Creative Ideas for a New Workplace
I read with interest a recent article in the Wall Street Journal that offers an innovative approach to employee satisfaction and retention. Titled “When Your Employee Wants a Special Workplace Deal,” by Denise M. Rousseau and Laurie R. Weingart, the authors suggest that some long-held workplace customs may need a refresher.
Many managers are used to the “one size fits all” model where special considerations for individual employees are all but forbidden by human resource policies and procedures designed to ensure “fairness.” But the new, pandemic-impacted workplace means a different approach focused less on keeping exceptions to the minimum and more on working with the unique needs of each team member, to the degree possible.
The argument from the “policy police” has typically held that if one employee is granted special consideration, others will lament this and cry “favoritism.” The authors’ research begs to differ.
Fact is, in organizations with higher levels of emotional maturity, team members appreciate being part of an enterprise that goes to great lengths to address the unique needs of employees. They realize that this operating environment facilitates creativity, responsiveness, commitment and loyalty. Instead of being met with criticism, employees see this approach as a welcome change and appreciate the consideration that workplace flexibility can bring.
Of course, transitioning to this approach may not be smooth and easy. The authors remind managers to experiment, be as transparent as possible and above all, remain faithful to your organizational values.
The ongoing competition for talent is unlikely to relent anytime soon. Re-evaluating workplace norms, rules, policies and procedures, with real-time input from managers and team members at all levels can help create the kind of organizational culture that provides a sustainable competitive advantage.
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Joseph P. Truncale, Ph.D., CAE, is the Founder and Principal of Alexander Joseph Associates, a privately held consultancy specializing in executive business advisory services with clients throughout the graphic communications industry.
Joe spent 30 years with NAPL, including 11 years as President and CEO. He is an adjunct professor at NYU teaching graduate courses in Executive Leadership; Financial Management and Analysis; Finance for Marketing Decisions; and Leadership: The C Suite Perspective. He may be reached at Joe@ajstrategy.com. Phone or text: (201) 394-8160.