Colin Lovering: Stop being a “nice” employer?


I remember my high school English teacher going completely crazy every time someone used the adjective “nice” in an essay. It was the time when teachers followed with a slap on the head so, yes, that was a long time ago!

It’s fair to say that most businesses want to be seen as even more than that aforementioned word and be described as supportive, flexible, accommodating, understanding, etc. and once again.

In today’s business world, the Covid situation has accelerated the pre-covid movement towards creating a more friendly and caring work culture, thus offering many more choices than ever before. The new hybrid working method that is being introduced and even practiced in many fields is further proof of the flexibility mindset that is being introduced.

You may have just read the previous paragraph and thought “Well what are the dangers that you mention in your title, it sure looks like a great model, doesn’t it? “ and my answer would be in line with anything that gives people a better sense of freedom and choice. You are probably one step ahead of me here and yes there is always a “but” somewhere among great ideas and thoughts.

Benevolent overload

Having this caring organization will in turn create a culture of caring which in turn will lead to a slight overdose of caring within departments. Let me illustrate further. How many times have you been in a meeting that appears to be very friendly and respectful on the surface, only to witness the stabbing in the back after the meeting and a 360 degree change of opinion that defines the meeting as completely unnecessary with the subject’s needs remaining unresolved and purulent like a rotting fish in the midday sun.

Another example of overkill is opening the floodgates to ideas and contributions. Again, at first glance it sounds great to be a company that listens to everyone’s opinion but, as we all know too well, if you’re trying to please everyone, someone one will not like it!

Decision making in any organization requires careful handling of issues directed to a more selective audience rather than a carte blanche approach to achieving 100% consensus with everyone. Doing this leaves you with the opposite of consensus and a larger ambiguous gray area than you had before you asked the question!

Unplanned succession?

Succession planning is an increasingly important tool in the development of businesses in Romania, but, like the selection of only 11 players in a football team of 23, is also an essential part of selection and development. of the next generation of talent which, in turn, enables the pursuit of careers. progression up the corporate ladder.

Dynamic internal competitiveness within a company is actually much healthier than just trying to please everyone with the same message. There are people who are happy where they are and others who have a greater appetite for career advancement. Both are well and equally respected, and both should also be well housed. It’s a bit like the recruiting process consists of one or two interviews instead of a stimulating process that gives the candidate a sense of accomplishment when offered the job rather than a reaction as exciting as eating. a cold curry. The more effort you put into achieving something, the more you will respect it and, in terms of work, the more likely you are to be loyal and dedicated to the job and to the organization.

Crisis? what crisis?

Sometimes inertia becomes so strong in a great culture that the organization loses its ability to act preventively. These day to day challenges, frustrations, and concerns are actually meant to be there, otherwise we become immune to the red flags and end up facing a big problem rather than avoiding a small one.

The same applies to learning and development when the absence of challenges to an individual’s performance needs creates a “it will be fine if i don’t”State of mind resulting from the grim reality in 2 years that many team members have not really developed and will likely feel the lack of progress which in turn will affect their commitment and longevity within the team. ‘organization.

Create an inspiring and collaborative culture, not just fun

Ambiguity breeds toxic cuteness, so clarify how you expect people to treat each other and hold each other accountable. Be clear on how the business needs to evolve over the next three years and how important each team member is to making it happen.

Don’t expect everyone to embrace your vision, but set the new level of the bar and apply that consistency that others will come to appreciate and support. You need everyone on the proverbial bus otherwise it won’t work. Identifying those who don’t want to get on the bus and need to get off at the next stop is as crucial as your business strategy itself.

The Covid has changed us all in our authenticity and that’s a good thing because we also filter out those pre-covid “friends” who no longer meet your new criteria for what a friend should be. In business, the need for kindness and understanding has pushed us into the inevitable world of unproductive kindness. As we see the light at the end of the tunnel, we need to recalibrate ourselves and our people, realign our goals and install the new standard ASAP.

Martin Luther King Jr. said in his famous letter from Birmingham Jail “…there is a type of constructive, non-violent tension that is necessary for growth. Don’t hide this in your efforts to be kind. Channel and manage tension. It’s a real kindness ”

By Colin Lovering, co-founder – Lovering & Partners Business Performance Consultants