Article by Liz Ryan on Forbes.com
I get a lot of mail from HR leaders and department managers who have questions about employee satisfaction. Since few if any business schools or HR training programs teach people about fear and trust, many leaders are confused.
They think of their employees’ satisfaction on the job as a quantity that can be measured and manipulated, like the temperature of a pot of water on the stove.
The reason that boiling water is considered the easiest cooking task is that all you have to do to make the water hotter or colder is to turn a dial — to turn the heat up or down under the pot.
That isn’t how culture works. In real life, creating a healthy culture has nothing to do with turning dials.
In fact, when you view your culture as a set of dials that you can turn — giving out a few more sick days per year or bringing in lunch for the employees twice a month instead of once a month, for instance — you fundamentally misapprehend how culture works and insult your employees, to boot!
Culture is made of waves of trust and fear. When the overriding message from your organization’s leaders to your employees is “Keep your nose clean, stay in line, hit your goals and everything will be fine!” you’ve got a fear-based culture.
Where’s the passion in that? Where’s the fun? There is no fun in that model, and there is no passion. It’s a compliance model — and the message to employees is “Toe the line, or we’ll find somebody else to do your job!”
As your organization evolves to become more human and thus more energized, creative and collaborative, you won’t run the business by posting yardsticks everywhere and telling your employees they have to hit the yardsticks.
Instead of yardsticks, you’ll keep everybody on the team aware of your mission and let them see where their own personal missions intersect with yours. Triumphs will be team triumphs — something for all of you to celebrate together.
Healthy organizations don’t put managers on one side of an invisible fence and employees on the other. Your empowered HR department is the Ministry of Culture in a healthy workplace. Everyone in the company is part of the Ministry of Culture, too.
If your pay scales are fair and up-to-date with your local talent market, then pay is not likely to be the reason your employees are unhappy. Trust and respect are more important elements than pay and benefits to most employees, assuming your pay and benefits are comparable to those of employers in your area.
- Unaddressed Conflict
- Feedback Loop
Read more about these 5 things and 3 To Do items to get your culture on a healthy track in the original article on Forbes.com.
Liz Ryan is CEO/founder of Human Workplace and author of Reinvention Roadmap.