In my earlier post I shared a case study – ‘Why Don’t We Make Symbolic Gestures To Show Our Commitment To Employees?’ that gave Dinesh food for thought on engagement interventions to resurrect their organization.
I have heard and witnessed many actions that have sent strong messages to employees in organizations.
Here are a few:
- CEO sending home an employee who was dressed inappropriately – reinforcing the need to dress in a way that represents the brand and values of the organization.
- A leader sending a company-wide mailer asking the employee who printed a 400 page photography manual for personal use on the company printer to personally come and collect it from his office.
- A business leader who rips up notes on meeting rooms that divide the company by business units and makes it first-come-first-serve to improve collaboration.
- A company where every employee – leader or otherwise shares commons spaces and cabins and special privileges are done away with.
- A CEO from a mining company who went first into a tunnel to prove that it was safe for workers, right after a tragic accident.
Dinesh is in an unenviable spot with a management team that believes in symbolic gestures while refusing to address the core issue of trust and credibility. There are many examples of how leaders can take measures or actions that send a definite message which resonates with employees at all levels.
However, doing symbolic actions in isolation can lead to employees mistrusting the intentions of the organization and further diluting the engagement that exists.
Which intervention will work and why? That will mean listening to employees and seeking their views on what they value the most. Missing this important step is a surefire way to fail.
What also matters is the timing. Do an intervention right after a crisis and it will seem like a knee-jerk reaction. Do it later – and the leaders can be branded as inefficient?
The key point is that no matter what intervention is done the intention must be authentic and transparent to everyone.