What does it say about corporate America when 30% of employees “expect to experience a cultural crisis” in the near future? Those are the words of Sarah Clayton, who takes a look at what’s happening in U.S. companies in her Harvard Business Review post. We’ve all heard rumors about specific organizations and made up our minds not to work for specific individuals. To keep that from happening to your company, it may be time to implement a reset. Here are a couple ways to get started.
It may seem hard to believe that we must continue to emphasize the need for inclusion in the workplace. If employees in your organization are encountering the glass ceiling because of their gender or the color of their skin or their age, you have a problem. You might bristle at any suggestion of individuals being excluded at your company because of these factors. If you want to know for sure what your employees are thinking and feeling, survey them.
You should also take a look at the senior leadership in your organization. Have you populated your team with ‘mini-mes’? If so, your next hire should change of the look and feel of your management team. Employees who see those changes will believe that you mean what you say.
Inclusion also speaks to the day-to-day interactions between team members. If you are not woke to the concept of microaggressions, put that topic on your list of factors to fix in a reset. Simply put, microaggressions take place when people make derogatory comments toward or behave negatively toward any culturally marginalized group. For example, asking a fellow worker if they really need the wheelchair they’re using is an example of a microaggression.
There’s a fine line between encouraging employees to work hard to achieve goals and engaging in unethical behavior. The tech world, in particular, is full of stories about how successful billionaires cheated their business partners and demeaned their employees. In these kinds of cultures, it’s easy to see how employees believe they can get ahead by lying to customers, skimping on workplace safety, and padding their expense accounts when they travel. When you ask people to increase sales by 50% in a tough business environment, you're asking for trouble. Remember that detail as you think about your reset.
Too many older employees put down younger generations for their idealism. But we could take lessons from their idealism. They expect their work to be meaningful. They want to be treated fairly at work. And they hope corporate America stands for something more than profit.
As the new year starts, announce your commitment to improving your company’s culture. Model the behavior you expect to see from everyone. Put your plans in writing and communicate regularly with your team members about the progress you’re making. We've written before about the importance of actively managing your corporate culture. Taking these reset steps will build trust and credibility for the leadership team and the organization.