The result of our training creates a workplace where your employees are engaged and the organization thrives.
According to Harvard Business Review, research from the Hay Group finds that highly engaged employees are, on average, 50% more likely to exceed expectations than the least-engaged workers, and companies with highly engaged people outperform firms with the most disengaged folks—by 54% in employee retention, by 89% in customer satisfaction, and by fourfold in revenue growth.
Also, recent research done by Dan Cable, a London Business School scholar, shows that employees who feel welcome to express their authentic selves at work exhibit higher levels of organizational commitment, individual performance, and propensity to help others. Everyone has personal problems and it is only human that some personal emotions get brought into the workplace.
A healthy workplace environment is ideal when it comes to maintaining a positive outcome in a stressful atmosphere, and the most important thing that influences employee motivation, happiness, how productive and efficient they can be, all goes down to their working environment.
Our Workplace Innovation and Skills Enhancement for Productivity (WISE-P) provides employers opportunities to retool, reskill, upskill and upgrade their organization with workplace innovative and creativity skills that will drive business productivity.
Suppose you want to design the best company on earth to work for. What would it be like? For 17years of adding value to our clientele ventures, we have discovered that the majority of employees are either grossly under-skilled for their current position or over-skilled; whatever be the case, the fact remains that these employees are constantly searching for a better placement and organizations who must win in the market place must first win in the workplace.
Leaders and organizations that aim to create the most productive and rewarding working environment possible must let people be themselves, unleash the flow of information, magnify people’s strengths, stand for more than shareholder value, show how the daily work makes sense and have rules people can believe in.
However, implementing these elements is no easy task which is why we are here to help you in building the organization of your dreams where individual differences are nurtured; information is not suppressed or spun; the company adds value to employees, rather than merely extracting it from them; the organization stands for something meaningful; the work itself is intrinsically rewarding; and there are no stupid rules.
When companies try to accommodate differences, they too often confine themselves to traditional diversity categories such as gender, race, age, ethnicity, and the like which are laudable efforts. However, with our WISE-P training business owners are equipped to accommodate something more subtle like differences in perspectives, habits of mind, and core assumptions.
The organization of your dreams does not deceive, stonewall, distort nor spin. It recognizes that in the age of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms, you’re better off telling people the truth before someone else does. It respects its employees’ need to know what’s really going on so that they can do their jobs, particularly in volatile environments where it’s already difficult to keep everyone aligned and where workers at all levels are being asked to think more strategically.
WISE-P equips you as an organization with the wherewithal needed for magnifying your best employees’ strengths while making the least of them better than they ever thought they could be.
Elite universities and hospitals, Goldman Sachs and McKinsey, and design firms like Arup have all been adding value to valuable people for a very long time. Google and Apple are more recent examples. They do this in myriad ways—by providing networks, creative interaction with peers, stretch assignments, training, and a brand that confers elite status on employees. None of this is rocket science, nor is it likely to be news to anyone. But the challenge of finding, training, and retaining excellent workers is not confined to specialized, high-tech, or highfinance industries. We contend that the employee-employer relationship is shifting in many industries from how much value can be extracted from workers to how much can be instilled in them. At heart, that’s what productivity improvement really means.
Like many large companies, McDonald’s has extensive management training programs for its executives, but the firm also extends that effort to restaurant general managers, department managers, and shift managers who, as the day-today leaders on the front lines, are taught the communication and coaching skills
they need to motivate crews and to hit their shifts’ sales targets. The return on the company’s investment is measured not in terms of increased revenue or profitability but in lower turnover of hourly managers and their crews. Turnover has declined steadily since the programs were initiated, as reflected in the Great Place to Work Institute’s recognition of McDonald’s as one of the 50 best workplaces every year since 2007.
We recognize that promising to bring out the best in everyone is a high-risk, high reward strategy. It raises reputational capital, and such capital is easily destroyed. Goldman Sachs, for one, spent years building its reputation as the most exciting investment bank of all. That’s why Greg Smith’s scathing resignation letter, accusing the company of not living up to its own standards, was so damaging. Once a company heads down this road, it has to keep going.
WISE-P will create in you as an organization the consciousness of the need to stand for more than shareholder value. People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves, something they can believe in. It has become commonplace to assert that organizations need shared meaning, and this is surely so. But shared meaning is about more than fulfilling your mission statement— it’s about forging and maintaining powerful connections between personal and organizational values. When you do that, you foster individuality and a strong culture at the same time.
An academic colleague once asked a set of individuals if they were working with anyone interesting. When they mentioned Novo Nordisk, the academic colleague produced from his briefcase a set of Novo pens for injecting insulin and simply said, “They save my life every day.”
