Written by Ashley Anderson.
Okay, okay… so maybe some do and some don’t, but I think we can all agree that a workplace full of people who really and truly give a sh*t about the organization, is typically a far happier and healthier workplace than those filled with people who don’t, right?
Of course it is!
What we want to know is what MAKES this Give A Sh*t or GAS factor happen?
In one of our recent research projects out of Brisbane, polling 26,000 individuals across 3 continents, we found that the most critical component that made up ‘happiness at work’ was actually categorized into connectedness and shared values.
Not hammocks and foosball tables.
Interestingly, interpersonal connection and communication can be one of the most challenging components to organically fold into an organizational culture. Variables from vocabulary, geographies, working styles, communication preferences all the way to cultural background, hobbies and job titles all play a role in the creation (and erosion of) of connectedness.
So what can you do TODAY to help move the needle, and give your people more GAS? Try this:
1) Start talking about personal AND professional goals.
Many of the organizations that we work with tell us that — while they typically talk about professional goals atleast once-per-year — there is no prioritization or consistency in openly sharing, discussing, coaching and pushing people toward their PERSONAL goals AS WELL AS their professional goals.
Pick three people that you are committed to speaking to in the next 24 hours and write their names down. Under each name, I want you to draw FIVE LINES.
First three lines are for PROFESSIONAL GOALS. What are they looking to accomplish: one for today, one for this week and one for the quarter (or next 90 days)
Next two lines are for PERSONAL GOALS. What are they working toward, personally. (this can be related to health, family, adventure, financial, education/mind and spirit) one for the week, and one for the quarter.
Now… you guessed it! Go fill in those blanks.
Ensure that the answers you get are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Awesome, Realistic and Timebound… and yes, you read that right. Awesome) and check in with them from time-to-time to see how it’s progressing.
Listening to, supporting and openly discussing goals is one of the most POWERFUL (and under-utilized) leadership tools that we have. Never underestimate the value of the time spent on this.
2) Work towards a TRANSPARENT coaching culture.
Now, “coaching culture” is likely not a new buzz-phrase in your world. In many cases, leaders do a great job of prioritizing coaching and support into their management roles.
At DRYVER we work with a quite a few leaders who are frustrated because they feel like they are coaching and not seeing results. Interestingly, there are usually two questions that we ask that seem to strike a chord.
“how transparent am I being?”
Are there things that I am not being as open with when I am coaching or managing my team? Do I find myself grumbling or complaining about someone, but haven’t actually had an OPEN and TRANSPARENT conversation about it with that individual?
“Do I always give real-time feedback?”
Feedback and coaching: in the moment that it happens, as it happens. Don’t wait until annual or quarterly review time! Withholding only means that you are withholding your people’s opportunity to be better, or sometimes, reassess their fit to the role.
Sometimes it isn’t about a leadership or coaching OVERHAUL. Often it’s about simple steps in the right direction to create increased transparency and trust within our workplaces — because trust and transparency are critical ingredients in strong, happy and healthy workplaces.
3) Don’t forget the fun.
Remember… fun isn’t synonymous for “we have a foosball table and a giant adult-sized bouncy castle in our office”. Fun is as unique as culture is — there is no BEST.
We have had some creative clients see great success in things as bold as “Adventure Club” where the organization is encouraged to try activities FAR outside of their comfort zone, from sky-diving, to camping, to learning to cook a turkey dinner. In other cases, clients have seen great value from a more classic route, and work in off-site team building each month (Escape Rooms, Scavenger Hunts, and Improv classes tend to be favourites)
Fun can mean jeans on Tuesdays instead of Fridays, it can mean a potluck brunch, it can mean a 5 minute mandatory Tetris break. It can be bring-your-dog-to-work-day or turning on good music for the afternoon (subjective, naturally, but try giving each individual a turn to choose their favourite tunes for a day)
It doesn’t need to be big or expensive… it just needs to be refreshing.