How to Make Employees So Happy They’ll Call to Thank You?

Sounds crazy?

Too good to be true? Isn't it?

In a world where people fail to acknowledge, getting a call to thank you on the first instance will definitely sound surprising.

But ever thought why your efforts are not creating the "wow" effect in the mind of your employees?

Why people take you for granted? 

How does some organizations has this uncanny ability to keep their employees so happy while pushing them to their limits?

After reading the title of this blog post, you must be wondering that "happiness" is a relative term. It varies from person to person. Things that brings happiness to you today, may not even get a smile on your face tomorrow.  Happiness is so SUBJECTIVE.

And to tell you...You're right in your thoughts.

Everyone has their own definition of HappinessThe irony is that the meaning keeps changing with time.

Today, a salary increase may pump in adrenaline. Tomorrow career development may take a front seat for you. 

Preferences changes with time and so does the yardstick of measuring Happiness.

That reminds me of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. It gives an understanding on what motivates people at different stages of life. It states that when one need is fulfilled a person seeks to meet the next one, and so on.

A similar thing is going in your organization as well.

You have people at various levels in the hierarchy. Their needs and requirements are different. For an employee who is at the bottom of the pyramid, salary and job security will be the top most priority. While for an employee who is at a senior level, self-esteem and respect from others brings happiness to him. 

The challenge for you as an HR professional is to handle those needs judiciously at all levels. 

And your organization to equip you to create systems that build a long-term culture of Trust and Happiness.

And that is what this post is all about. It will guide you to...

  • Ceate a culture where everyone is heard.
  • Create a culture where people expectations are managed well.
  • Create a culture where employees feel that they have space to express and develop.

And above all....

  • Creating a culture that rides on the wings of Happiness.

Madan Nagaldinne (Head of HR - Facebook (NY)) in his recent interview to people matters shares that "Creating a happy workplace is a by-product of HR’s role; it is not an input you should be focused on". However,  I think that this input plays a vital role in defining and creating products and services for the company.     

In simpler terms, it boils down to ONE easy equation and I'm sure you will understand.  

A happy employee will result in a happy customer. A happy customer will lead to word of mouth publicity. Word of mouth publicity will result in more inquiries. Inquiries will convert into sales. Sales will eventually result in more of Profits.

Simple. Isn't it?

And how do you start the journey of creating a Happy Culture?

It starts with the foundation of TRUST and two factors you need to work to get this foundation rock solid.

1. Genuineness

2. Engagement

These factors have helped the best places to work for, to become organizations that they are today. These companies hold a culture and brand everyone today aspires to work for.

And what I'm going to share in my post will force you to rethink the way you're doing things in HR. 

Mark my words...

Master the two factors and you'll challenge world's top brands and even your competitors.

Amazing? Ready to rock and roll?

By putting in these simple ingredients (Genuineness and Engagement) in your dish (company) you'll prepare the perfect recipe (org culture) that will make your people so happy they'll call to thank you.

And trust me. The call does come. 

And just in case you felt engaged after reading my post, don't hesitate to email me or share your happiness in the comments section at the end of the post. 

I'll be waiting...

The Recommended Cure For Any Organization (and Why Do We Have To Change)


Avoid Running Election Campaigns In Your Organization

​The fundamental element required for an organisation to thrive and grow is having employees who are committed, motivated and engaged

​There's a difference between pursuing engagement and actually achieving it. 

Most of the time when we run our internal employee engagement surveys, it becomes like any other election campaign. People participate as per their wish. They often refrain from giving inputs on the real pain points. They fear that if they give the right picture, the management may come to know who has given the input and hence may question them. 

After analysis of the survey, you don't get concrete inputs. You start prioritising and making action plans and end up targeting the wrong areas. Result, your workforce isn't satisfied and they lose faith in your system. 

I'm NOT a strong advocate of doing Engagement surveys. To communicate with the management, people shouldn't wait for any engagement survey. It should be a natural process and kind of part of the system. However, in case you do want to conduct it, do it with full fairness and transparency. It should be 100% anonymous.

The prime objective of any employee engagement survey is to get feedback from the employees on areas of improvement. In this pursuit, you are gathering a lot of data on how you can improve your HR systems and processes. 

Often it is observed that important areas are left untouched and work is only done on some low hanging fruits. 

Don't let the precious feedback from your people go in vain and your entire Engagement Survey, like I just talked, become more of an election campaign. 

The ‘curse’ of employee engagement is that the process of trying to achieve something positive and beneficial for your employees can actually end up disengaging them. In other words, you can create exactly the opposite of what you intended.

This is because you ask questions in your engagement surveys on how your employees feeling about their work and the workplace. Answering these questions brings ‘problem areas’ to the surface from people’s minds. If no action is then taken to address these issues, employees are left feeling worse than they did before, as you’ve falsely raised their expectations with an unspoken promise that you’ll do something as a result.

