“People who love and respect each other will mulishly push back on some ideas, fearlessly drag others forward and shamelessly cloak everything in their own values. They will solve what must be solved. And they will make the business case for humanity.” — These are the words on the wall of the main conference room at SLAP, an international consulting company, headquartered in San Francisco.
Founder and CEO, Stan Slap (@StanSlap) is a New York Times best selling author on how to create maximum commitment in manager, employee and customer cultures. His second book, “Under the Hood” breaks down what employee culture really is and covers step by step how to ease it, fix it and scale it.
Believe it or not, culture was the most searched for word in 2014 according to Merriam Webster’s dictionary. A widely used yet misunderstood concept, it is often perceived as the fluffy stuff on the last slide of your company presentation.
What’s the fuss about?
Are you sitting down? According to Gallup, only 31% of employees are engaged at work, 51% are disengaged and 17.5% are actively disengaged*. You know what they say: you can buy people’s time but you can’t buy their commitment. And when people are mentally disconnected, the performance of your company will suffer. Big time! How can a business get emotional commitment from its players?You can buy people's time but you can't buy their commitment. Click To Tweet
5 things every leader must know about your employee culture
Ok, there are more than 5. Stan talks about the 7 deadly sins and the recipe for giving your employee culture inspiration, believability, meaning, confidence and illumination so it can positively drive your bottom line. These are my picks:
1. Employee culture is a rational, human organism
Employee culture exists to protect itself. It’s an always-on process, in which it is constantly searching to understand what it takes to survive and prosper emotionally. It feeds on energy: it takes energy and gives energy. Energy translates into productivity, innovation, and…add in your own performance metric. “Managers believe that there’s a limit to performance and loyalty when there isn’t. You can demand whatever energy you want from the culture, you just need to resupply it. And resupplying is where most managers fall short”, says Stan.
2. Strategy is useless without support from the culture
You can have the best 5-point growth strategy in the world but if your employee culture doesn’t buy into it, you’re doomed. I love this quote in Stan’s book: “Your employee culture is not going to work harder unless it’s convinced that this will allow it to live better. An employee culture doesn’t trust strategies; it trusts leaders who bring it strategies.” Be a human first, a leader second, and create a human environment for your peeps. We know that the words “leader” and “manager” mean different things. Your employee culture will decide if you are truly a leader or if you are a manager regardless of your title or position in the company.
3. You are not part of your employee culture…
“Every management plan and every manager is in the hands of the employee culture. It’s up to the business to understand the logic of its employee culture. Once you get that, you can unlock the potential of your culture”, advises Stan.
According to his research, your employee culture happens around you and without you. But it affects you. Since this culture is about survival and emotional prosperity, when it comes to you: the manager, the motivation of the culture is to figure out how to survive and emotionally prosper under your management.
4. …But you can get the culture on your side
Understanding what the culture really is and what it wants, and then delivering that experience is how you build relevance first, trust second, proof third, ultimately inspiring the desired action. In other words, if your culture believes that you care about its well-being and energy supply, it will reward you for it.
5. It’s time to put humanity back into business
“For yourself, because your life is happening to you right now and you do not get the time back you’re spending at work. For your family, because the health of your family outside the job depends in part on the health of your family inside the job. For your people, because it’s not easy working in environments of constant uncertainty and pressure for someone you only know as “my manager.” For your customers, because people don’t trust companies; they trust people. For your company, because it’s not a product or services company; its’ a human company selling products or services and the pivot point upon which any strategic success rests is the discretionary effort of its human organization.”It's time to put humanity back into business. Click To Tweet
Stan, thank you for advocating for humanity in business so that employees can win by living better and companies can win by performing better. Keep spreading the word!
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