We laughed as we said it, sitting together in the mothership executive conference room at Peoplefluent planning our global domination strategy.
We’d been meeting all week, meeting after meeting, a gaggle of senior leadership and marketing team leads, workshopping and brainstorming and collaborating over all that we’ve been, where we are and where we need to be.
We know we have to create aspirational experiences with our products for our customers, because today’s companies big and small are trying desperately to improve employee success, productivity, retention and loyalty. They want to move from today’s way – the talent management experience of one size that fits all – and move to the “next way,” a more engaging and perpetually positive talent experience for one that affects all. This perpetual positivity creates a culture of optimism and lights bonfires of celebratory growth.
Well, CHRO’s (Chief Human Resource Officers) and HR pros across the board are now evolving and they understand that the workplace should be talent-centric, not process-centric, and that is fundamentally changing the way they’re doing business. CEO’s love this, because they want the HR business to fundamentally change the way it rolls (as the kids say, or use to).
So what’s wrong with the aspirational?
Is the goal of creating an optimistic workplace culture simply too much marshmallow fluff? Or is it the yummy stuff that serves up long-term growth and success?
Of course it’s too easy to talk about all the bad workplace stuff today and poke fun at the happy workplace, so we should focus on what we can all do to make the workplace better.
According to the 17th Annual PwC Global CEO survey, only “32% of US CEOs agree that the level of trust with employees has improved in their industry over the last five years. That’s not encouraging at a time when business leaders need employees excited about the strategy and willing to take necessary risks to get there.”
Employee engagement is nice if you can get it, but the PwC CEO survey does validate that our captains of industry do want to make a difference by:
- Getting people excited and connected to the strategy matters when CEOs make changes in their business model. Being transparent about what it will take to be successful and where the company is headed is important.
- Equally, being clear about expectations about employee behavior, for example, in how to interact with customers or collaborate together with other people helps change the corporate culture. Leaders need to create the environment and back their employees as they go through the changes to improve employee engagement and raise the levels of trust.
So then I got to hang out with my dear friend and TalentCulture #TChat community co-founder, Meghan M. Biro, and her very nice husband while I was in Boston. We met at a great local pizza place / candlepin bowling alley called Sacco’s (something new for me). Everyone single employee I met was upbeat and positive when it came to every aspect of service. It showed all around us as the place filled to capacity with family and friends who were upbeat and positive.
One sign on the wall near the wood-fired ovens read: think good thoughts.
Right on. It pays off, which is the pay-off in outcomes, business outcomes that is. The positive experiences must drive business outcomes, which is the pay-off of the two things I want you all to take away today:
- Experience. It’s okay to be aspirational, to find more positive purpose and meaning in the world of work. Workplace optimism builds stronger relationships and empowers a culture that is positive for employees and management. Senior leadership must be involved of course, but managers and employees can also really help drive the optimistic culture that drives success that drives the right business outcomes. We can all help improve morale close to where all the work gets done.
- Outcomes. Managers and employees can create actionable ideas that create workplace optimism and meaningful work. And meaningful work drives productivity, growth and the many other business outcomes that keep us all in business. It motivates us to not just do more, but to do better. We’re more open to collaborative ideas, to being more efficient and productive, to continuously develop and invest in ourselves just as the best companies to work for do in kind, to generating more profitable revenue while reducing costs.
Experience outcomes. Sigh. Think good thoughts indeed.