Earlier this month I received a query from a chief information officer for a company that produces lingerie. Who knew? "Swaminathan" wrote: "I read your articles on "developing your employees.´ They were all good [Thank you!]. Please write articles on "How do you transform your employees," "How do you change their mindset?" "How do you change the organizational DNA? Etc." Wow, that´s about a year´s worth of blogging right there.
Swaminathan (I think he´s from an Indonesian company) has given me and you a lot to think about. I especially like his question about changing "the organizational DNA." I don´t know if or how that can happen without some serious tinkering. I think that first, it´s critical that the people who can influence the development of employees are encouraged and allowed to ask the kinds of questions that this reader has raised. If people are afraid to ask questions, then you will forever be stuck with the status quo. So if you´re asking the same questions or the people tasked with developing your people are asking, then you´re definitely doing something right.
Offering recognition is one of the quickest and easiest ways to transform people and the workplace. It sounds so obvious though, right? How could something so simple work so well? I don´t really have to answer that, because we all know that frequently the solutions that work the best are the ones that have no frills, are affordable, and last.
And there are lots of ways to offer recognition. Sometimes it´s just a word or two about the good work someone is doing. Or it´s a car. Here´s a headline from today´s Chicago Tribune (it´s my daily paper and while I wish some sections were more comprehensive I think it´s a pretty good way of getting the news) : "Chrysler gives employees a new lease on work/life." Columnist Jim Mateja writes that effective October 1, 2006 salaried employees at any level will be able to lease one or two cars at only 1.4 percent of the MSRP (and 1.6 percent if they´re retired). He says that the company is doing this to encourage employees to be "ambassadors of the brand as well as to move more iron into driveways."
That got me thinking. First, I thought about how I´d like to work at Chrysler so that I could lease a car at a really good rate. Then I thought about my blog and you. I think one of best parts of the article come from George Peterson, chairman of AutoPacific, an automotive consulting firm. He said, " " It´s interesting that the executives came up with this approach, the ones who drive free cars, get free car washes and free gas and never experience what a real human has to go through . . . This helps bring them closer to those who build the cars and to those who buy the cars. It lets those who have no idea what health care actually costs people to feel the same pain. This should be an eye-opener.´ " By the way, Mateja also reported that salaried workers at Chrysler will pay health-care premiums that are proportionate to their earnings. In other words, execs will pay the most for health care coverage and the lowest-paid workers will pay the least.
But what about the ways this move will help motivate employees? Some at Chrysler might be saying, "It´s about time" while others could simply be delighted. I think it´s also a good example of a company recognizing the value its employees bring to the workplace. So here´s my question for you: is there something you´re doing for your employees that tells them you value their contributions? I know you´re not leasing cars at unbelievable rates, but maybe you´re doing something that makes their lives easier, something that makes going to work a little more palatable. And maybe, just maybe, you´re doing something that not only recognizes their value but does double duty by promoting your company and its products. If you have a moment, like 90 seconds, email me and let me know.
Next time: Rewards & Recognition