The hilarious satirical website The Onion recently posted an article titled, “Man Returns To Work After Vacation With Fresh, Reenergized Hatred For Job.” I fear, sadly, that many people will find this headline funny because it hits too close to home. Even if you’re not returning from a vacation, you might be one of the many people who report feeling the “Sunday Night Blues” at the thought of returning back to work on any given Monday!
Several surveys of pensioners reveal that one of their regrets was not quitting jobs they despised sooner (if at all). But other surveys suggest that often it isn’t the job itself – more often
than not it’s the dysfunctional workplace culture people feel trapped in that makes them miserable. And too often, front line employees feel powerless when it comes to having any influence over their workplace culture. Which is why I love the story of Mercy Hospital in Sioux City, Iowa, recounted in Dr. John Izzo’s book, Stepping Up.
Mercy Hospital’s culture and morale had reached an all-time low. Customer service had deteriorated to the point that the hospital was losing market share. Then a remarkable thing happened. A group of front line employees decided it was 100% their responsibility to do something about it, and asked the CEO if they could meet weekly. The “Re-spiriting Committee” had no idea how they could change things, they just knew things had to change. For a year they shared stories and brainstormed ideas. They ultimately decided on reenergizing their culture through four principles, including “choose your attitude” and “make someone’s day.”
Within a relatively short time frame, the hospital’s employee engagement scores shot up, market share grew, and the hospital started winning quality awards. Mercy Hospital felt like a completely new place to work, one you wouldn’t dread returning to after a vacation.
Stories such as this are everywhere, so never doubt that real change can be driven at any level in a workplace or that simple changes at work can begin with you. Here are a few ideas on how you can get started:
Do you have a suggestion? I’d love to hear your ideas below on what you have done or tried in your workplace to drive a culture shift from the ground up?
Michael Kerr 2018. Michael is an international Hall of Fame business speaker, motivational keynote speaker, trainer, executive coach and author of six books, including The Humor Advantage. For great ideas to improve your culture be sure to sign up for Michael’s raved about weekly e-zine, Humor at Work.
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