Over the past few weeks we’ve read and heard a number of reports of toxic workplace cultures. Uber is the latest organisation to be stung by employees naming and shaming them for unethical behaviour.
Uber has faced a series of PR crises from reports of discrimination and harassment of women within the workplace through to a video being published on Bloomberg of CEO, Travis Kalanick having a heated argument with one of their drivers over dropping fare prices.
Earlier in the past week he admitted that he needs to "change as a leader and grow up" according to a short company blog post last week in response to the uproar over the video.
Here at A-HA we were mortified at the sheer lack of HR support Uber offered its employees during times of stress and need.
When the spotlight shines on a company like Uber, we see all the embarrassing and negative things they’re doing and it's clear that forming a respectful and inclusive workplace culture has to start from the top.
The fact is that engagement is something that challenges some companies because it can seem complicated and vague. In the years I’ve been helping to boost engagement, I have found that these simple 10 things can add immense value to a business.
1. Stick to the plan.
Nobody likes surprises; not unless it’s your birthday. Stick the plan so that people have purpose in what they’re doing. If you need to change it, consult with your team early to avoid conflict.
2. Say the same story.
Finding a narrative that supports your vision or goals is important. It helps people to relate to it so that they can see how their contribution adds value.
Invite your team to participate in innovation, feedback, design, and strategy opportunities so that they feel as though their contribution means something. It also gives the ability to connect firsthand and hear the reality of your business.
4. Tell the truth.
No one likes a liar; and most people can tell when someone is lying. The fact is that most people prefer to hear the truth irrespective of how hard it is to hear. The truth lets people make better decisions.
5. Kill gossip and rumour mongering.
We admit that this is a hard one, but making a zero policy on gossip will help lift morale. I used to lead a team where we started each meeting with a moan; whatever people needed to get off their chests. It meant that they could move on from the things that bothered them and not gossip about them in the kitchen room.
6. Have tough conversations.
Don’t avoid them; it only makes you look weak. Tough conversations don’t have to awkward. The only thing to remember here is to keep it factual, not emotional. If you do this, you’ll get it right every time. Oh, and watch your language and tone while you’re doing it.
7. Make it fun.
Why do people get out of bed to work with you? Having fun at work can really be the difference between choosing to stay or leave an organisation. While the work may not be fun all the time, being able to have a laugh is really important. There’s lots of research that correlate laughter with productivity.
8. Don’t be elitist.
As the popular phrase goes, there is no 'I' in team. As a leader if you feel that you need to enforce superiority, nothing will drive your team more than wanting to see you fail. Just be you; we all know what it’s like to be the most junior person on the team.
9. Have their backs.
Be prepared to go in to battle for your team if needed. Even if you know they’ve done something wrong. Standing by their side to share the responsibility sends an enormous message to everyone. They feel safe knowing you’re on the look out for them.
10. Recognise effort.
Probably the biggest of all; acknowledge efforts. So many people think it must be done with gift certificates and formal speeches, but it’s as simple as saying, “thank you, you did a great job”.
As with everything, it takes practice, perseverance, and time to explore what works best for your organisation.
If you’d like help with your team, A Human Agency is here to help. We know which employee engagement models work, how to deliver high-impact employee engagement workshops, training and programs, and lots more; all tailored for you! If you’d like to know more, get in touch with us at www.a-ha.com.au or firstname.lastname@example.org.