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Workplace sanity is within reach

4 min read


Many organizations measure how satisfied customers are with their products, services and with the customer-service experience. Those organizations may not do much with the data gathered, but they do have systems in place to measure customer service.

Too few organizations measure how satisfied employees are with their company, their boss, their colleagues and their work environment. The organizations that do gather this data may not do much with it, which is unfortunate.

Leaders need to place as much importance on workplace sanity and civility as they do on workplace productivity. When leaders invest time, energy, and passion in the health of their team or company’s work environment, amazing things happen. There is undeniable proof that when work environments demonstrate trust, respect, and dignity to every player in every interaction, engagement goes up, customer service goes up, and results and profits go up.

The problem is that most work environments do not demonstrate trust, respect, and dignity in every interaction. A recent study by TinyHR asked over 30,000 employees in various industries how happy they were at work. The least happy employees worked in the manufacturing industry.

The top five factors that drove manufacturing employee unhappiness include:

  1. An unsupportive manager
  2. Lack of tools and resources to complete the job
  3. Little opportunity for professional growth
  4. Poor internal processes and systems
  5. Dissatisfaction with colleagues

These factors contribute to employee unhappiness in nearly all industries, not just manufacturing. We’ve all experienced these issues in past positions — and these issues eroded our satisfaction, every time.

The good news is that each of these factors can be addressed by leaders who refuse to tolerate a frustrating work environment. A proactive, committed leader can — with consistent effort over time — eliminate these factors within their team.

Eliminating these factors requires leaders to:

  • Be a servant leader. Servant leaders embrace their responsibility to help employees do their jobs well in a calm, consistent, civil environment. Servant leaders don’t seek credit — they seek to enable others’ best work, every day.
  • Engage employees daily to learn what’s working and what’s not. Spend time “wandering around,” connecting with players at all levels of the organization. Learn their ideas about improving performance and service. Act on what you learn to refine systems and expectations.
  • Measure employee satisfaction and happiness frequently. Leaders can’t manage what they don’t measure. Conduct an employee engagement survey annually. Share the insights from that survey within four weeks. Celebrate where the team or company is doing well and note where opportunities for improvement are. Act to close gaps promptly.

What’s your experience? Have you seen proactive leaders completely change an unpleasant work environment into an engaged and inspiring one? How did they accomplish that? Share your thoughts about this post/podcast in the comments section below.

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