"4 in 10 U.S. employees strongly agree that their supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about them as a person." 2017 State of the American Workplace - Gallup
I anticipate this will resonate as another "Amen" PEOPLE-FOCUSED blog post. What a compelling way to start this blog...with actual supporting data of what we have here! Do you smell opportunity? I do! When we have 6 in 10 employees NOT strongly agreeing that their supervisor, or someone - that's ANYONE - at work, "seem" to care about them as a person is quite telling.
I'm not surprised. I have come to realization that these "SOFT" skills are REALLY HARD to consistently practice "in real life". “Our company is our people!” “Our people are our biggest assets!” “We put people first!” Some organizations act on these words. Others simply spout them as slogans. And it IS harder IF you do not have a true SERVANT LEADER'S heart.
It was and is Theodore Roosevelt to John C. Maxwell who said "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." That, in essence, becomes the crux of the PEOPLE FIRST pillar.
"When we act as servant to others, we are concerned with the full range of their knowledge, skills, emotional and behavioral dynamics. We often “help” best by talking but “serve” best by listening; “help” by actions but “serve” by actions and simple presence." Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership: Practicing the Wisdom of Leading by Serving
The book continues...by posing thought-provoking questions to help someone or and organization assess to what extent they are putting "People First"...broken down by THREE layers of "PEOPLE FIRST" competencies: 1. Displaying a Servant’s Heart; 2. Being Mentor Minded; and 3. Showing Care and Concern.
If you might recall the top two servant leadership competencies from a previous informal poll were EMPATHY and DEVELOPING OTHERS...to some extent they support and perhaps DRIVE the PEOPLE FIRST pillar.
Some of the tips from the EMPATHY...ON PURPOSE! blog apply here:
Authentically Listen More Than You Speak
Express Your Perspective
Don’t Make Assumptions
Use Your Imagination
And, some of other steps outlined in the DEVELOPING OTHERS...ON PURPOSE! blog also apply here:
Expect, Demonstrate and Encourage Teamwork
Focus on Relationships
Help the Team Create a Vision
Committed to Team Success and Others
Be Available While Letting Team Grow Independently
So, adding a new dimension to the mix - PEOPLE FIRST - is not only relevant for a leader it's also good for business! Ironically, the practice of putting people before profits makes an organization even more profitable. Research conducted by In Search of Excellence co-author Robert Waterman, Jeffrey Pfeffer, and others, also show that “people first” companies outperform all competitors. Organizations that say “people are our most important asset” and mean it, have significant competitive advantage.
People Create Value
In How Google Works, Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg contend that people are essential for creating value. Specifically, they focus on hiring, developing and empowering “smart creatives” - professionals with the technical skills to solve problems as well as the imagination to dream up new ideas.
MIT’s Zeynep Ton, author of The Good Jobs Strategy, has found that well-trained employees are not a cost driver, but a sales driver. A higher paid workforce results in less turnover, better customer service and greater efficiency. So even in declining industries, investing in people can lead to more profitability.
Southwest Airlines regularly tops lists of best companies to work for and has maintained healthy profits for decades. A study comparing Costco and Sam’s Club found that by investing more in front line personnel, Costco was able to gain an edge in productivity.
Consumers Are People Too!
A focus on people also tends to spill over into how a company treats its customers. It’s no accident that Google, Southwest and Costco are not only great places to work, but also rank high in Net Promoter Score, which is probably the best measure of customer satisfaction. Employees that feel cared about tend to care about others.
People First Essential, Not Optional
According to the Association for Talent Development (ATD) this "people first" approach to employee training is essential - not optional - in ensuring knowledge gaps are filled, and a workforce remains up to date on the newest and best practices for conducting business.
ATD’s 2016 State of the Industry report found that organizations spent an average of $1,252 per employee on training and development initiatives in 2015, a $23 increase from 2014. Developing the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the workforce continues to be a priority for organizations. The use of technology is increasing in the delivery of training, but about half of all learning is still delivered live in a traditional classroom.
No surprise, the companies that don't make training much of a priority experience less positive results. The key benefits to a PEOPLE FIRST training program:
1. Increased productivity, employee satisfaction and retention.
2. Employees feel more connected, valued, accountable, and focused.
3. Equips employees with new ideas, best practices, and skills that increase a workforce’s abilities and confidence.
4. Net positive measurable return on investment when training and development are made a strategic priority at an organization.
Put PEOPLE FIRST...really!
My best to your quest!
I believe each of us is a gift. I create trusted relationships where individuals, teams and leaders NAME, CLAIM and AIM their gifts to achieve optimum performance.
Interested to Learn About Yourself or Your Team? Mark is a Certified CliftonStrengths Coach, Facet5 and TotalSDI Facilitator and happy to discuss your situation.
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About Mark Myette
I believe each of us is a gift. I create trusted
Based out Roam - Buckhead - 3365 Piedmont Rd NE, Suite 1400 (2nd Floor), Atlanta, GA 30305
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