A while ago as I was browsing through Glassdoor, the online career community which identifies itself as a place helping people find a job and a company they love, I was quite surprised when reading company reviews, by the number of employees asking to be treated like adults. It seems that many companies still sustain a parent/child relationship with their employees, therefore missing out on the multiple benefits of regarding them as adult human beings.
There is a tendency for the companies to look at their employees through the narrow lens of their job descriptions, their roles, their job titles, their tasks, thus ignoring the immense value those same employees could bring, as caring and accountable parents, trustworthy friends, responsible citizens, multi-talented individuals just to name a few of their numerous qualities.
Many companies also let “the customer is always right” dogma rule their business. Such principle, instead of reinforcing motivation, engagement, loyalty, is more likely to undermine employees’ morale, giving them the impression that they can never get it right and whatever they do it will never be enough. And when companies do that with their employees they very often mirror that attitude with their customers as well. Not the most sustainable way to do business…
Old thinking and outdated methodologies are the other ailments affecting the corporate world. Knowledge is power, business must be linear, predictable and controllable - through all sorts of dashboards, reporting, analysis, assessments, balanced scorecards and KPIs, – collection of concepts that many don’t fully grasp the meaning of, let alone apply (take “teamwork and collaboration” for example), are some of the well known tools we over rely on and create some of the most damaging corporate disorders.
How many hours, days, weeks, people from various departments and levels of leadership waste each year in strategic and planning process, when one knows that the following year that strategy will be wiped out and redesigned all over again ?
Have such mechanistic thinking and doing created organizations where people actually matter? Have they made employees more engaged and happier?
Twentieth century management thinking has had its glory days, yet business is currently experiencing a not to be missed leadership revolution, where employees connect and their well being must be at the center of the new management paradigm. The survival of business organizations can only be achieved by fully embracing employees as key stakeholders. Time has come for businesses to focus less on making money and more on connecting with their people to tap into a new kind of resilience that will help protect them from economic storms and industry disrupters.
To have parent-to-parent-like relationships and consider their employees like adults, companies need to consider all their stakeholders to be equal, and bring their employees into the heart of their businesses, even if that means focusing less on short-term profitability. By operating that shift, organizations accept to lift upon employees’ unique talents, desire, enthusiasm to serve, share, create, and change the world for the better. They relinquish from dogmatic thinking and acting, and become truly sustainable while truly serving sustainability.
Making the transition to an employee-activated company is a bold move which requires courage, the willingness to face the truth, to accept vulnerability and persevere whatever the hurdles. It demands strong and authentic leaders ready to offer trust to themselawesomenessves and their teams, capable of realizing and living their own awesomeness and activating that of the people they lead and guide. It finds relevance on a different performance system to measure value and success. It calls for an environment that rewards humility, purpose, long-term oriented behaviors, actions and impact.
This is a model where everyone at every level
makes sense of reality at a much deeper level.