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Let Your Employees Change the Company

In the last blog we spoke about the importance of employee surveys, feedback, and following up on the results.  One of the challenges is how busy we are as leaders and how many other initiatives we have as priorities. As a result, we take the survey or other feedback, gather the broad ideas, and implement overarching initiatives that involve large numbers of employees. This limits us to implementing a few big ideas rather than lots of little ones. It also creates a situation where there is very little time to test, so whatever we roll-out has to work the first time or has to be delayed several months while we test to make sure it accomplishes our goals.

 

One solution is to push company change down to the employees who are affected most by it. Encourage them to make changes in their work spaces and departments. Give them guidance with a Higher Purpose and clear values and expect them to create the environment they want to work in. Let them create hundreds of smaller experiments. Create mechanisms so the most successful ideas can be shared through the organization.

 

Here are a few steps to creating a culture of continuous culture improvement:

 

  1. Make sure your company’s Higher Purpose and values are clear. These provide a framework to guide the teams to make the right decisions.
  2. Give your teams permission and the opportunities to make changes. Most employees wait to be asked for their opinion and then wait for executives to bless their ideas. Make it clear that you expect them to move forward with their ideas to improve the company and they should meet with their peers on a regular basis to discuss how to make it happen.
  3. Have them schedule weekly or monthly CIT’s or Company Improvement Team meetings in each office with a few local employee leaders. They can meet with their peers to vet, improve, and implement ideas. Representatives from local CIT’s can meet nationally on quarterly conference calls to share the best ideas throughout the company.
  4. Give them a clear budget. $500 per office or $10 per employee. Something to cover minor needs until the idea can be tested. A larger budget can be allocated if it is rolled out nationally.
  5. Highlight the successes in company meetings and newsletters. Praise the failures and use them as stories to encourage others to take risks.

 

In a future blog, we’ll talk about how you can create tribes that can help implement these and other similar ideas.

 

Executives usually make up about 5% of the workforce. Why not get the other 95% working to make the company better as well.

 

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About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Build Tribes

Concept: Create tribes within your office or company – 20 to 25 people per tribe – one leader per tribe who may or may not rotate – the job of the tribe is to care about and take care of the other members. Know when it is their birthday or when the kids are sick or when their son is graduating High School or College and take action.

An executive at Southwest Airlines once told us a wonderful story. He was sitting next to a flight attendant on a trip back from a company meeting and she could not stop talking about how excited she was to work for the company and how much loyalty she felt. The exec asked if she had been to any of the company meetings?  She said no. How about the company picnics? She said no. How about participating in any of the special employee programs? She said no. So he asked, why did she feel so much loyalty? Her answer, “when my dad was in the hospital, the executives all called or emailed to check on me. One even came by the hospital.  They care about me and my family.”

The best way to create loyal employees is not to pay them more, give them bonuses, or even sponsor happy hours and keg parties. The best way is to show how much you care about them personally.

Although it is possible through technology and process, it is difficult for the executive team to personally touch and know what is going on with each employee.  One solution is Tribes. We constantly hear that smaller companies care more about their employees than larger companies.  Although that might be true on average it doesn’t have to be true.  What happens in smaller companies is that everyone including the executives know when someone’s dad is in the hospital, they are having a baby, or when their birthday or anniversary is.  Small companies are basically tribes of people that take care of each other.

A simple way to systematize caring about your employees is instituting tribes.  Identify groups of 5 to 25 employees and ask them to take care of each other and bubble up any challenges you might help with or that you need to be aware of. The tribes of employees can check on each other, be aware of illness or family challenges and cover or offer support when the employee needs it.

By appointing Tribe leaders, you also offer the opportunity to build leadership skills at all levels of the organization.

Building tribes has minimal costs and can be systematized. It does not have to be over complicated and does wonders for the company morale.

The tribes can also create friendly competition to drive performance and camaraderie.

 

You care about your employees but eventually there are too many to reach out and touch each one as often as you would like. Tribes is a scalable methodology that will help you create a company that truly cares about and takes care of its employees.

 

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MyHappiness App

Try the My Happiness App

About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

Building Trust with Employees

To build trust with employees:

 

  1. Start in the interview process
  2. Share the things that hurt
  3. Show them
  4. Live your values

 

  1. Start in the interview process – when you are hiring share the bad about the company as well as the good. Tell them what you have to work on and improve and why some people are not happy here. You want new employees to stay. If they make a decision with all the facts, good and bad, they are more likely to stay and they will trust you for being honest with them from the beginning.
  2. Share the things that hurt – don’t just share good news. Share bad news, like losing key employees, losing key clients, or missing numbers, and ask the teams to help with solutions. Employees know enough about what is going on to understand when you are leaving out the bad news. They will lose trust and make up their own stories which are most likely worse than the real situation. They won’t receive the benefit of your plan and leadership, if you don’t tell them the situation and how you will approach it. They will also miss out on vital training to help them handle the same kinds of challenges as managers.
  3. Show Them – Show them you trust them by letting them make decisions and own important parts of the culture and the business. Provide guidance with vision and values and let them figure out the rest. Employees trust executives that trust them. Show them respect and appreciation.
  4. Live Your Values – Don’t spout values that you don’t live on a daily basis. The quickest way to lose trust is to say you value employees or clients and then to talk badly about them or treat them badly. Trust comes from observation of actions not verbal communication. Live what you preach or don’t preach it.

 

 

book_imgRW_Alexias_Legacy_book3d Happiness Hacks Cover

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MyHappiness App

Try the MyHappiness App

About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

4 Reasons to Invest in Your Employee’s Happiness. Hint: Happiness = Productivity

Dear Employer/Boss,

Would you rather have an employee that works independently, finds solutions for client challenges, and proactively implements changes that make the company better or would you rather have an employee who sits and waits for direction. We are happier when we are empowered to make things better. How can you invest in our autonomy?
Would you rather have an employee who is a team player, works across functions, and can work with their peers to get a project completed or an individualist who is stuck at their desk and unable or uncomfortable reaching out to other people on the team? We are happier when we are connected to and helping other people. How can you invest in more team connections?
Would you rather have an employee who is constantly learning, growing with every new challenge, and always looking for ways to improve themselves and the company or would you rather have an employee that is set in their ways and not interested in growing or changing? We are happier when we are learning and growing in our careers and can clearly see potential for future growth. How can you invest in our mastery?
Would you rather have an employee that is excited about the vision and mission of the company and who believes in the company values and the potential of building something better in the world or would you rather have an employee that just does their job and goes home? We are happier when we can believe in something bigger than ourselves. How can you invest in our understanding of the company purpose?
Happier employees are sick less often, get along with their peers better, make better managers, and make more money for themselves and the company. Happiness seems too nebulous for investment, but the characteristics that make employees happier are aligned perfectly with the characteristics that companies want to see in their teams. Are we managing people’s brains, in other words we want them to be engaged and excited or are we managing their butts, we just want them to show up? Manage their brains, invest in happiness, and you will create productivity and success.

Next week in part 2 of this blog we will review the challenges and confusion that interfere with investments in happiness and productivity.

 Next: How to Manage Happiness and Productivity

About 

My Passion is helping people become successful and happy. I have found that many people want to be successful but just don’t know how. More importantly, people want to be successful because they feel that reaching some success pinnacle will result in them becoming happy. The research and my experience has shown that just the opposite is the case. Success does not lead to happiness. Happiness leads to success.

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