The 5 Building Blocks Of a Positive Corporate Culture: Part III

Strong company culture is not only a pleasant place to work, but it has also been associated with better financial success. Such companies also have fewer workplace injuries, better employee engagement when there are injuries, and quicker return-to-work rates.

 

With statistics showing most employees are either not engaged or actively disengaged in their work, it means organizations need to take steps to improve their company cultures. Vulnerability and Purpose are the final two building blocks of a positive corporate culture in our 3 part series.

 


See additional articles in 3 part culture series:


 

  • Vulnerability

 

Showing your vulnerability goes a long way in gaining trust from others. It puts you on the same level as the other person.

 

A dramatic example of the power of vulnerability came during an airline tragedy in 1989. United flight 232 was about an hour out of Denver en route to Chicago when the engine in the tail of the DC-10 blew, destroying the three hydraulic systems pilots use to move flight control surfaces and steer the plane.  While 111 people were killed, 185 survived — largely because of the efforts of a DC-10 instructor who happened to be on the plane flying home for the weekend.

 

Trained for catastrophic failures, Dennis Fitch told the flight crew “tell me what you want and I’ll help you.”  The pilot and two co-pilots put Fitch to work helping to bring down the plane. None of the flight crew worried about their status or that of Fitch; they were focused only on working collaboratively and trying any and every idea possible.

 

 

Response in Workers’ Comp is Typically Rigid

 

The workers’ compensation industry’s response to injured workers is typically very rigid. Physical restrictions are set and those handling the claim dictate what happens each step of the way. Think about how that could be different if there were collaboration and stakeholders made themselves vulnerable to the injured worker.

 

What if the employer, nurse case manager, or claims handler said to the injured worker, ‘tell me what you want and I’ll help you.’ Such a small shift in attitude demonstrates that you are a partner with the injured worker, rather than an adversary. Offering to pick up something from the office, or call a family member, or even getting a glass of water could be seen as helping.

 

Such collaboration could extend to return-to-work efforts. Instead of simply relying on the medical restrictions, you could say to the worker ‘tell me what you think you can do, and we’ll develop lite duty work.’ It’s a way of working with the injured worker, instead of being on opposite sides. It starts with vulnerability.

 

 

  • Purpose

 

All the other building blocks to a winning corporate culture come down to purpose; that is, what is the purpose or reason a company exists? What is the purpose of employees who go to the organization every day? Ideally, it is to work for something larger than just ourselves.

 

 

Majority of Workers Do Not Have Greater Purpose

 

The Gallop poll showing the engagement — or lack of — among employees in their work shows the majority of workers do not have a greater purpose in mind each day. It even showed that 18 percent of employees were actively disengaged and would go out of their way to do something that would negatively impact their companies. By using the previous four steps to create a caring, compassionate, strong culture, companies can change the attitudes of their employees.

 

As demonstrated in the study of preschoolers who were drawing, motivation must come from within. External rewards, such as additional money, are the least impactful.

 

The Nordstrom company has a great example of how an organization encourages purpose among its workers. The single rule told to employees is; Use good judgment at all time. That speaks not only to the company’s well known excellent customer service but also extends to how injured workers and their claims are managed. Managers, supervisors and injured workers all know what their purpose it.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Employees who are not only allowed but encouraged to work outside the rules and be creative are much more likely to feel a stronger sense of connection appreciation and connectedness to their organizations. Autonomy, mastery, belonging, vulnerability and purpose are the building blocks to create a winning corporate culture in which workers take pride, leading to fewer injuries and faster return-to-work.

 

 

Michael Stack - AmaxxAuthor Michael Stack, CEO Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers’ compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their workers’ comp costs by 20% to 50%.  He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is a co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center.

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: https://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

 

©2019 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

The 5 Building Blocks Of a Positive Corporate Culture: Part II

Strong company culture is not only a pleasant place to work, but it has also been associated with better financial success. Such companies also have fewer workplace injuries, better employee engagement when there are injuries, and quicker return-to-work rates.

 

With statistics showing most employees are either not engaged or actively disengaged in their work, it means organizations need to take steps to improve their company cultures. Mastery and Belonging are two of the five building blocks of a positive corporate culture.

 

With statistics showing most employees are either not engaged or actively disengaged in their work, it means organizations need to take steps to improve their company cultures. Vulnerability and Purpose are the final two building blocks of a positive corporate culture in our 3 part series.

 


See additional articles in 3 part culture series:


 

  • Mastery

 

Pride in doing something well is one of the highest factors that motivates human beings. The proof of this has been borne out by several studies, including one involving preschoolers in 1970.

Children who were found to spend much of their free time drawing were divided into three groups:

 

  1. Group one students were told they would receive a blue ribbon with their name on it if they continued to draw
  2. Group 2 students were not told in advance, but received an unexpected ribbon for continuing to draw
  3. Group 3 students were neither offered nor given any reward

 

The group that continued to draw the most every day was not the first group. The promise of a blue ribbon was not a good incentive for them. In fact, the frequency of their drawing decreased. The second and third group drew the most. The reason: their motivation to draw came from within, rather than externally.

 

The same is true for adults in companies. Those who are offered more compensation or other incentives often do worse than others because their own drive to accomplish whatever the goal is has been diminished. Building a winning corporate culture involves empowering people to do their best work because they want to.

 

The workers’ compensation system is often an enemy of a strong corporate culture. Rather than feeling empowered and in control, injured workers are typically forced to adhere to a multitude of rules and regulations and given little to no voice in their own situations. Organizations can change that attitude by including injured workers in discussions about their claims and medical care and helping them feel like they too are part of the solution.

 

One idea is to ask an injured worker what he believes he can do work-wise while he recovers. This takes some pressure off supervisors to find light duty work and helps the injured worker feel more motivated to do something he wants.

