I have had both the joy and the opportunity to vacation in Nags Head, NC for the past 23 years. This year, we decided to go parasailing. While being suspended, I was able to see the island of Nags Head as an island. I saw the Kitty Hawk dunes where the Wright Brothers launched their plane. I saw the beauty of the island from another vantage point.
My work also gives me the opportunity to see companies from different vantage points. I notice who greets me in each place I work. The receptionist, or lack thereof, sets the tone of the workplace. I notice whether there is natural light, I notice what the lobby smells like, I notice the type of office furniture. While the physical surroundings aren’t the only determinant of the workplace culture, it sets the tone.
What does your workplace say about your culture?
Have you ever gotten mail or phone call telling you that you’ve won a cruise or timeshare? Likely you have. And likely you hung up the call or discarded the letter in the trash as ‘junk-mail’ without giving it a second thought.
Then again – if you had entered into the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes and got a call or letter saying you’ve won, you’d likely give it a bit more attention wouldn’t you?
…Why is this?
…This is because you know about this sweepstakes; you’ve heard about it for years and have continued to hear about how it has changed the lives of those who have won. In this case – you knew you were in the running for this award and the contest has credibility and importance in your mind.
Remember when you create spot awards for your employees – to do the same thing – make sure the employees know about it ahead of time; make sure they understand the importance of it and feel that it has some meaning and value when someone wins!
The next time you give out a spot award – remember to make it into a big deal. He might get red and be embarrassed but that’s okay. He will love it and everyone needs to hear it.
Of course you won’t mention the amount, just talk about all that he has taken on (literally name some of the work you know it). Talk about his “can do” attitude, his willingness to embrace change….etc. Make yourself a few talking notes before presenting it so that you know what you want to highlight.
The bottom line – don’t forget the balloons, the streamers, the ‘pomp and circumstance’ of the spot award. Build up the spot awards to be something that employees are excited about and strive to earn. This will go a long way to improve moral – and it’s fun!
Back in the 1950’s stealing in the workplace was pretty black and white. If you worked on a production-line creating widgets and you took a widget home – you knew very well that you had stolen this physical property.
Nowadays however, not everything falls neatly into the category of a product or a service.
In the information age – many of our jobs depend on us processing just that – information. And it’s not like companies can simply put up a metal detector the way they could to see if a widget is in our pocket. – Information resides in our minds – invisible to others and not very useful to the organization if we keep it there.
You probably didn’t mean to steal it! – In fact you probably never even thought about it this way. But as technology changes so does our work. Once we understand the true nature of the materials that our jobs involve – be it physical materials, or in this case information – we can then understand our responsibility to help move ALL those materials along.
Think about it this way, when you are paid to gather, assimilate and pass along data, it is the same as if you were paid to gather materials, create a widget and pass that widget to the next person. In an information age, information and data is now the property that companies are processing and profiting from.
So – with new types of work existing, there also needs to be new boundaries to define an employee’s responsibility. Any information that you are paid to earn, gather and process is your responsibility. It’s your job to comment on the data, to give an opinion, to help translate it so it will be valuable to your colleagues and clients…and if you do not help this data or information to progress down the line – it leaves the building in your mind the same way that widget would have left in a pocket
Do you have colleagues who hold onto valuable information without sharing?
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