“I can be brutal to my team at times,” one manager recently told us after a presentation. “They all know me well enough and they forget after a while. It keeps them on their toes.”
Keeping employees ‘on their toes’ at work is a good thing—well, that’s if that common old phrase means ‘elevating people to perform their best.’ But, should that include ‘being brutal?’ Before many of you answer that question with a resounding “No!” pause and think about it for a second. The answers we’ve heard from managers surprisingly vary. But, research on that question is crystal clear.
New research shows that positive, or ‘peak’ moments in an employee’s experience at work affect their perspective of their employee experience company and work for about four weeks, while negative or ‘valley’ experiences only affect their perspective for about two weeks.
Depending on who you are, where you work, who you work for, or who works for you, these findings could be interpreted many ways. A manager who has tendencies of causing negative experiences for employees, might see this statistic as a scapegoat—that his or her employees will forget about those negative experiences in a few weeks. However, smart leaders will understand the opposite—that if they truly want to elevate people to their best, and ‘keep them on their toes’ creating positive experiences is far more efficient.
Workplace cultures ranked as providing great employee experiences are:
· 8 times more likely to have high incidences of great work
· 13 times more likely to have highly engaged employees
· 3 times less likely to have layoffs
· 2 times more likely to have increases in revenue
· 3 times less likely have employees experiencing moderate to sever burn out.
And, as a leader, if doubling your impact on an employee’s perception of their experience isn’t enough—check out these other stats the research found.
“Listen, I don’t have time to make sure every moment of every employee’s work experience is great,” the same manager told us. He paused as if he understood his words sounded harsh. “I get where you guys are going with all of this. I know it’s probably the right thing to do, but I have goals to meet.”
The guy wasn’t saying anything we haven’t heard before. And, take away some of his seemingly cold remarks, he’s not altogether wrong in a short-sighted kind of way. Negative experiences might keep employees on their toes. But, positive or peak moments will keep them on their toes longer…and moving in the right direction.
What can you do to create more positive experiences for employees at work?
1. Don’t clump. Everyone is different and deserves to be treated as such. Just because a group of employees might share similar titles, working conditions, and salaries, does not mean they view their work experience the same. Make a point to actively listen to each employee.
2. Always be on burn-notice. Employee burnout is a real thing. Look for aspects of your leadership style or culture that might be depleting employees of their energy and enthusiasm. Try to eliminate those things first, and then look for ways to ignite their energy—through cool projects, proper recognition, and utter gratitude.
3. Get in their face. We understand this point is often viewed negatively. But, research also shows how powerful one-to-one conversations are with employees. So, make ‘getting-in-their-face’ a common, purposeful, practice of yours as a leader.
4. Think about safety differently. While many of us don’t work for companies where physical injury is common anymore, as a leader it’s your job to mitigate any circumstance that might make an employee feel psychologically unsafe. Sincerely consider this point. If any employee feels psychologically unsafe at your place of work, it’ll be awfully difficult for anyone to feel a peak moment.
‘Employee Experience’ has recently become a major focus of organizations worldwide. However, it’s not just something that the C-Suite needs to consider as a major focus. It’s something all of us need to consider—because we all have the ability to influence peak and valley moments in people’s lives. And, let’s be honest, do any of us want to be remembered as negative experience?