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"Why Choose Between Fun and Content When You Can Have Both"

Keep Employees Happy; Show Them How To Earn People’s Business

Here’s a quick and easy test to see if you deserve my business (or anyones for that matter). There are four questions. Each is worth 25 points:

  1. I answer every email message that is sent to me (unless it is obvious spam or the sender requires no response). I try to do it within 24 hours. Do you?
  2. I do not ignore voice mails; except when they are clearly unsolicited sales calls. I return those calls. Do you?
  3. When someone asks me for information I respond in a timely manner? Do you?
  4. When someone provides me with information or a proposal I get back to them; even if the news is not what they want to hear. I don’t ignore their emails, voice mails or shouts from the top of a mountain hoping they’ll  just go away. Do you?

Now add up your score.

Now go back and answer the questions honestly.

Now go ask someone to answer the questions honestly about you.

A score below 80 is failing.

The REAL Workplace To-Do List

  1. Help Out a Co-Worker 
  2. Don’t Lie, Cheat, Steal, Backstab, or Embezzle 
  3. Celebrate Great Work 
  4. Be A Good Role Model For Others 
  5. Give The BEST Customer Service You Can 
  6. Teach Them Something New Daily 
  7. Have Regular Meetings To Talk About What Is On People’s Minds 
  8. Implement a New Idea Today; Even If It Isn’t Yours 
  9. Smile and Laugh at the Craziness that is Your Workplace 
  10. Be The Fun Workplace You Say You Are! 

 

Every Employee Happy. Every Day. Every Employee Engaged. Every Day.

Keep Employees Happy; Create a Workplace That Excites Them

Was channel surfing last night and paused for a few minutes to watch a TV show with Ray’s wife from Everyone Loves Raymond and the janitor from Scrubs. He was looking for a job – at a septic company. I must have come in late but I am assuming he was coached on how to appear enthusiastic during a job interview.

You’re cleaning crap out of a hole in the ground. Yeah, someones got to do it; but how the heck do you get enthusiastic about sewage? About feces?

Organizations seeking to keep employees happy usually tell me stories about how hard people work. When I arrive I also see how people seem to lose their identity when their foot steps through the workplace door; how they appear somewhat robotic. I believe the greatest value an employee has to offer his or her employer is their true identity.

I’ve worked in public accounting, agriculture, cement, travel, cosmetics and human capital. That’s just a bit of my past. Of all those industries the only one I really enjoyed was the travel industry; partially because I got to travel to our branch locations to really see what our business had to offer and how creative travel professionals can be. But mainly because I also got to play (be creative) with them in designing new and innovative programs. It was a lot of fun. I couldn’t get excited about lip gloss or cement. The coffin-sized cement slab when I walked off the elevator actually freaked me out.

Yesterday I launched a new company; a nonprofit dedicated to feeding the hungry. Check it out at http://onelessmeal.org. With a partner we opened a Virtual Diner where you order off a menu and you Don’t Eat It; but rather you Donate It! We’ve been having a blast. Why? Because it’s fun and we get to do something good. I got to create the very thing I talk to audiences about – designing a workspace and workplace where people look forward to contributing their personal identity.

What’s your personal identity? Is it really coming out in the workplace or is it being stifled by rules and policy that are keeping you from adding ROI to your organization. This is the conversation that needs to be occurring. This is the concept that I encourage Top Execs and HR Professionals to take a look at. How do you tap into each and every piece of human talent in your organization to create something exciting, fun, innovative and different. What really is the best role for every person in an organization? I think sometimes we forget why we hired someone. Did we hire them to be a programmer; or did we hire them because we liked something about their personality? You saw a company fit. So maybe their programming skills were not what you thought. Is there another place for this person in the organization? There just might be; after all you saw something in that person when you offered them that position; something more than a programmer. Figuring out how to best use people is what smart companies are doing to create exciting workplaces. 

Or you can continue to let the robots wander aimlessly. Up to you.

P.S. He didn’t get the job; even the guy hiring him could not believe he was that enthusiastic about feces.

Keep Employees Happy; Make Your Place a Great Place To Work

The Top 50 Great Places to Work in Canada was just released. Is your company on the list? Probably not. Probably because most of you reading this are not in Canada.

But it got me thinking about those Top Whatever lists. Does it mean your company sucks if you don’t make a list? Just because you didn’t meet some criteria that was created by some organization; that your company didn’t fit a mold, template or model; does that mean your place of work is not great? Shame on you. Try harder next year.

So enough with my sarcasm. I’ve always believed that Great Places To Work are individual. Let’s face it, how can two people at the same company be on complete opposite sides of a discussion when it comes to what the company does to keep employees happy; to make their workplace a great place to work.

Years ago I worked for a concrete company. Our VP of Administration walked the building every morning at 8:30 to see who had or had not arrived. How messed up is it when people are turning on lights and computers in a friend’s office and spreading papers on a desk to give an appearance? We worked long hours when it wasn’t necessary and leaving before 7:00 PM was frowned upon. If you were seen socializing or having some water cooler chat you were immediately interrupted by your superior with an “urgent request.” You were encouraged to have the Controller’s secretary order your lunch each day. Layoffs were a best practice at this company. But the kicker…..an employee who was going through a very bad divorce; that included domestic violence was not allowed to take time off to move when the judge okayed it. This wasn’t work – it was prison.

So why were people there for 15 and 20 years? Yes, they paid employees well; but at what expense to your sanity? And yes, I know it is work and you are expected to be there. But bed check? Cutting off all socialization? When you keep people together in closed spaces for that long a period of time each week you better let them socialize! I’m sure the best places to work do so.

After 6 months I knew this was a bad place to be – for me.

My point: Every company has its challenges. Every company has way too many rules and policies that too often keep people from being engaged and happy. Every company has been tightening the purse strings and asking employees to sacrifice; even the Great Places To Work. To me it has always been about finding those sweet spots in your work that get you jumping out of bed every day; that get you excited to be part of your team. That’s what makes a workplace great.

So just in case your place of work isn’t considered an Official Great Place To Work I offer you these ideas:

  • Is it your relationships with customers that make you happy?
  • Are the people you work alongside the source of this great place?
  • Is the work challenging?
  • Does your work offer opportunity to use your creativity and know-how to make a difference?
  • Have you found the opportunities to learn and grow on a regular basis?
  • Have you made connections with not only important people, but interesting people in your organization?  
  • Do your opinions matter?

These are just some of the criteria that I offer you before you to look at before you send your resume off to a new employer. Take some time to develop a list of your own that would make your workplace a great place to work – for you. 

I’m not knocking the Top 50 and Top 100 Great Places to Work lists that come out on a regular basis. They offer value and give every company something to strive for. I just want to make sure you’re not walking around the office feeling like you’re missing out on something. Trust me; even those great places have people who think their job and company suck. And if that is the case…….

Who is really in the better place to work?