Take the Litmus Test
What’s Your Number?
Quickly, from the gut, answer:
On a scale of 1-10, how happy* do you think your employees are?
(*Happy defined as your employees feel good about coming to work.)
Write your answer here: ________
Now, before you look below, jot some notes about why you answered the way you did. Why not higher? Why not lower?
Did you say 7?
Here’s what’s interesting, if I ask ten CEOs, executive directors or deans to answer this question, most will answer seven.
Seven is an interesting number. It’s representative of, “we’re doing okay, not great,” or “I really don’t know”. You’re confident no one is going to go postal. Overall you have a good group people who get along well enough. There are some areas that could use improvement.
Very few answer five or less. If you answered six, chances are there are a few elephants tromping around your office. If you did answer five or less, they’re pregnant.
If you answered eight or above, congratulations! Chances are you feel pretty good about coming to work and overall feel like you have an organization where smiles are real, laughter is genuine and you can feel vibrant energy.
If you answered 10, then you know. You know what it takes to have an extraordinary workplace culture. Consistent attention, nurturing and learning. While there may not be as many big juicy a-ha’s in this book for you, I’m confident you will find several nuggets to add to your repertoire.
*Note: the number you selected is your perception. Unless you’ve actually measured your employees’ happiness (yes this is doable – more to come), it’s what you THINK your employees feel. You may be right. You may be wrong.
What is Workplace Culture?
A great workplace is filled with great colleagues. Workplace culture is the context within which your people work. It’s the air they breathe while running your marathon. It’s the emotional health of your workplace.
What is the vibe when you walk into your workplace?
Is it electric, refreshing, and buzzing? Or toxic, tension-filled, and gray? Disney or traditional DMV? Too few companies pay close attention to how employees are – or should be – feeling. They don’t realize emotions are central to company culture.
Why Emotional Intimacy?
Emotional intimacy is the secret ingredient to the secret sauce of culture. It’s the cinnamon in your chili, the chipotle in your fish taco sauce, the rhubarb in your coffee cake.
Sigal Barsade, professor of management at The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and Olivia O'Neill, an assistant professor of management at the School of Business at George Mason University, have studied the emotional culture at corporations, too often an ignored component of success.
“Emotional culture influences employee satisfaction, burnout, teamwork, and even hard measures such as financial performance and absenteeism,” they write. “Countless empirical studies show the significant impact of emotions on how people perform on tasks, how engaged and creative they are, how committed they are to their organizations, and how they make decisions. Positive emotions are consistently associated with better performance, quality, and customer service—this holds true across roles and industries and at various organizational levels. On the flip side (with certain short-term exceptions), negative emotions such as group anger, sadness, fear, and the like usually lead to negative outcomes, including poor performance and high turnover.”
Still not convinced?
Emotional intimacy is the social super social glue that creates camaraderie and synergy. It’s the beautiful, connected, related energy within an organization. We know what emotional intimacy looks like between friends, families and lovers, whether we’re around a campfire, a kitchen table or holding hands. We know the difference between making love and having sex. Yet what about emotional intimacy in the workplace?
It’s the contrast between making a difference through your work and having a job.
How do you create that miraculous experience in your workplace – for you and your team?
Kris Boesch is the CEO and founder of Choose People, a company that transforms company cultures, increases employee happiness and boosts the bottom line. Her new book, Culture Works, and accompanying workbook are available now on her website and will be available on Amazon around May 15.
husband + father + pilot + director of talent development + leadership coach + startup fan + reader of personal #development, company #culture & leadership books