Let’s face it! As much as we think we know all about our employees, we don’t. Well, not entirely at least. We all like to believe ourselves to be experts in employee engagement and being able to create a world class employee experience. However, most of the time this would be catering to the masses and often we find ourselves taking a broad brush approach when it comes to engaging our employees.
I would like to turn the table around on this topic. There is this timeless discussion around “employee development”, on whether it’s the responsibilities of the employer or employee. Let’s take this same argument to the topic of employee experience.
Who is responsible for Employee Experience?
Are you responsible for your own experience in the company? Or, do we all expect that the company have to provide you with a wonderful experience of working with them? We might as well ask the question if we should wake up happy or grumpy? So, is a positive work experience a result of the work culture or a projection on the employee’s outlook?
Interestingly enough, everyone I spoke to feels that it’s the employer/ company/ manager’s responsibilities to create a positive work culture and experience. However, as a manager, do we walk into office every day and say, “You know what, today is the day I will make the life of my employees heaven! Today is positive work culture day!”? That would be priceless.
I honestly don’t think that work culture is something that we would wake up in the morning and have at our top of mind, something that we would deliberately try to create. Yes, we would be aware and try to instil some positive vibes and yes, cultivate the right culture, but it’s a product of how we work and interact with our fellow colleagues. Let’s just be honest, if you’re a “not so nice human being” (you know I can’t swear in my articles), no amount of good culture is going to make you a better person. And this “not so nice human being” is going to mess up the whole workplace and “poison” the whole environment.
This is so messed up! As an employee, I would put the owners on the employer, manager and company to create the best culture there is, but in actual fact, that culture is a product of the behaviour of everyone of us!
You are responsible for your own experience!
Which brings me to the argument that “YOU” are the single most important part of “YOUR” company! So, if we start to think that way, and start taking ownership over how we bring the best of ourselves to work everyday, we would have a rather utopian work environment! Wouldn’t that be wonderful? [Now, let us all join together and sing that Lego Movie Song – “Everything is awesome!”]
“Team that plays together, Stays together” – Workbond
This is an interesting tagline. I’ve been working with the founders of Workbond, Amir Palmén and Ryan Cohn. Seeing how they’ve assembled a very diverse team across different locations, I asked them the question on how create this amazing work culture at Workbond. Their response was simple. Living by their tagline of “Team that plays together, Stays together”, they create interest-centric groups within the organization and allowed employees to bond over common interests.
I had the opportunity to join the teams on their mobile Workbond platform and it was an amazing experience! Being a San Jose Sharks fan, I was immediately pulled into the San Jose Sharks group and we had a blast as we followed our team’s amazing season to date! GO SHARKS!
I have to say that the bond which the employees created between each other was amazing and when it comes to work, there was a certain level of camaraderie and chemistry which makes working together a joy!
I brought along a piece of “culture” with me
What I’ve also realized was that when I was introduced to the folks within Workbond, I brought along a little piece of “culture” with me. As the team interacts with me, the dynamics evolved and this culture building took on a life of its own. Conversations shifted towards topics about Asia and Singapore, and that cultural exchange was indeed very refreshing. Well, that was until they found out that I was a bit of a San Jose boy, and we ended up talking about where to hang out after work for drinks!
Unintentionally, as I experienced this culture through my engagement with the team, others experienced this culture with me as a part of it. As I sat back and thought about what had just happened, I realized that every employee holds an important piece of the culture puzzle. Everyone to themselves is the most important part of their company, and as they exist within this larger entity, they would bring their emotions and personality into the mix, creating an unique corporate identity.
The sort of interaction and bond between employees defines the organization. Relationships within an organization are form over different forms of interaction. That is also the reason why we see so many organizations over the years invest a great deal of money in team building and bonding experiences.
An important piece of the puzzle
As we come to the end of this article, I want to bring us all back to the very point that I wanted to make. And let us say this again. YOU are the single most important part of YOUR company because only YOU can help create that culture which YOU are a part of! Now, let’s continue singing our song… “Everything is awesome… “ 🙂
Eric Wong is the Managing Consultant from The Talent Shark and the CHRO forIntel Wise. His experience spans across the various human resource functions such as HR Information Systems, Business Partnering and Talent Management. Eric is also the Advisor for Workbond and currently sits on the Advisory Board of the Management Development Institute of Singapore (MDIS). Connect with him on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter @ErickyWong.