Reaching maximum productivity was a puzzle before the pandemic. In today’s unsettled market, getting the most out of people and processes is much more difficult.
Top talent is required to unlock productivity. When you can’t retain, much less attract, top talent, productivity and commitment suffer. And more than a year after the pandemic, many companies are still losing good people.
As younger generations resist old-school management approaches and repel disrespectful workplaces, the “great resignation” continues:
- Over 15 million US workers voluntarily quit their jobs from October 2022 to January 2023.
- In the UK, people are quitting their jobs at the highest rate since 2009.
- As reported by CNBC, a new LinkedIn study found that 70% of Gen Z and millennials plan to quit their jobs in 2023.
There is undeniable data on the positive side, as well.
Companies with purposeful, positive, and productive work cultures are not losing top talent. In fact, they’re attracting top talent daily. The uncompromising cultures of Radio Flyer, Five Below, Stryker, In-N-Out Burger, NVidia UK, and other companies are thriving in our post-pandemic world of work.
The key to maximum productivity at these “great places to work” organizations is a workplace where respect is as important as results.
This is the new reality: Today, employees of every generation desire and deserve workplaces where they are respected and validated for their aligned ideas, efforts, and contributions every day.
How your employees are treated in daily interactions—by leaders and colleagues—has a significant impact on productivity. When employees experience deserved respect and validation in their workplace, they thrive. They proactively solve problems, cooperate to create efficiency through process improvement, treat customers and peers with respect, and brag about the great company they work for.
Conversely, when employees do not experience deserved respect and validation, they quit and leave. Some quit and stay.
To start, leaders must accept that what they’ve tried in the past has not helped. Disrespectful, command-and-control approaches will not solve this problem. Those approaches make the problem worse.
Unfortunately, most business leaders have never been asked to proactively manage a healthy work culture. Most don’t know how to proactively turn a crappy culture into an uncompromising work culture.
Our proven culture change process guides leaders to:
- Define their desired work culture
- Align people to the defined work culture
- Refine plans, decisions, and actions—as well as people resistant to change—to their defined work culture.
The define phase requires the creation of an Organizational Constitution, a formal agreement that includes the company’s:
- Servant*purpose—How the company’s products and services improve the quality of life of customers and communities.
- Values—The principles that guide how leaders and peers are expected to treat others.
- Behaviors—Observable, measurable, and tangible descriptions of how each stakeholder demonstrates the values in daily interactions.
- Strategies and goals—A 2-to-3-year plan that outlines your strategic thrusts and measurable goals.
Once the Organizational Constitution is formulated and communicated, the real work begins. Simply announcing your desired culture doesn’t immediately translate to leaders and team members modeling your defined values and behaviors.
Culture is built upon the desired behaviors leaders reward and torn down by the disrespectful, unproductive behaviors leaders tolerate.
This means leaders must hold everyone in the company—including fellow leaders and managers—accountable for demonstrating valued behaviors. To ensure accountability occurs, leaders must:
- Model the valued behaviors and service purpose.
- Coach those that are not demonstrating your valued behaviors and service purpose to ensure alignment.
- Measure formal leaders through custom-values surveys that enable employees to rate their bosses on the degree to which those bosses model your valued behaviors.
- Celebrate when leaders and team members demonstrate your valued behaviors and service purpose.
- Mentor those that don’t respond to coaching. If players do align and become great citizens, cthen you can celebrate. However, if players do not align, leaders must carinly help them out of your organization.
Building an uncompromising company culture takes time, focus, and energy.
Within 12 to 18 months, our typical change partners see increases in employee retention and referrals of 35%. Employee engagement improves by as much as 40%—as do customer service ratings. And performance metrics—including productivity and profits—increase by 35%
Don’t leave the quality of your work culture to chance. Create an uncompromising work culture where employees thrive.
[Footnote] * Servant purpose is a very specific kind of mission statement. “It is what your company does, for whom, and to what end. Put another way: Your servant purpose is how what you do as a company improves customers’ lives. This comes down to your “why,” or the core motivation for your work.” Mark S. Babbitt and S. Chris Edmonds, Good Comes First (Matt Holt Books, 2021), pg. 19.
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