Building a Zombie-Free Workplace

Halloween is right around the corner, so it’s the perfect time to ask the question: “How scary is your workplace?” So gather your team around the office campfire, break out the marshmallows, and consider the following…

1. Do you work in a culture where people are afraid to be themselves? A workplace where everyone is encouraged to talk like zombies and wear professional masks all day that hide their true character? Inspiring workplaces excel at creating a relaxed atmosphere where people feel like they can bring their authentic selves to work every day.

Here’s why this matters: Leaders who come across as more authentic are viewed as more trustworthy; employees who feel they can be themselves at work say they are more creative, more productive, less stressed out, and far happier. bigstock-Vintage-Metal-Sign--Beware-of-39177664Authentic salespeople sell more; authentic customer service agents receive higher feedback ratings. Masks might be okay for Halloween, but for the rest of the year you need to foster a mask-free workplace if you want to build a high-performing team or business.

2. Are you being tricked. . .or treated? According to a Watson Worldwide survey, 88% of employees cite a lack of acknowledgement as their top workplace issue, while 70% said a lack of recognition was the key reason they left a job. Conversely, treating employees (or teammates or customers) with regular recognition leads to higher employee retention rates, higher productivity, and increased job satisfaction. One of the keys to effective recognition is being sincere, or else people feel like they are being tricked. So make it a regular habit to offer sincere, meaningful recognition.

3. Are your values nothing more than decorative window dressing? Some scary window dressing might add some fun this Halloween, but when it comes to creating a rocking great workplace…well, it’s all about actions speaking louder than words. It’s about substance over style. It’s about making your values come alive in meaningful and relevant ways, or else your workplace culture will be as shallow and as ephemeral as a Halloween spider web.

So please kids, let’s keep the scariness at work limited to one day only. (And for some thoughts on celebrating Halloween at work, check out Conjuring Up Spirits in the Workplace.)

Michael Kerr.  October, 2014. Michael is an international business speaker and funny motivational speaker who specializes in workplace culutre and humor in the workplace.  www.MikeKerr.com

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