You Couldn’t Pay Me Enough to Work Here 3

bxp59950Staff engagement – it’s rarely about the money. They stay because of the people they work with. They stay because it’s a fun place to work. They stay because they see an opportunity for advancement. According to a recent survey conducted by Aon Hewitt, employee engagement in North America is at an all time low – down to 63% of the workforce. If those numbers are accurate that means 37% of your employees are not engaged, they are just going through the motions, or worse yet, they are actively disengaged, and our bent on trying to undermine what you and your engaged employees are trying to accomplish. That means 37 % of your staff have turned off or have tuned out.

Worth Remembering … “Get to know your people, what they do well, what they enjoy doing, what their weaknesses and strengths are, and what they want and need from their job” – Robert Townsend

What are you doing to retain the talent you have? Every organization has an identity – a culture that is best described as the values, beliefs and attitudes that are shared by everyone in the company. It starts at the top and trickles down. It never starts from the bottom and trickles up. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos believes that if you get the culture right, then a lot of really amazing things happen on their own. What are you doing to engage the hearts and minds of everyone in the company? Answers to exit interviews conducted by the Saratoga Institute and outlined in Leigh Branham’s book “The Seven Hidden Reasons Employee’s Leave” may hold a few clues. According to those surveyed “Workers felt devalued and unrecognized, workers suffered from stress due to overwork and work-life balance and there was a loss of trust and confidence in senior management”

  • You’ve got to give people a reason to stay.
  • You’ve got to make them feel part of the process by soliciting their input.
  • You’ve got to communicate often by letting them know how well they are doing
  • You’ve got to let them in on your plans for the future, where they fit in and where the organization is going.

Worth Remembering … “One of the most important things about being a good manager is to rule with a heart. You have to know the business, but you also have to know what’s at the heart of business and that’s people.” – Oprah Winfrey

What are you doing to attract new talent? Everyone is competing for the same recruit. Why would someone want to work for your company instead of your competitors? And remember it’s not about the money. You just can’t sit back and throw money at them. At some point you won’t be able to pay them enough money to stay. According to a 2012 Bersin survey, $720 million per year is spent on employee engagement without much of a return on that investment.  If you want to attract new talent then you need to understand what they are looking for in the companies they choose to work with and commit to changing the way you communicate and interact. Life outside of work has become just as important, if not more important, than life at work. Especially among Millennials who will make up 50 % of the workforce by 2020. What are you doing to promote a healthy balanced life-style?  Advancement should be based on merit not on seniority. What training dollars are you willing to invest in their future? If you aren’t willing to invest in them, then don’t expect them to invest in you. Do you have a mentorship program? Have you identified your next crop of managers and enrolled them in your management development program? Can they work at home or do you offer a flexible work schedule? Company mission statements, values and code of conduct should be more than just fancy platitudes. You and everyone in the organization need to “live” them.

  • You’ve got to give people a reason why they would want to work for you
  • You’ve got to make them feel part of the process by soliciting their input
  • You’ve got to communicate often by letting them know how well they are doing
  • You’ve got to let them in on your plans for the future, where they fit in and where the organization is going.

I hope you are starting to see a pattern here? People are people – it doesn’t matter what generation you are from – we all want the same thing. We want to be seen and treated as partners. We want to work for an organization that wants us to be successful and are willing to invest time, energy and resources in us. And we want to work for an organization that makes us feel valued and trusted. 

Copyright (C) 2013. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Looking for a speaker? Planning a lunch-n-learn or training session? Let’s talk. briansmithpld@gmail.com. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you and your organization visit – http://briansmithpld.com

Why Do Good People Do Dumb Ass Things? 6

Ethics 2Lance Armstrong, Canadian Senator Mike Duffy and the City of Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford – you can replace those names with any number of people  but, the question remains the same. What where they thinking? Why do good people do dumb ass things? Do they do it because they can? Is it because they think no one is watching or do they do it out of a sense of entitlement? They’ve worked incredibly hard, sacrificed much and worked long hours to further their career – and then in one dumb ass move they’ve thrown it all away. Any credibility they had  is gone – wiped out in a heart beat. Some will get back into the public’s good graces but most won’t.

It is better to be defeated on principle then to win on lies.  – Arthur Caldwell 

The first course I ever taught at Algonquin College’s School of Business was a “Business Ethics” course written by one of my personal hero’s, the late Professor Ron Knowles. He wrote it for first year business students in the College’s Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) program. One of the neat things about the course was that I got to work with first year business students to help them write their own personal code of conduct, their own ethical decision-making model that they could use when faced with an ethical dilemma. (A situation where there is no clear right or wrong answer) When you are confronted with an ethical dilemma what series of questions do you ask yourself to help you make a decision that you can live with?

