How much to invest in trainings?
Gallup suggests that upwards of 70% of all North American employees are disengaged with their jobs. This means that 7 out of every 10 people at your organization are, to some degree or another, checked-out from the job they are being paid to do.
And this has a price.
A fully disengaged team costs an organization roughly $3,500 per $10,000 in salary. So, let’s say a highly disengaged 20 person ad company pays, on average, $75,000 to its employees. Since approximately one-third of their salary is being wasted on a lack of engagement, that’s $525,000 annually of creativity, innovation, drive, desire, resourcefulness, and energy being thrown down the toilet.
How, then, do you get the most out of your team, foster employee happiness (aka engagement), recruit new talent and continue to grow?
You do it, in a word, together. Not the fluffy, kumbaya singing type of togetherness. But the gritty, this-is-hard-but-we’ve-got-eachother’s-backs type of togetherness.
Stanford recently conducted a study on the power of togetherness.
In the project, two groups of participants worked on difficult puzzles. One group was told they were to work entirely by themselves. The other was told they would be working on their task “together” by receiving a tip from a team member.
The results for the participants who were allowed to work together were remarkable:
- worked 48 percent longer (more commitment to the work);
- solved more problems correctly (quality control);
- had better recall for what they had seen (more attention to details);
- said that they felt less tired and depleted by the task (reduced stress);
- reported finding the puzzle more interesting (more engagement)
What is organizations employed the notion of “togetherness” at work, like Stanford did with its puzzle participants? One might expect to see similar results: a higher commitment to work, better quality standards, a focus on important tasks, reduced levels of stress and general engagement with the work.
So how do you go about fostering this sense of togetherness? Spend time, money and resources focusing on the following six and a half things:
Shared Purpose: A Shared Understanding of ‘Why’
Why does your organization exist? What value does it bring to the world? And how can members of your organization lend their unique skills to this shared common purpose? Having these statements clearly articulated (and subsequently lived) will drive is the fundamental underpinning of intrinsic motivation, and has rippling effects on everything from a company’s branding, to employee recruitment and retention, and ultimately profits.
Emotional Intelligent (EQ) Leadership: The Art of Persuasion and Influence
Emotional Intelligence, the second pillar of an intrinsically motivated workplace, is the ability to be aware of, in control of, and expressive of one’s emotions. It is also the ability to respond to interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. Not surprisingly, it is one of the most crucial aspects of human interactions, and perhaps one of the least practiced in the workplace. Knowing how to adjust and respond to the needs of those around us is paramount to all human exchanges, not least of which in the workplace.
Healthy Conflict: The Source of Innovation
Conflict is a part of life, both in and out of the office. Most people, however, view conflict one of two ways: either something to be avoided at all costs or an all or nothing, winner-take-all battle. Conflict, however, does not have to be a four-letter word. And when done right, conflict can become a powerful source of innovation and creativity.
Shared Values: The Bond of Thriving Corporate Cultures
Research says that team members needs to hear, on average, feedback at least once a week. This feedback, it turns out, needs to be directly related to how an employee’s job functions impact the organization’s purpose and values. The challenge with feedback, much like conflict, is that most people are woefully unskilled at both giving and receiving it. More, we are prone to giving feedback as a reactive response to things that could improve. Want to be truly groundbreaking? Try giving feedforward — positive, pro-active reinforcements for jobs well done.
Uncompromised Trust: The Missing Link in Today’s World
Corporate value statements have the potential to be one of the most powerful tools an organization has. But in order to be more than words on a wall or a blurb in an annual report, they need to be linked to behaviours that are exhibited throughout an organization. If an organization (and its leaders) cannot act in accordance to the values that it purports to believe in, how can customers and employees (indeed all stakeholders) trust it? Charles Green of a Boston-based corporate culture consultancy speaks to the four components of trust: credibility, reliance, intimacy, and self-orientation. Contrary to most assumptions, for intrinsic motivation to flourish at work the last two — intimacy and self-orientation (or how much others perceive our interests as truly being invested in another’s best outcome) are the most important.
Business Operating Systems: Not Automatic, but Systematic
Know what the biggest problem with a strategic plan is? That it usually ends up sitting on a shelf, never to be implemented. The best source of “togetherness” in an organization happens when all team members know what their 1 year, 3-5 year, and 10 year goals are, and more importantly, have the systems of responsibility and accountability to make them happen. See the article written by Katherine Sharp on what a Business Operating System is.
The Half: Being on the Balcony and Dance Floor at the Same Time
Creating intrinsically motivated teams is not a one time event; it is a continuous, ever adapting process. Carefully and artfully leading the constant ebbs and flows of the aforementioned six pillars of leadership is not unlike how a tree is more than its leaves and branches, or a painting is more than just its oils and canvass. Culture is something whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This is the secret sauce — the artful dance of being both fully participative in and fully observant of your organization’s cultural health, and masterfully weaving in any missing ingredients as these ebbs and flows change.
Great. All good stuff. But what’s it cost?
Creating great cultures where team members work together is far less expensive than the aforementioned example of the average ad agency with 20 employees, wasting more than half a million dollars a year.
Indeed, investments in your organizations team are fractions of this expense.
Consider some statistics:
- Employee engagement investments by 10% can increase profits by $2,400 per employee, per year. (Source: Workplace Research Foundation)
- Companies with engaged employees, outperform those without by 202%. (Source: Dale Carnegie)
- Customer retention rates are 18% higher on average when employees are highly engaged (Source: Cvent)
- Higher workplace engagement leads to 37% lower absenteeism, 41% fewer safety incidents, and 41% fewer quality defects (Gallup)
So if you’re wondering how much your company should invest in its people, culture, and team building, the answer is: as much as you possibly can. It will far outweigh the cost of not doing anything!