Do you feel as though the human side of work is waning. Handshakes giving way to emails. Face to face meetings replaced by conference calls. Time spent together replaced by the sanctity of a balanced work life.
I have heard it said that the more friends you have online, the fewer you have in real life. It can be said that email has taken away our need to write letters. Facebook has eliminated our desire to fly back home to see old friends. We may not even know the people who work in the next office over.
Bringing the Human Back...
Nowadays we can find statistics to back up any statement. Here's a best practice, based on a survey...we found it on the Internet, so it must be true. There are metrics upon analytics regarding what is popular. Quick question: how can you create something unique to your organizational culture if it is based upon what everyone else is doing?
Ever see the Seinfeld episode where Jerry gives Elaine cash for her birthday? We look for the least common denominator, the easy fix, what we assume everyone wants. This way we can get back to the things we really don't want to be doing.
Building a Reason to Stay!
In reality people will accept less cash for an engaged organizational culture, the ability to have leadership mind share, and/or a boss they love. Too often someone hires another and leaves the company only to find his/her team terrorized by a new hire with a new sheriff in town mentality. The personal partnership between a boss/contributor cannot be shrouded in technology.
I will revisit the worst advice I have ever heard, "don't get too close to your people". The aforementioned a result of a miscast sailor taking credit for others putting wind in his sails. If there is a personal relationship between you and those who work for you there is great certainty that unfortunate details can be amended.
Remembering to Say Thank You!
The resounding reality is that people would rather hear they are awesome than they suck! You can still challenge people without being a jerk, you can still solve business problems without brow beating your constituents, you can still win without choking your players.
Call it the wussification of the workplace but aren't we really asking people to quit abusing their titles...? In very real terms, today's workforce is not going to put up with being micro-managed. They will find another place to work or overthrow you.
Have we forgotten how to shake hands? Have we lost our ability to sit down and talk (without checking our phones)? When is the last time you gave one of your employees a hug?
People will have hard days that overwhelm their silly little job. It is in these times when their job matters most. If people have friends at work, they will stay. Culture can be created by a group of people who like one another. Sometimes you merely have to open the front door and allow them to make your company great. You can create something that matters by not giving them a reason to leave.
Don't Forget to Remember!