned with corporate values. Otherwise, who wouldn’t care?”
Sylvia Stanley, Director at Quantum Vision, Mauritius said, “Employees need to know that they are making a contribution, they must feel valued.”
Jonathon Washington, at Fitness Keys, Chicago says, “If more people were passionate about their jobs and owners treated employees like people, gave them a good salary and understood the work better, any business would run a lot smoother!”
Lucy English, Senior Consultant at Horizons Workforce Consulting, St. Louis, suggests, “Giving employees something they can make a meaningful connection with allows them to care. Unfortunately, many leaders and managers cannot describe the mission or purpose of their own organization.”
Alexia Vernon, author of 90 Days 90 Ways: Onboard Young Professionals to Peak Performance believes that it comes down to missed or unrealistic expectations. Suggesting that “supervisors and managers need to discuss with new workers, early on, about their responsibilities and the ways in which they will be held accountable.”
Peter Burchard, Thought Kindler, Improvement Expert, from Chicago says, “senior management has the responsibility to create work that is meaningful and challenging.”
Leadership Psychologist, Kylie Prince with Developing AuthenticCharisma™ in Melbourne, Australia says, “It’s not rocket science; employees who feel cared for, treat customers better, work more efficiently and therefore business improves. Too Many organizations waste a lot of money trying to get employees to CARE; by giving employees what they think they want; a very bad assumption.”
“Show them you care,” from Stephen Atamanchuk CSP, Human Resource Business Partner, Greater Boston Area.
Many great comments overall, and while a few came close, several missed the mark. For sustainable change, I believe that you get employees to CARE by encouraging a strong, positive culture. Too many organizations have leaders that although well-intended, have environments that are characterized by confusion, fear, selfishness, dishonesty or lack of appreciation.
I could not agree more with Erica Anderson, whose article, “Great Workplaces Arise From Great Leaders,” in the September 12 issue of Forbes Magazine, writes, “A leader’s passion, wisdom and generosity support the creation of a great workplace. When leaders are both deeply committed and open to alternatives – truly passionate – it invites everyone to be passionate in response – and the workplace comes alive” Anderson goes on to say that, When leaders tell the truth and deliver on their commitments (or say why they can’t and what they’ll do instead), it creates an environment that feels solid and reliable, one where people don’t have to retreat into self-protectiveness.”
So if you’re an employer not happy about the culture that exists in your organization – tag, you’re it. It’s up to you to change the environment. Connect the dots and start by becoming the best leader you can be. It’s not too late to improve your skills and take your business to the next level with a major renovation of your organization’s culture.
I also suggest taking a look at organizations that have already figured this out and practice every day. You will find their names in Fortune Magazine’s annual feature 100 Best Places to Work For.
Alan Adler is a Coach, Marketing Consultant, Speaker and Author, providing strategies that meet professional goals. He frequently presents seminars and workshops on such relevant topics as Attracting & Retaining Customers, Listening Skills, Leadership and Inbound Marketing.