 

 

  • Belonging

 

All of us need a sense of belonging. Whether it is to a relationship or organization, we want to feel like we are part of something bigger. Companies with strong cultures know this and leverage many strategies to foster it.

 

The power of inclusion has been shown in Australian studies of patients treated for suicide attempts. Following their release from hospitals, some of the patients were sent a series of postcards expressing support.

 

The idea of the postcards was simply to increase social connectedness, to create a concrete expression that someone still cares about the patient. They included statements such as, “it’s been a short time since your visit and we hope things are going well for you. If you wish to drop us a note, we’d be happy to hear from you.”

 

The researchers found that the low-cost postcard intervention reduced the number of suicidal attempts per individual by nearly 50 percent, which they described as “clinically and statistically significant.”

 

Employees also respond well to gestures that show they are a part of the organization. Such actions let workers know they are noticed and valued by others in the company.

Employers don’t need to spend large amounts of money or other resources to foster a sense of belonging. What is key is the continuous reinforcement of these measures.

These can include:

 

  • A get well card sent to an injured worker as soon as possible.
  • A phone call or visit with the injured worker the day he is injured or the next day.
  • Weekly contact with the injured worker, to discuss his situation and needs.
  • A small bouquet of flowers sent weekly, rather than a large bouquet sent just one time.
  • A small, $5 gift card for Starbucks.

 

Reinforcing the sense of belonging is vital — for all employees but especially for injured workers who are inherently feeling left out. One risk manager decided to increase the connectedness of injured workers by taking each of them out to lunch while they recovered. Out of 12 employees, 10 were back at work within two weeks.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Feeling like we are a part of something greater than ourselves is something all humans desire. When the work environment promotes this, employees are more engaged and motivated to be the very best they can be for their organizations. Using the 5 strategies to improve a company’s culture can go a long way to making this happen.

 

 

Michael Stack - AmaxxAuthor Michael Stack, CEO Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers’ compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their workers’ comp costs by 20% to 50%.  He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is a co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center .

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: https://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

 

©2019 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

 

The 5 Building Blocks Of A Positive Corporate Culture: Part I

Why do employees go to work every day at a particular organization? Is it the paycheck? The people? The work itself? Or something else entirely — the environment, perhaps?

 

If it’s the company culture, you’re in business! It means your employees are more likely to stay for the long term, less likely to incur injuries, more willing to cooperate and engage in their healing if they are injured, and unlikely to stay out of work for very long. A strong, positive corporate culture is key to keeping workers happy — especially if and when they are injured.

 

Savvy organizations understand that and know the 5 strategies that must be carefully implemented to create a winning corporate culture.

 


See additional articles in 3 part culture series:


 

 

  1. Autonomy/Safe Culture

 

Micromanaging people and forcing them to adhere to strict sets of rules and regulations do not produce creative, out-of-the-box thinking that puts companies ahead of the competition.  What is needed is effective collaboration among workers. Synergy is the key.

 

Groups of workers can achieve amazing results when they feel safe to share their ideas and are focused more on working together rather than one-upping other workers. This has been proven in the popular, Marshmallow Design Challenge.

 

Design engineer Peter Skillman came up with the idea of looking at group interaction through an exercise replicated at many companies. It begins with four components:

 

  1. 20 sticks of uncooked spaghetti
  2. One yard of tape
  3. One yard of string
  4. One marshmallow

 

Teams of 4 each are given 18 minutes to create the tallest possible free-standing structure using only those ingredients. Skillman and others have undertaken the study with many groups; such as CEOs, lawyers, recent business school graduates, and kindergarteners. The winners are always, hands down, the kindergarteners. Their structures are on average 26 inches tall. Among the worst performers are recent MBAs, with a dismal average structure of just 10 inches.

 

 

5-Year Old are Better at Collaboration Than Business Students & CEOs

 

Why are 5-year-olds better at collaboration than other, older more experienced groups? As Skillman himself has said; “none of the kids spend any time trying to be CEO of Spaghetti, Inc.”

 

It is not that the kindergarteners have better skills than those in the other groups, it is that they interact more effectively. The business school students are engaged in managing their statuses within the group, figuring out where each fits into the picture. Instead of focusing on the task, they are spending their energy on the pecking order of the group. By contrast, the kindergarteners work together enthusiastically, trying new ideas, moving quickly, and helping one another toward the solution.

 

Navy SEALs work together in much the same way. Each is dependent on the success of the other. If one fails, they all fail — or even die.

 

Creating an atmosphere where workers feel free to truly share their input without fear of repercussions requires breaking down silos and encouraging each and every person in the organization to speak up. Employees who feel valued by a company are more apt to feel comfortable contributing to the greater good. Skillman suggests the following to help workers feel autonomous and safe:

 

  • Allow them to learn by doing and discovering problems that can’t be predicted in advance.
  • Simultaneous iteration enables a free flow of good ideas.
  • Multiple iterations usually beat a commitment to making the very first idea work; i.e., practice makes perfect
  • Encourage wild ideas.

 

Organizations can encourage autonomy by giving employees time on which to work on something not necessarily related to their normal jobs, but something they are interested in doing. This helps set expectations and can also lead to the creation of light duty work for workers who become injured.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Employees who are not only allowed but encouraged to work outside the rules and be creative are much more likely to feel a stronger sense of connection appreciation and connectedness to their organizations. In addition to autonomy; mastery, belonging, vulnerability and purpose are the building blocks to create a winning corporate culture in which workers take pride, leading to fewer injuries and faster returns-to-work. Parts II & III take a look at those strategies.

 

 

Michael Stack - AmaxxAuthor Michael Stack, CEO Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers’ compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their workers’ comp costs by 20% to 50%.  He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is a co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center .

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: https://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

 

©2019 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

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