- June 1, 2011
- Posted by: Hillary Feder
- Category: Company Engagement
Fall from Grace
How one misguided decision initiated the erosion of an entire culture of engagement and opened the door to a mass exodus of talent and knowledge
EMCA was proud of the corporate culture it built. Senior executives demonstrated authentic consideration for the entire employee population with:
- Collaborative management style
- Process for employee suggestions
- Policies, benefits, and programs like the “Shaping Your Future” health and wellness initiative that promoted strong employee relations
Managers recognized that what was good for employees was good for the company, and they worked consistently to foster trust and confidence. Their efforts paid off; employees were invested in company results:
- Productivity had never been better at a time when many organizations had low morale.
- Employees at all levels were actively engaged in their work.
- Employees frequently contributed suggestions that improved operations.
- Employees were willingly worked overtime to meet objectives.
An energetic vibe permeated every cubicle. Employees smiled and their body language said, “This is a great place to work.” If you asked employees to pinpoint what made EMCA a good place to work, their answers would vary:
- “I feel appreciated.”
- “The company cares about me.”
- “My supervisor is honest and forthright.”
- “I know that what I do makes a difference.”
Even during the height of the recession, when revenue teetered and layoffs seemed imminent, management was careful not to undermine employee trust by neglecting the key to their survival—engaged employees. When the company went into survival mode with increased workloads and deferred pay increases, employees remained loyal and had their noses to the grindstone:
- Monthly “all-hands” meetings were held to keep everyone in the loop about results and senior leadership’s vision.
- Supervisors held bi-weekly staff meetings in which open dialog focused on expectations, progress, and employee concerns.
- Instead of micromanaging and imposing tightened controls, employees were polled for their ideas to help rein in the budget.
Hillary’s Disaster Avoidance Advice
When considering reversing a standard practice or making a monumental decision, ask yourself, “How will this decision affect employees? Could it reflect negatively on our leadership? Does it undermine trust, communication or both? Let your answers be your guide.
Hillary’s re-building, re-engaging Advice
EMCA needed to return to the high level of communication that their culture was based on. At an all-hands meeting, the CEO acknowledged his mistake, apologized, and announced the creation of a cross-functional, multi-level team that would help the company return to its successful roots.
Team members were:
- considered to be inside influencers in their spheres;
- trusted and respected by their peers; and
- perceived as the voice of all employees,
- were brought together to brainstorm. They worked to determine and prioritize the missing pieces that needed attention. Management began to act on their recommendations, and rebuilding the culture progressed.
We are problem solvers and innovators when it comes engaging and re-engaging with your head and heart. We’ll help you implement down-to-earth strategies that build trust. Call us.
Toll free: 800-742-6800 In Minneapolis/St. Paul: 952-933-8365 www.askhillarys.com