My Job Rocks!

By: Paul Shearstone

When was the last time you heard someone say that? More importantly: When was the last time you said it?

Sadly, too few people today can honestly admit they love their job, their company or in particular their long-term personal outlook. No one has to be reminded how fragile our current economy is especially in light of a [pending] new war in Iraq and how that can threaten our very way of life – perhaps even our continued employment as companies reel in an atmosphere of uncertainty.

With ever-diminishing employee ranks being asked to work harder for the same or less, trepidation is the natural outcome that results in widespread discomfort and dissatisfaction in the corporate marketplace. That is, however, for most companies. Fortunately, not all.

Every year marketing research studies list the top 10 companies in North America to work for based on employee satisfaction. [Yahoo/Google: “Top 10 Companies to work for"] Although each year the list is likely to change, what never changes is the blueprint, the formula if you will, that got them there. Like so many rules for success and prosperity, the recipe is in the end, elemental, logical and obvious. In theory that is – not in application.

Few will argue the monetary importance of employee satisfaction. Not too long ago, Sears conducted an 800-store survey that showed the impact of employee attitudes on the bottom line. When employee attitudes improved by 5%, customer satisfaction jumped 1.3%, consequently increasing revenue by one-half a percentage point.*

Ongoing corporate research suggests it takes five to eight times more money, time and effort to get a new employee than it does to keep the ones we already have. When these studies also point out it takes on average, thirty to fifty thousand dollars to recruit, hire and train the average office employee, one need not have an MBA degree to see the potential financial ramifications for companies giving little importance to facts like these.

Those who can genuinely boast about how much they love their job more often than not work for organizations that adhere to proven principles that garner greater profits through employee satisfaction.

So what are they?

Top-Down Leadership:

It’s not uncommon to hear words like: Fair, Open, Honest, Reliable, Empathetic and Strong articulated by happy employees to describe the attributes of their corporate leaders. No mystery either is the belief that the character of the leader is incontrovertibly reflected in the corporate culture. Human nature being what it is and in practice, each descending level in turn, takes license to act in a way commensurate with how they’ve been treated. In short: Strong Ethical Leadership from the top down = Respect and Loyalty from the bottom up.

Corporate Vision:

Robust companies today have a clear understanding of where they are and most importantly, where they want to be!

Too many unsuccessful organizations with disillusioned staff are Re-Active and not Pro-Active preferring rather to manage by the seat of their pants. Without a defined corporate mandate, interpretations ensue, bad and good, but with the same result, workforce uneasiness and nervousness, which in turn fan the flames of worker dissatisfaction.

Communication:

Any energized staff will attest to the fact, communication is integral to their sense of comfort and satisfaction in the company workforce. Having a strong corporate vision is only the first step in getting the company on the right track. Communicating the vision to all levels of the organization in a timely and clear way is the strategy that brings people together and galvanizes them to one common, positive purpose.

Psychologists will tell us that people are happy and healthy to the degree they feel in control with their environment. Knowing where the company wants to go and what management expects of us all but eliminates the potential for erroneous interpretations and negative rumor mongering.

Recognition:

Times and conditions may have changed. Human behavior and psychology have not nor are they ever likely to. It’s not a stretch to believe, corporations still face similar economic and social challenges they did fifty years ago. When it comes to people, they want to be RECOGNIZED. Simply said, they want to be VALUED.

Read any exit interview from almost any company to find the two most common reasons for employee dissatisfaction and departure are:

  1. “Nobody ever listened to me." and,

  2. “Nobody ever told me whether I was doing a good job or not."

How sad….How straightforwardly avoidable!

The happiest employees receive timely, clear feedback and recognition largely for their positive contributions and dedication. They are also given timely attention when their activities are not in keeping with the corporate vision or their responsibilities. Again, this speaks to their human behavioral need for honest feedback in order for them to find psychic balance in the workplace.

Contented workers are encouraged to contribute ideas designed to improve any aspect of protocol that benefits the company, its staff or its customers. They are then publicly lauded, [recognize] by senior management which in turn promotes others to seek similar recognition by engaging in similar company-benefiting activities.

Fact #1: Employees, who feel they have a vested interest in the success of their company, out-perform those that do not.

Fact #2: Recognition is the least expensive investment a corporation can make with the largest potential dividends in employee satisfaction and corporate profitability’s.

Community

People by nature possess an innate psychological need to ‘Be a Winner’ – to be a part of a ‘Winning Team’. Unhappy employees often feel disheartened, disenfranchised with their situation which in turn cultivates thoughts and activities designed to expressly benefit them – often at the expense of the corporation.

The opposite is also true. The happier the employee, the safer and in control they feel which in turn excites the need to benefit others, the team, and the corporate community!

Bottom Line:

Strong ethical leadership combined with a clearly communicated corporate vision that promotes employee buy-in and recognition, builds a cohesive, positive, profitable working atmosphere wherein if you listen, you just might hear people say, “My Job ROCKS!"

*************************

* Article: New York Times

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