This is NOT how we do things around here…

this-is-not-how-we-do-things-around-here

This is NOT how we do things around here… Do you welcome -in your company- new employees with the attitude “This is NOT how we do things around here…“? Are you still proud of the company you work for? Do you see the company flourishing in all departments/functions? Do you get often ‘fresh air’ inside? This blog post is dedicated to the restless young minds who often get discouraged by the complacent, old-minded line managers that recruit and orientate them.

This is NOT how we do things around here

This was the response of a line manager to one of my mentees who thought of proposing something new. First week. First impression. Discouraged young Talent. Once more, I’ve remembered that coffee chat stories for boring managers who treat you as ‘trash’ can be real. First negative feeling for the company? Who knows…

But who on earth is this “senior management” who can’t accept fresh perspectives, or at least hear politely a young person trying to test grounds and contribute? Why do we still have in our companies those resisting to change, bein completely incompetent to nurture and raise talent?

Why do we pretend in our “senior talks” that “juniors” aren’t the real issue, but the poor company Culture and performance is (as if this culture isn’t us…)? Why don’t we accept that all kinds and sizes of companies’ executives are coming in contact with a new, different, younger culture, style, approach? …and why this can’t be accepted by the ‘corporate players’?

New entrants testimonials

From the job search and interview phases, up to the first orientation days, many new entrants/interns are sharing that they face a ‘tough’ climate. It’s like they aren’t welcomed. Even in the case that there is a proper orientation program in place, companies are behaving like it’s a temporary resource pull and not respected humans and employees.

This isn’t happening only in the retail environment or B2B salesforce, where usually you have the “I-know-it-all” salespeople. There are examples from insurance, marine, banking, exporters, software co’s, FMCG, ad agency, PR. The attitude is everywhere. The lack of training is also evident everywhere.

Result? Even young employees can become too ‘corporate’

We were at a company meeting discussing the Branding activation of the company, off-and-online. The most resistant to the new perspectives was a young lady-employee as if she was defending her turf. It doesn’t matter if she hasn’t any people skills and team leader experience. The problem is that some organizations have exercised on her the ‘stop-talking-start-doing-as-you-are-told’…

Been there… With generalistic excuses for “being customer-centric“, “we’re a fast-paced environment“, “show your initiative“, “work volume and productivity“, “you have to survive” (and similar BS) the line management is failing to raise Talent that will be critical for the company’s survival and growth. Meaning, failing to one of its key responsibilities that shareholders expect from their organization.

My dear job seeker, know this

The 35% of EU companies workforce is totally disengaged. It’s not the benefits, neither the millennials/centennials’ mindset. It’s the surrounding context. Bored line managers, 100% activated to protect their personal position and reputation. They might not have time for you, to go deep and wide.

The majority of the people that welcome you onboard aren’t officially taught, prepared, coached on how to exploit your capabilities at best. Through the years, they’ve become complacent beasts, who simply assign resources and projects. I’m not talking HR here! Imagine, they sometimes don’t hold weekly meetings with their teams. They even ‘scheme’ the Personal Performance Evaluation criteria and the process.

It is the same breed that failed big on the majority of the legacy companies’ operational and strategic plans. Part of the reason why companies don’t grow. The same people that over-burdened the company’s OpEx and didn’t perform well against Key Performance Indicators. They’ve been ‘trained’ to play the ‘tennis-ball’ and simply use someone to do the job. Unfortunately, this is the reality.

So you don’t opt-in to get the job?

Absolutely YES! You go fullhearted in such a tight global job market. But you have to prepare yourself and go out of your comfort zone. Like it or not, you won’t meet in the company X your teachers, parents, and mentors. You’re in the ‘jungle’, but this where winners survive and win, right? You will be assigned to work for tough business objectives (sometimes really tough), and you should be learning on-the-job, faster than you think you can!

Don’t forget that you have an advantage: you’re young, restless, better trained, closer to the digital transformation evolution. You hang out with people, living the trends, and hopefully being part of communities. All these for your line-manager are simply PowerPoint slides bullet points! Your value-add will shine through sometime.

Be smart. Work hard. Don’t get discouraged. Target the best (certified), European employers. Present along every bit of an idea of yours hard-evidence and facts. Think about what they might ask you and be prepared; it’s a needed maturity test, to get accepted and shine.

Stimuli to discuss and share

Qualcomm

As a ‘telecommunications equipment’ organization, Qualcomm’s industry doesn’t immediately present an exciting image for would-be employees. However, the company’s standing on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For in recent years shows there’s more to this tech organization than first meets the eye. A visit to its careers site immediately shows considerable investment and a millennial-pleasing approach with a clean-cut, interactive and engaging design. The site is highly visual and easy to navigate. However, the key stand-out approach to this employer branding strategy is the focus on the “consumer”: in this instance, it’s employees.

