Bring Your Whole Self to Work


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?

This blog was originally posted on TalentedApps.

Embrace the Feedback

I’m always fascinated with the way that HR labels things. Whether it is a chart, a report, a box on the “9box,” or a rating model, it doesn’t take long to notice a trend.

There are very few “bad” labels in an HR report. This is a group that really cares about your self-esteem.

They don’t want to label you as an underachiever or bad at your job – nope — you are misaligned talent.

I’m all about job fit, but part of job fit is getting real with yourself about where you are good and where you are not.

What about those parts of the job that are less about skill and more about hard work?

Where is the affordance for feedback about the fact that you might be skilled, but you might also be lazy or having an attitude problem that is bringing down the whole group?

In the end, I think the hesitation to say anything specific and constructive impacts the reputation of the whole function. I would like to encourage HR leaders to jump into the feedback topic with a more honest approach. Spare me the euphemisms and help my leaders have those tough conversations.

Give them words.

I’m fine that you make sure that they are not hurtful, but don’t wash out the meaning in that process. Feedback is tough and it is tricky, but to get results, it must be understood.

This blog was originally posted on TalentedApps.