Since 1993 my career has been focused on creating positive change in work, life and family for individuals, teams, and systems. One of my passions is creating happier, healthier, and productive workplaces. My reason for this is that most people spend more time in paid work than they spend with their families, and if those work environments aren’t positive and healthy, the people aren’t healthy, and that is carried home with them. I am referring to the holistic definition of health, not just physical health. What I am really referring to is the health of environments that makes people want to go to work, not dread it.
The research is clear on what makes people feel satisfied and stimulated at work, and what doesn’t. The most important people to others at work are those who they work closest with, and the one to whom they report, i.e., their manager. Although we want to believe that the passion of the work and the company are important to workers, sometimes those things matter, and sometimes they don’t. What does matter are the people one works closest with at work and their manager. Management does not pay enough attention to this issue.
Too may companies have profit and productivity as their God, and consider the staff as cogs in the wheel directed to those ends. One negative outcome of this is that the happiness and the health of the staff is of little if any concern to management or the company. These same companies are not concerned enough about healthy workplaces, job enrichment, or retention. They fail to consider the direct linkage between happy employees, productivity, and financial stability of the company. Turnover is very expensive. There are so many revolving doors in some businesses that the Human Resources Department can’t focus on job enrichment and other important employee retention strategies. They are spending most of their time plugging the staffing holes due to turnover.
Most people want to do good work. When they don’t, the system is often at fault. Of course there are people who only work for the paycheck, but not as many of those as is sometimes thought. More often than not when workers are not engaged, management has failed to create the culture to inspire and develop others.
Creating a culture that inspires and develops to do their best work isn’t magic. It does not require extraordinary measures. What it does require is a recognition of the value of workers, and a willingness to do all that one can do to provide an environment which makes doing one’s best a priority.
How to create this environment is the topic of a future Blog.