With a bow to Aretha Franklin, our focus this week is on the central role that Respect will play in the future of work.
I have emphasized the importance of Wellness and Wellbeing in the workplace over the last several newsletter issues, largely because my “Talking About Tomorrow” members have been actively exploring the topic in our recent monthly conference calls [links to those articles are here (Part One), and here (Part Two), and here (Part Three)].
Our conversation earlier this month brought that focus to a very personal level as we shared our own tips and techniques for coping with the emergence of what increasingly feels like a 24×7 work week.
We began the March conversation by visiting with Rebecca Scott of Sodexo, who compiled and edited Sodexo’s recent Workplace Trends 2014 report. Rebecca spoke with us about one section of the report, written by David W. Ballard (“Preventing Information Overload in The Always-On Workplace”), that cited a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association. Among other data points, the survey highlighted how often workers check work-related emails and voice messages at home and on nights and weekends – a habit that clearly detracts from wellbeing and work-life balance.
I came away from that conversation with a very important insight:
The missing ingredient in far too many workplaces is Respect – including respect for individual differences in workstyles, talents, and personal preferences.
Most of you are well aware of the recent Gallup study showing that only about 30% of the U.S. workforce is actively engaged with work today (“The State of the American Workplace” – downloadable for free at http://www.gallup.com/strategicconsulting/163007/state-american-workplace.aspx).
The Gallup study also found that the ratio of actively disengaged to engaged workers is about 2 to 1 – meaning that close to 70% of U.S. workers are performing well below their full potential (and some of them are so angry that they are actively sabotaging their own organizations).
I am convinced that a strong shift to organizational cultures that recognize and respect individual skills, talents, and personal circumstances would not only reverse this discouraging reality, but would dramatically enhance organizational effectiveness, competitiveness, talent attraction/retention, and productivity, to say nothing of increasing human health and happiness.
Recognition of individual circumstances, and respect for personal needs, has been a personal “cause” of mine ever since one of my early supervisors informed me late on Friday afternoon that he needed – and expected – me to spend the entire weekend working on a major proposal that he had already committed to sending to a prospective client on Monday morning.
The fact that I had a wife and two small children who were looking forward to a weekend outing we had planned several weeks earlier made absolutely no difference to my boss. And as a relatively new employee at an “up or out” consulting firm I unfortunately felt powerless to object (understandable at the time, but in hindsight a sad mistake and a life lesson).
That experience was many years ago, but I have never forgotten it. That’s one reason why I recently became deeply involved in the formation of a new global community – and emerging movement – called Great Work Cultures.
At this point, we have almost one hundred Champions actively collaborating to raise what we intend to be a very Big Tent (we are just a couple of months old, our website has just gone public, and we are still sorting out our organizational structure and priorities, to say nothing of strategies for recruiting thousands of additional champions).
We have a very ambitious goal of generating a broad grass roots movement that will enable thousands of individuals and organizations to share ideas and experiences, and to form a very loud chorus of voices calling for a new kind of work culture built on a foundation of respect for individuals and individual differences.
Our mission is straightforward:
We are collaborating to construct a big tent that welcomes a broad diversity of work culture best practices and leaders ….. the big tent mission:
If you share our values and believe in that mission, I encourage you to visit the site and sign up to become part of the movement.
“Talking About Tomorrow” is a program that brings thought leaders and practitioners together once a month for open conversations about the issues and ideas driving the future of work. If you are interested in joining the group (for a small annual fee), please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.