Ultimately, It’s Got to Be About Something Beyond You

How many of your employees are simply not engaged any more? Are there some who seem to just be going through the motions of their job? Yeah, they show up every day. They do the essential tasks. They don't miss deadlines or cause any major screw ups. But something is clearly missing. The spark has gone out of them and out of their work. They no longer speak up in meetings. They no longer volunteer to take on the additional project, to go the extra mile. Maybe they are just plum bored. The … [Read more...]

Job Squeeze Is Real. Talk about it

My alma mater, the Industrial and Labor Relations School of Cornell University recently hosted a conference on "The Quality of Jobs." They looked at how trends in what they call the "intensification" of work, the restructuring of jobs, and classic downsizing have impacted the quality of jobs and the levels of satisfaction employees (who are left) are experiencing. While papers with their findings will be published in the new year, one clear finding is that these job and work disruptions are … [Read more...]

One Employee at a Time

Back in the 90's the Royal Bank of Canada had a series of TV commercials touting the theme, "Building a Better Bank, One Customer at a Time." The message, as I recall, was that RBC treats each customer as a unique individual and strives to win them over, one-at-a-time.   I frequently refer to this ad campaign in my management development workshops. The parallels are natural… RBC has customers, current and new. Managers have employees, current and newly hired. RBC seeks to … [Read more...]

Interesting Things Google Does re Its People

I recently attended a presentation by Shannon Deegan, Google's Director of People. Now, a lot has been written about this company and how it is up there in the stratosphere of "best places to work," as decreed by Fortune magazine and others. Not surprisingly, Google received around 2 million resumés last year and filled 5000 positions. And growth? They have grown from zero to 25,000 employees in just eight years. Here are a few points, in no particular order, that stood out for me from … [Read more...]

Did You Ever Try to Climb a Lattice?

For at least 40 years we have had the idea of "lattice" organization as an alternative design to the traditional hierarchy which assumes employees all want to climb up the ladder. In lattice organizations (and, beyond W.L. Gore & Associates, there weren't many of them out there back then), you could go in any direction–up, sideways, and even down–to keep your learning, development, and capacity growing.   Well, the lattice concept is back with a vengeance. Deloitte includes the … [Read more...]

(Re)Frame their Job as Something that Matters

Richard Florida is a provocative thinker around social and economic issues. He first became noticed from his book, The Rise of the Creative Class. In his latest book, The Great Reset, he shares data that the future growth of jobs will be in two areas: (1) knowledge, professional and creative jobs and (2) lower paying, more routine work in the service sector. Citing progressive companies like Wegman's, Whole Foods, REI, Zappos, Nordstrom, and The Container Store, his thesis is that work in the … [Read more...]

Look Beyond the Money for their True Motivators

In PwC Saratoga's latest Global CEO Survey, 65% of CEO's report that they intend to use more non-financial rewards to motivate their staff. This is an admission that the a motivation strategy full of mostly financial reward "carrots" is not enough, especially for their highly skilled and high potential employees. We so easily forget the fact that people are looking for at least some measure of fulfillment from the time they spend on the job. "Fulfillment," of course, can take many forms: … [Read more...]

Does Job Satisfaction Lead to Better Results?

This question has been studied for decades and no direct relationship has been established. Despite what would seem to be a slam-dunk connection, happier workers don't necessarily result in a bumped up bottom line. A recent study by researchers at Cornell, however, has mapped a path between the two. It is not a direct route. There are three intervening variables:   Keep in mind, this was done in a U.S. nation-wide retail company with close to 800 stores. As the researchers admit, … [Read more...]