Monday, July 09, 2012

Top 5 Factors To Win Over Staff


This article in a newspaper over the weekend created a sense of conflict within me. Firstly, it made me use the term “newspaper” when paper never entered into it. I read the headline online via my iPhone and emailed the link to it to myself so I could access it on my laptop at home and refer you to it when I got around to next posting on my blog. No paper was involved, yet I still used the term “newspaper.” That aint going away in a hurry.

Secondly, it’s painfully obvious that a lazy or perhaps pressured and under-resourced media outlet pretty much regurgitated verbatim much, if not all, of a press release. If you told me it was a paid placement I wouldn’t be surprised.

The sense of conflict in me  I mentioned earlier comes from me mostly agreeing with much of what it says. Yet again, I’ll stress that I believe there is a major difference between true employee engagement that drives productivity and profitability and everyone just being happy and this being a great place to work. If I worked in a car factory that let me take home a new car every night, I’m sure I would think and tell everyone I knew, including Fairfax’s business news ‘reporters’, that this factory was a “great place to work.” It doesn’t mean I’m actively engaged and it doesn’t help productivity and profitability. That said, their key points aren’t a million miles away from the drivers of true engagement which I reckon are self awareness, autonomy, mastery, purpose and developing others. Their top 5 factors to win over staff are:
  1. Set clear expectations
  2. Communicate well
  3. Shared company values
  4. Reward and recognition
  5. Promote within
Assuming there is a company mission that could connect with individual employees’ senses of purpose, the top 3 definitely reinforce the driver of purpose and self awareness. Numbers 4 and 5 reinforce mastery and developing others. So, on balance, I like this research and its findings if not the article per se. (Once again, I’ll confess the reason I like it is because it agrees with me.)

More internal conflict is generated for me as its primary superstar employer is Chorus. I don’t know the company that well. I’ve never worked with them or for them. They’re one of the companies that fell out of the restructuring of New Zealand Telecom. Their vans are double parked all over our country whilst men and women with pliers are up to their armpits in cables. They may do more than this. Other than hearing about them in the business news due to the restructuring, their other claim to fame in my memory was shunting those people with pliers out, away from being ‘employees’ and into being ‘self-employed contractors.’ Away from all that security and benefits and overheads and inclusiveness and legislative protection.

I am a self-employed contractor. I love it. I chose it. I’m not dissing the business model. I am wondering if perhaps Chorus’s current high levels of employee engagement might be due to them only surveying employees? Much of the actual working workforce performing their actual core business are no longer employees, they’re self-employed contractors. They may not be so happy – or engaged. If Chorus did include them than bloody well done. They must have handled the displacement and contracting process with Saint-like genius and I’d applaud them for that. If.

Read the article but be warned, do not eat beforehand. The gratuitous self-martyring of some of the bosses quoted may cause you nausea. I especially liked one HR Manager’s story of refusing 3 attempts to upgrade her airline seat so she wouldn’t put herself above anyone else. I got the same sickly-sweet feeling that much non-business class airline food causes.
The other sense of conflict it caused me is that it made me struggle to work out the possessive of Chorus and apostrophes and the need for an extra s. Is it Chorus’ or Chorus’s or something else?

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