Think of this scenario...

What is that you have in your mind when you are voting in the elections? 

You think of the promises that the new government has made. You think of the developments once they come into power.  You think of the well-being measures that they will ensure. After all you voted your favourite candidate or party based on what they promised at the time of the election campaign. 

But what do you ultimately get in return of your precious vote and trust? 

False promises. Fake assurances. Broken trust. 

You feel cheated and disgraced when you see that the new government is not keeping up to their words. 

Similarly, if you don't act on the feedback given by your employee, your engagement survey is destined to doom like any other election campaign.

People will assume that you don't value their suggestions or inputs.

Lack of proper action planning after the exercise results in no work being done after the survey. 

So, why don't the Employee Engagement Surveys Work and what can be done to resolve it? 

Common Issues

  • Asking too generic questions in the questionnaire
  • No effective change management
  • Engagement perceived as HR responsibility ONLY
  • A lot of time taken to implement solutions
  • Lack of communication on action plans
  • Low participation of employees

Solutions

  • Ask the right questions. Avoid questions on which you don't want to take any action for eg Salary
  • Involve all levels of employees in the change process. Take their commitment and ownership for the new implementations
  • Devolve the responsibility for engagement to everyone in the organization. HR is for facilitation and support
  • Prepare action plans and timelines for implementation and communicate to employees on your plans on a regular basis

Engagement may be a concept that builds on commitment, motivation, job satisfaction and the psychological contract. One thing’s for sure though: it can pay dividends. Ultimately, the key to breaking the curse of engagement is to ask the right questions and to prioritise specific, practical, manageable actions that senior executives, line managers and individuals can take to drive engagement levels higher.

If you can't solve .... don't ask them after all you are an HR professional and not a politician. Be Genuine in your approach and the end result will be a highly aligned and Engaged workforce. 


RIP The Concept of FEEDBACK

Why the concept of Feedback dying its own death? 

Let’s say you completed a year or just finished with one of your most important project.

Your boss calls you for a meeting. Multiple thoughts starts hitting your mind. 

"Maybe he’s called me to review my performance and talk about my next promotion? Maybe he’s called to talk about how well I executed my last project? Maybe he’s got some news for me?" Maybe......Maybe......Maybe

But what happened next, gives you the shock of your life.

Your boss tells you...​

“You shouldn’t have done it like this? I expected you to be more focused and get this thing finished within time lines. I had high expectations from you. The CEO wanted you to be more analytical and in depth in your approach. Sorry but you have disappointed us”

Dreams shattered. Mood devastated. Motivation down the flush tank. 

Ultimate result. 

Sour boss and subordinate relation.

What possibly could have stopped for such a situation to arise? What measures taken in the past could have averted such a feedback? How can the result of performance or project execution be more fruitful? 

Bye Bye Feedback. Welcolme FEED FORWARD.

Feedback is all about “reviewing of what happened in the past”. While as the name suggests, feeding forward is to "give suggestions in the present for the future".

You cannot go back in the past to correct a situation. You cannot revert the past. You cannot improve your past.

But you can definitely redefine your future, provided you get right inputs at the right time.

The situation in the opening example could have been encouraging for you if your boss had timely communicated to you as to where you were going wrong. He could possibly have shared well in time what the CEO is expecting out of you in the project. If he could have shared what he is expecting. If he could have communicated how he wanted you to execute the project, things would have been totally different for you. 

If you were communicated well in time, you would have been in a better situation to:-​

  • Take timely corrective actions in terms of improving your performance
  • Reworked on your data and present it with better analysis and understanding
  • Redefined your priorities so that the project is completed on time

That would have resulted in:-

  • Your next promotion or salary hike
  • Recognition and appreciation from the CEO
  • Happy work life with more of trust and faith in the system and the senior

To sum it up, don't just feed your people with food, but feed them with good suggestions in the present. 


The Most Powerful Way Of Building People Connect

Ever played the famous game of "Chinese Whisper"?

The communication mechanism, if not worked properly, can result in becoming a game of Chinese whisper in your organization. The original statement gets twisted and turned going from one ear to another. The final version is nowhere close to what the actual thing was.

Communication, if not handled properly can go in a wrong direction. How? If the right communication is not shared at the right time, it gives birth to.....​

Rumors​ and Gossips

Gossip is an old form of communication and no workplace is immune from it. I am not against any office talks or cafeteria gossips over a cup of coffee. These are part of corporate culture and you can't escape from them.

But when these office talks transforms into rumors and become the voice of the management, it starts creating a culture of confusion and mistrust. 

After all, people like gossip and interesting bits of information: you only have to look at the number of celebrity-focused publications to realize that we have a huge appetite for discussing other people's lives. At work, however, this type of interaction is harmful and costly. It wastes time, damages reputations, promotes divisiveness, creates anxiety, and destroys morale.

