Every company has a few: a Negative Nellie or Nelson who, no matter what you do, would never be happy. Like, if you offered every employee a million dollars, they’d be upset it wasn’t given to them in small bills.
Generally, we sigh at these full-time frowners and let their complaints roll off our backs. However, research from Gallup estimates that these workers — and the disengagement and decreased morale they can foster — actually are costing your company money.
Now that is not something you can let roll off, especially in times like these.
According to Gallup, disengaged employees are costing their companies up to $1 out of every $3 spent on payroll.
In other words, a full one-third of your company's payroll is being thrown away due to negativity. And whether that funk has descended on your company in the past couple of years or it's been there all along, you have to address it now.
Author Jon Gordon says that means focusing attention on the state of your company's culture. Gordon, author of “Soup: A Recipe to Nourish Your Team and Culture,” offers his insights for getting your company's culture back on track:
1. Busyness and stress are a manager's two worst enemies.
With projects to complete, to-do lists to accomplish, goals to hit, and outcomes to achieve, life can feel like we are on a runaway bus, says Gordon. We're driving through life at 100 miles per hour, and instead of taking the time to get people on our bus, we run them over. We become so focused on creating success that we don't make the time to develop the relationships that lead to true success.
"In times of busyness and stress, the brain goes into survival mode, and we stop thinking about serving other people, mentoring them, and helping them thrive," he says. "This is where we drop the ball. Just when we need to be the most engaging, we become the least engaging. What our employees need the most, we're delivering the least. And so the problems grow and multiply. It's a perpetual cycle."
2. Where there's a void in communication, negativity fills it.
Recovery or no recovery, these are uncertain times. Employees are wondering what's going to happen next, whether their jobs will be affected and what action to take. That uncertainty creates a void. Unless you, the manager, fill the void with clear and positive communication, people will assume the worst. Fear and negativity will creep in and dominate their thoughts, behaviors, and actions.
"The number one thing a manager can do during times of uncertainty is to communicate," asserts Gordon. "Communicate with transparency, authenticity, and clarity. Even when the news is not so positive, you can communicate it positively: Tell the truth, give them a plan, and help them believe, 'Hey, we can turn this thing around.' Optimism is a competitive advantage right now, and you need to convey it in all you say and do."
3. Employees need nourishment in order to thrive.
Gordon says the main question every employee in every organization wants answered is: Do you care about me; can I trust you? Employees who feel cared for, honored, and nourished are more engaged in what they're doing and will work at their highest potential.
"Learn to view your employees like a family — a functional family," he clarifies. "This will change the way you treat them. You'll see them as people who deserve your trust and love and who require communication, transparency, and authenticity from you. You want to be someone they can trust, and therefore you need to take the actions necessary to earn it."
"Remind yourself every day that it's not the numbers that drive people, but people and relationships that drive numbers," Gordon continues. "Leaders get so busy trying to achieve success that they forget to take the time to develop the relationships that lead to success. But trying to build a winning team without great relationships is like trying to build a house on sand."
Gordon’s words likely aren’t anything you haven’t already heard, but I figured it’s always nice to have a reminder of what’s important. What are your company’s keys to a positive culture? Share your stories in the comments.
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