Before the issue of integrity can even be raised we need principles of behavior – moral convictions about what is and is not appropriate.  – Dr. Nathaniel Branden 

Ethics is best described as a set of moral principles or values that defines what is considered right and wrong behavior for a person or group. Some people suggest that there is a difference between business and personal ethics. But, to my way of thinking there is just one. You are either ethical or you’re not. How can you behave one way at work and then behave a different way at home and still be true to yourself and what you believe in? The truth of the matter is – if you have to ask whether it is ethical or not – you already know the answer.

A moral compass – your personal code of conduct.  

What do you hold to be true? What are your enduring principles? What are you not willing to compromise – no matter the situation or the outcome? What isn’t for sale – no matter the price? If you had to sit down and write your personal code of conduct, what kinds of things would you include on that list? Ethics is a process. It is a continuous effort of studying our own beliefs and conduct and striving to ensure that we, and the institutions we help to shape, live up to standards that are solidly based. What series of questions will you ask yourself to solve your ethical dilemmas? Do you believe – I mean really believe in honesty, integrity and treating others fairly?  Is it OK to win at all costs? Does the end result justify the means? I wonder knowing what they know now would Lance, Mike or Rob act any differently? Unfortunately they may not get a second chance.

Copyright (c) 2013. Brian Smith-PLD. Not to be reproduced or copied without permission. Brian is available for speaking engagements, seminars and workshops. Find out what Brian can do for you and your organization by visiting http://briansmithpld.com

Enduring Principals – Your Personal Code of Conduct 4

What does it say about the World we live in when we question the honesty and integrity of the people in leadership positions – both in government and the clergy? Public trust in our lawyers, teachers, and financial institutions are at an all time low.

Worth Remembering …

“Leaders walk their talk; in true leaders there is no gap between the theories they espouse and their practice” – Warren Bennis

What is ethical or unethical behaviour? Ethics is best described as a set of moral principles or values that defines what is considered right or wrong behaviour for a person or a group. Some people suggest that there is a difference between business ethics and personal ethics. But, to my way of thinking – I believe you’re either ethical or you’re not. There is only one kind of ethics. You either believe in being honest – to act with integrity – to be guided by a strong sense of values and fair play – or not. How can you behave one way at work and then behave a different way at home and still be true to  yourself – still be true to your own personal code of conduct – your own set of enduring principles?

The first course I ever taught at Algonquin College’s School of Business was a “Business Ethics” course developed by one of my hero’s Professor Ron Knowles. Professor Knowles developed the course for first year business students in our SME program (Small, Medium, Enterprises). One of the neat things about that course was I got to work with first year business students to help them develop their own personal code of conduct – their own ethical decision making model that they could use to help them make the right decision when faced with an ethical dilemma. (An ethical dilemma is when you’re confronted with a situation where there is no clear right or wrong answer. No clear right or wrong way to behave.)

Worth Remembering …

“Be more concerned with your character then your reputation. Your character is what you really are, while your reputation is what others think you are.” – Dale Carnegie

What do you hold to be true? What are your enduring principles? What are you not willing to compromise – no matter the situation – no matter the personal price you’ll have to pay?What series of questions do you ask yourself to solve your ethical dilemmas? If you where to sit down and script your personal code of conduct what kinds of things would you include? Do you believe in honestly? Acting with integrity? Do you believe in treating people fairly, consistently and with respect?

I’ve been put into positions in the past where I had to compromise my own set of values. I’ve done some things that in hindsight I should have handled differently because I ended up not being true to myself. What I did was not illegal but, it still bothers me to this day. And because I’m still bothered by it – I know it was the wrong thing to do. I should have acted differently no matter the cost. When we behave in ways that conflict with our own judgment of what is right, we lose face in ourselves. You may not always make the right decision – regardless of what ethical decision-making model you use. But you will make a decision that you can live with no matter the outcome because you where true to yourself.

Worth Remembering …

“The depths and strength of a human character are defined by its moral reserves. People reveal themselves completely only when they are thrown out of customary conditions of their life, for only then do they have to fall back on their reserves.” – Leon Trotsky

The Josephson Institute of Ethics, a non-profit training and consulting organization based in Los Angeles California advocates principled decision-making based on six common values they call “The Six Pillars of Character”. The Institute contends that these six pillars are the basis of ethically defensible decisions and the foundation of well-lived lives.

  1. Trustworthiness: Honesty, integrity, reliability and loyalty
  2. Respect: Civility, courtesy, tolerance, acceptance
  3. Responsibility: Accountability, pursuit of excellence, self-restraint
  4. Fairness: Process, impartiality, equity
  5. Caring: Empathy, compassion, a sense of duty
  6. Good Citizenship: A sense of fair play, giving back, giving a hand up.

What we say to ourselves and our actions must be congruent. The words and our behaviour must match. There are people whom we trust and those we do not. And if we ask ourselves the reason why – most likely it’s because we trust congruency and are suspicious of incongruence. Results of a Society for Human Resources Management survey found that only 27% of the employees feel that their organizations leadership was ethical. At the end of the day – you have to be true to yourself. The bottom line is – If you have to ask yourself if you acted ethically or not? – you already know the answer.