How To Declare War on Office Rumors? 

Making communication at the right TIME and with the right communication CHANNELS.

Often communication is tagged as “Highly Confidential”. And I hate to hear this when in reality even the office peon is kind of aware of it. Don’t tag all your communication bits as HC when actually all dick and harry knows about it before hand. After all, we are working for a corporate and not for MI6.  

Same goes with famous organizational wide circulars. The irony of organizational circulars is that apart from the people affected in the circular, most of the other employees are already aware of the change before it is out in the open.  Do you experience something similar in your company? 

13 Communication Rules That Make Your Engagement 100% More Powerful

1. Stop the GUESSING work and let people be informed of what's happening in company

2. Communicate CLEARLY so that even the lowest level employee understands the intent behind it.

3. Deal with any unwanted Rumor IMMEDIATELY

4. Release your internal circulars ON TIME

5. Display all important communications at prominent areas in your organization 

6. Share your companies values, mission statement etc PUBLICLY on site 

7. Emphasize your key points through REPETITION 

8. Open up with your people by keeping a good sense of HUMOR 

9. Understand people's point by actively LISTENING to them

10. Always respond back to your people queries in a TIMELY manner

11. Use a LANGUAGE that's distinctly yours and that let your own values come through

12. CUSTOMIZE your communication style as per your audience

13. To avoid RUMORS ensure communication should reach all stakeholders at all levels and at the same time

Rather than giving room to people to either assume or misinterpret information, perspective taking and confirmation leads to better and direct communication.

Great communicators have a way of disarming their audience in order to put them at ease.

People respect authenticity and they're much more willing to follow real leaders, not corporate puppets.


DO as I say, not as I DO 

Some rules are meant only for others to follow. You expect your people to abide by them while you break them yourself. 

You talk about respect in the open while behind closed doors you tarnish people’s honor. You talk about excellence while forcing people to compromise on quality. You talk about truth while manipulating your own words. 

There is a famous saying in the corporate world, “walk the talk”. You create a great value statement. You make good processes and systems. You lay down a clear set of rules for people to follow. In the end, you implement it and expect others to abide by them. 

I was once travelling with a senior professional to his office. As he was entering the office gate, he stepped out of the vehicle to punch his card. I knew that senior people in their company were kind of refrained from punching their cards at the entrance. So why did he did it was my question to him. 

To my query, his answer was, “The company wants people to be disciplined and punch cards while entering and exiting the office. Irrespective of my designation, when they see me punching card even when I am in my vehicle, it sends a silent message to them, that this is an important rule of the organization which needs to be followed by everyone. Even I am allowed by system to not punch, I prefer doing it, so people know that it is important". 

People follow leaders and their gestures communicates what is important for them, which automatically becomes important for them as well. 

However, when people see that the seniors are violating certain rules but want their juniors to abide, while they won’t say anything, they feel that there is some kind of discrimination in the Organization. 

Avoid landing in such a situation where you start making people feel discriminated. 

Your genuineness will be at stake. 

The Best Leaders Set Example By Going First

As a leader, part of your job is to inspire the people around you to push themselves – and, in turn, the company – to greatness. To do this, you must show them the way by doing it yourself.

When leaders don't "practice what they preach," it can be almost impossible for a team to work together successfully. How can anyone trust a leader who talks about one thing, but does another?

What’s Your Excuse Now?

The information I shared is not magical, mystical or complicated. In fact, you could consider implementing them RIGHT NOW

Even if you do not implement all of them but by making simple changes you work can have dramatic effects on how your people will feel. 

Just imagine how would they feel if they are respected, heard and given importance. 

Imagine they get time to spend with their families and are not stressed.

Imagine they waking up tomorrow morning looking forward to the day ahead, not dreading it. 

Just choose any one of the techniques above, and try it out tomorrow.

Start getting the hang of it and try out new avenues. Get your people buyin. 

You can see the SMILES on those faces pretty soon. 

Amit Bhagria
This Aint Your Daddy’s HR Do I have your attention? Good, because we are in the mist of an HR revolution. It’s either join up, or be left in the dust. What do I mean by this? Well, gone are the days of Human Resources representing the company’s interests solely. The new age HR Manager is an inclusive individual, serving the collective needs of both employer and employee. In the new “collaborative” workplace, an HR Manager wears many more hats than in years past. It can be debated as to whether this is a result of a disgruntled workforce staging a collective mutiny, or the evolution of HR professionals. Either way, the time has come. Join me on the other side. Subscribe to my Newsletter to get updates from the world of Human Resource Management.
Amit Bhagria
Amit Bhagria
Amit Bhagria

Comments

  1. Rajesh Deb Roy says

    Simply Excellent work Amit I liked your observations and way you have tabled your thoughts !!!
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