I’m about to jump into the whole social, privacy, generational divide topic with both feet (occasionally they come out of my mouth, but I digress).
I’m happily noticing that I am not alone in my belief that to be a fantastic employee you have to be a whole person.
I see this idea of “whole self” as the cultural shift that companies need to be addressing. I think this is the real issue behind many of the “work/life balance” discussions.
Encouraging employees to be full and complete people — with a wealth of experiences, ideas, commitments, values, and thoughts to offer your company, is a linchpin for most engagement strategies.
So why don’t more companies focus on making this part of their culture?
Treating employees as people vs. resources is administratively complex. It requires a re-think of job codes, working hours, and work environments. It changes the very nature of the worker-employer contract. It is individual vs. general. It is rooted in personal accountability and responsibility. It is not easily managed by rules and policy. It is often tough to measure. I can feel the discomfort of the readers in the HR function already 😉
So why do it?
It creates employees that give more than just the bare minimum required to earn their pay.
For many of us, being treated like an adult unlocks passion and removes stress. The effort that was spent on keeping up two different selves can be channeled to productivity (both personally and professionally).
I feel inspired and blessed to work for a company that really “gets it.” They understand that I’m as equally likely to be moving forward a product escalation at midnight as I am to be attending the Site Council at my kid’s school at 3:30 in the afternoon on a weekday. Being able to both is what keeps my head in the game and helps remove a lot of the strain that comes from being a working mom.
This is a big shift to the HR and managerial functions, but the opportunity cost and opportunity rewards are equally big. The proliferation of technology/connectivity and the increase of globalization are accelerating this trend.
The ideas of privacy and work vs. life are changing. How do you plan to make this work for you and for your company?