By: Jonathan Bogush- Director of Connectivity
As a recruiter, I’ve learned two important things since our economy has been clawing itself out of recession:
1. Many employees within Fortune 500 manufacturing organizations toil to the point of exhaustion at jobs with little appreciation or meaning but plenty of distractions.
2. Less than half of the employed individuals I speak with are satisfied with their jobs.
While this may sound very gloomy; I believe that in 2015 a much sunnier story is taking shape. Today, there are a variety of forces that are pushing the workplace in a better direction. These factors include the rise of life/work balance-minded, meaning-seeking millennials, increased transparency into organizations, and mounting evidence that high-trust cultures lead to better business results. Thanks to these and other positive trends, there is no doubt that we’re at the beginning of new era where positive workplace culture is trending. I believe that in the near future, all people can expect to work for an organization where they trust their leaders, enjoy their colleagues and take pride in what they do.
This trend in positive workplace culture is in keeping with the rise of business sustainability, the emergence of the “purpose economy,” and the attention to reciprocity’s role in success. What’s more, signs of this new era’s dawning can be found in many sectors of the economy. Even the hardheaded manufacturing sector is finding a heart, in part because blending head and heart pays dividends, both in a healthy business and happy employees.
To be sure, there are countervailing forces to this positive workplace culture trend. For every well-tuned leadership team creating a culture of transparency and accountability, there are shortsighted stakeholders who oust leaders that are pushing too hard to invest in their people. On top of that, the occasional economic slowdown can make it hard for an organization to retain the long-term vision that is needed to build a positive workplace culture.
So how does an organization defend its workplace culture against setbacks caused by shortsighted stakeholders or the occasional ebb and flow of economic conditions? I believe the key is to embrace the culture attributes of trust, pride, and camaraderie. Trust is developed over time as employees experience leadership through a manager who promotes two-way communication, demonstrates competency, maintains a clear vision, matches actions to words, and treats employees with respect and fairness. Pride relates directly to the employee and their belief that the work they do is meaningful and making a difference in their organization as well as creating a positive effect in their community. And camaraderie is something that employees need in order to feel a real connection with their co-workers. Many times camaraderie can be accomplished when employees can be themselves, experience a sense of fun, engage with friendly co-workers, and experience a sense of community or family.
One thing is clear: companies that embrace a positive workplace culture will be better positioned in their particular marketplace; they will see more meaningful engagements with their employees and customers and thereby see better business outcomes. In addition, they will see a variety of internal benefits ranging from recruiting advantages to more effective innovation at the strategic level.
With all this said, it is clear that there are plenty of organizations that do not provide great workplaces, but I am confident that powerful forces will continue to propel the positive workplace culture trend I am seeing today. Good luck in 2015! Feel free to reach out to me directly to discuss in greater detail.
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