Leadership & Culture V’s Skills Training

 images-94Is upskilling and training your staff a waste of time, without setting the right leadership model and organisational culture first?

According to a recent study by Gallop, the average company only has 30% of employees engaged at work, with the top performing companies only reaching a 65% engagement level.

The myriad of programs & campaigns for overturning the apathy, discontent, and disengagement of staff has not worked. Engagement has seen little or no improvement in the last 3 years, and there is a direct connection between the bottom line performance of a company, and the level of staff engagement.

Gallop says if companies learn how to truly engage their staff, they could expect to see up to a 22% increase in bottom line results.

Traditional leadership methods have in fact invited low engagement, as they often are focused on the outcomes and pressures from boards and shareholders, rather than what will engage employees take ownership of their role, and meet their hot points.

Most leadership programs just end up with the same archaic approaches under new names, disguises and banners. They actually make things worse by reinforcing the bleak future, and the same old expectations for staff with the same discontent.  There is a new level of initial excitement and hope, until staff realise the latest efforts are in fact still all about the leadership’s goals and perspective. So after the latest round of training and workshops, things return to normal quickly, and leadership scratch their head yet again as what to do next.

It is widely stated in the “Leadership Program Industry” that it is slow to turn things around, and the bigger the beast the slower the movement. I suggest this is because the wrong approach is being used. All of these ineffective programs have one glaring theme in common- it is all from the perspective of the leadership, not the staff, nor the organisational culture.

Often, leaders, managers and CEO’s will share one common trait, they are very good at moving and activating people towards their own personal goals. Generally, staff do not get the opportunity to work towards their goals and what may be important to them. So if we make it about the staff and what keeps them engaged then the goals of leadership will take care of themselves.

The cost of not getting this right, is exactly what we have been complaining about for the last decade or so:

  • Lack of retention of staff
  • Costs of hiring and exiting staff
  • Training and getting new staff up to speed
  • The cancer of discontent through the organisation
  • Performance standards that just tick the box, just sufficient enough to keep a job
  • Low profit margins
  • Costly programs to drive engagement
  • The toxic flow on effects to our customers and stakeholders.

To quote Maya Angelou

“People may forget your name, they may forget what you did, but they will never    forget the way you made them feel”

So how are we making our staff feel?

True Leadership is treating staff as individuals and not take a generic or one size fits all approach just because it is easier. It is being flexible to accommodate individual needs where possible & practical.  Working from home if there is a sick child or partner, allowing a start late or leave early event, etc. Of course staff need to succeed and deliver results. Empowering staff through feelings of well being and happiness will have them driving themselves instead of the leadership having the constant battle to enthuse, inspire and motivate.

In 2013 64% of staff surveyed in Australia said they would rather have personal and/or professional development opportunities, over a pay rise.

Another benefit of engaged staff is the way they handle stress. When staff work too many hours, feel they are always at work with electronic accessibility and don’t have enough down time, stress levels increase significantly. When the work life balance is right and engagement is healthy with feelings of well being and happiness, then stress is managed much better, even in a demanding environment.

It is the culture of an organisation that will determine long lasting success with high margins, efficiencies, and a health-happy workplace.

So upskilling and training your staff needs to be in conjunction with setting the right leadership model and getting your organisational culture right.

Do both, side by side, and you will see the results you are after, even better. One without the other, well, we have seen those results for decades.

If you need help in getting this balance right in your workplace, then I would love to help. Email me at bruce@brucebowen.com.au or call me on +61 412 802 193

Cheers for now,

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