Engineers who design the side bars for BMW’s mini have been known to wake up at 4:00 in the morning to write down ideas that will make the cars safer. And that might be expected of people drawn to the idea of building “the ultimate driving machine.” But the advantage these companies have is not the businesses they’re in. The connections they forge, stem, rather, from the way they do business.
At Terraskills, we believe that beyond shared meaning, business owners seek to derive meaning from their daily activities. This aspiration cannot be fulfilled in any comprehensive way through job enrichment add-on. It requires nothing less than a deliberate reconsideration of the tasks each staff is performing. Do those duties make sense? Why are they what they are? Are they as engaging as they can be? This is a huge, complex undertaking.
Take John Lewis, the parent company of Waitrose and the department store Peter Jones. In 2012, it completed a review of its more than 2,200 jobs, slotting them within a hierarchy of 10 levels, to make it easier for employees to take advantage of opportunities across the organization. This sounds like a homogenizing move, and it might be at a traditional company. But at John Lewis, which operates for the benefit of its employee owners, it was a deliberate effort to match its people with the work they want to do.
Beyond reconsidering individual roles, making work rewarding may mean rethinking the way companies are led. Arup’s organization, which might be described as “extreme seamless,” is one possible model. As such, it takes some getting used to. In describing how this works in Arup’s Associates unit, board member Tristram Carfrae explains: “We have architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, and project managers in the same room together…people who genuinely want to submerge their own egos into the collective and not [be led] in the classic sense.” That was a challenge for Carfrae, who as a structural engineer wrestled with the question of when to impose his will on the team and push it toward a structural, rather than a mechanical or an architecturally oriented, solution. To participate in such an evenhanded, interdependent environment is extremely hard, he says. There were “incredible rewards when it worked well and incredible frustrations when it didn’t.”
The challenge is similar to that of fostering personal growth. If you don’t do it, the best people may leave or never consider you at all. Or your competitors may develop the potential in people you’ve overlooked. When you do make the investment, your staff members become more valuable to you and your competitors alike. The trick, then, is to make it meaningful for them to stay.
When you undergo the WISE-P training as a leader at any level, you build capacity on how to make rules people can believe in. No one should be surprised that, for many people, the dream organization is free of arbitrary restrictions. But it does not obliterate all rules. Engineers, even at Arup, must follow procedures and tight quality controls—or buildings will collapse.
Organizations need structure. Markets and enterprises need rules. As successful entrepreneurial businesses grow, they often come to believe that new, complicated processes will undermine their culture. But systematization need not lead to bureaucratization, not if people understand what the rules are for and view them as legitimate.
Take Vestergaard Frandsen, a start-up social enterprise that makes mosquito netting for the developing world. The company is mastering the art of behavior codes that can help structure its growing operations without jeopardizing its culture. Hiring (and firing) decisions are intentionally simple—only one level of approval is required for each position. Regional directors have significant freedom within clear deadlines and top- and bottom-line targets. Knowledgemanagement systems are designed to encourage people to call rather than e-mail one another and to explain why someone is being blind copied on an e-mail message. Vestergaard sees these simple rules as safeguards rather than threats to its founding values.
Authentic organizations are clear about what they do well. They are also suspicious of fads and fashions that sweep the corporate world. Despite the flattening of hierarchies, the ensuing breakdown of organizational boundaries, and the unpredictability of careers, institutions remain what Max Weber calls “imperatively coordinated associations,” where respect for authority is crucial for building and maintaining structure. However, we know that, increasingly, employees are skeptical of purely hierarchical power—of fancy job titles and traditional sources of legitimacy such as age and seniority. And they are becoming more suspicious of charisma, as many charismatic leaders turn out to have feet of clay. What workers need is a sense of moral authority, derived not from a focus on the efficiency of means but from the importance of the ends they produce.
A productive organization gives you powerful reasons to submit to its necessary structures that support the organization’s purpose. In that company, leaders’ authority derives from the answer to a question that Steve Varley, managing partner of Ernst & Young UK, put to senior partners in his inaugural address, after he reported record profits and partners’ earnings: “Is that all there is?” (In reply, he proposed a radical new direction—a program called “Growing Successfully, Making the Difference”—aimed at achieving both financial growth and social change.)
People want to do good work—to feel they matter in an organization that makes a difference. They want to work in a place that magnifies their strengths, not their weaknesses. For that, they need some autonomy and structure, and the organization must be coherent, honest, and open. WISE-P builds your organization’s capacity in this area. The training will be delivered through lecture, simulations, group work, discussion, and exercises while the materials will be designed using illustrations.