Salesforce

Cloud computing company Salesforce currently ranks 23rd on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For – and as part of its employer branding campaign, has taken strongly to Instagram and Snapchat, two mediums growing in popularity amongst millennials and Gen Y. Originally utilizing the hashtag #dreamjob, the account showcases the 365-degree experience of life as a Salesforce employee – including views of the offices, events, charity initiatives and its values and culture.

Toyota

Part of the ‘Toyota Way’ was always based on making sure that Toyota’s human resources were trained, ready and up to speed with the ‘way’ things were supposed to be done, before a new facility opened. But in recent years, they were doing everything at once — building, the plant, hiring the people, training them and shortcutting their own processes — and it’s been a train wreck. When you start shortcutting time-honoured processes in a company that’s so big on tradition like Toyota, things fall through the cracks and something like becoming No. 1 was more important, per se than the time-honoured calling cards of safety and quality…

(source: AdAge)

If Companies have learnt something out of their Crisis & Post-recession growth limitations and transformation challenges, they now have to deliver a compelling response to the demands of the modern employee. If they wish to grow again…

The people companies will survive

As I usually say, companies are made of people. People are the ones who can lift company operations, service, and growth efforts…or the opposite. It is critical for companies to invest serious time internally and build the Culture again, the Values’ experience to employees and secure that Talent is treated fairly.

This primarily should be addressed to the middle management (managers, recruiters, brand advocates etc). The “Frozen” middle management concept was described by Jonathan Byrnes in “Middle Management Excellence” in 2005. The essential idea was that whatever initiative top management decided the company would pursue, it would be slowed to a standstill by the unwillingness and inability of the company’s middle management team to carry it out.

All companies must fight the decaying ‘turnover’

Employee turnover is killing any company, even if it doesn’t realize it. It leaves question-marks, a bad sentiment, and loses knowledge-transfer and OpEx investments. It is costly to both the employer and the employee. Multiply this by the number of employees that you hire each year, and the cost of turnover becomes significant. Companies must re-design their operations and employee-related policies:

  • Employee orientation: If the company has one… the most common complaints about new employee onboarding are that it is overwhelming, boring, or that the new employee is left to sink or swim. Avoid info ‘bombardment’. How can they understand and implement in much too short of a time period?
  • Explain to new employees the hard realities: Employers have to realize that orientation isn’t just a nice gesture by the organization. It serves as an important element of the new employee integration. Marketing, user profiles, competition, where do we lack behind, where do we excel in, what are the strategic change programs we have in place.
  • Switch departments as a learning curve: If you want the new employee to be productive and realize the business critical issues, make them spend two weeks in various departments, so to connect the dots in their mind. Educate the employee about the organization’s values and history and about who is who in the organization (networking and familiarization).
  • Assign line manager with 3, 6, and 12 months employee success milestones: The Line manager is the most important factor for new employee’s success. When I was a new employee in the global team, my line manager was reviewing weekly my progress and projects’ handling until I take-off.
  • Put new employee to all of your policies: There are companies who might get tempted to exclude new employees from remote working policies, in-house or other training benefits.
  • Reduce their ‘startup’ anxiety: Most successful companies do assign a more experienced employee to run-through the company life with the new employee for 3-4 weeks, so the employee doesn’t have to experience the stress of guessing.
  • Develop realistic job expectations, positive attitudes, and job satisfaction: It is important that employees learn as soon as possible what is expected of them, and what to expect from others, in addition to learning about the values and attitudes of the organization.
  • Now, fix and implement a life-work balance Culture: In many countries, this has become the most critical effort of employers, to sustain a well-balanced emotional workforce and turn all employees into loyal contributors. The Nordic countries respect the employee’s life and balance and also respect the job/ health/safety regulations. In countries like Greece, the life-work balance is a forgotten ‘virtue’ in the private sector, primarily because of incompetence in project and time management, as well as the “work hard” excuses of line management. When the life-work balance isn’t in place, you are risking the entire organization’s failure and a sentiment of ‘injustice’.

Closing

For the next 20 years’ survival and transition, in any company, Leadership-Organization-Communications should re-align and forge their strategic paths through the Transformation. It’s not only an effort of HR, but a management buy-in is needed…big-time!

Do you welcome -in your company- new employees with the attitude “This is NOT how we do things around here…“? Are you still proud of the company you work for? Do you see the company flourishing in all departments/functions with ideas and improvements? Do you get often ‘fresh air’ inside?

Share your story with all of us, and most importantly discuss with peers and partners… something must change!

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