USE IT OR YOU LOSE IT
In my role as a CEO of a company, but also having the opportunity to interact with other CEOs or Executive level managers, I get to often see beyond the fancy storefront, into the silos fostering unproductivity within companies. For us, in supporting a customer or how we work, with the size that we are, we still maintain a start-up culture. We are trained to think outside the box, rather than remain trapped inside it, and we maintain this standard globally.
My point here is that what I see is that corporate culture is beset with inefficiency, often with damaging consequences. Poor company culture presents itself in many ways: lack of productivity, general dissatisfaction, lack or clarity, too many layers, workplace misconduct, public relations nightmares, millions in lost revenue, employee health concerns – and even death, whether actual or corporate.
Corporate culture usually supersedes organizational management issues. The root cause stems from individual behavior, and widely accepted, albeit outdated norms, the worst of which measure work performance or busyness in terms of numbers of hours worked, calls made, and meetings attended. Productivity, it seems, is no longer measured in output, but in terms of “busyness,” which often equates to time wasted or meaningless tasks masqueraded as important assignments.
The reality is long hours at work often do not mean a job well done. Poor work-life balance, driven by toxic corporate cultures, results in stress, dissatisfaction, hostility and disappointment. If you think of these as individuals’ issues, you are gravely mistaken, since they can bring down even the most robust of companies.
The number of hours employees work, even the places they work from, do not accurately measure employee performance. Why force employees into 9-to-5 shifts in an office building, when they can add more value to the organization from elsewhere? Why do companies treat full-grown adults as though they are children who need constant supervision. But if these employees produce high quality work, then why interfere and add red tape where it isn’t needed? How do we tread the fine balance of accountability and initiative? Easily, if we trip people are professionals, rather than labor force.
Client preferences and team needs play a critical role in determining an employee’s location and schedule. Employees should attend meetings and work hours as necessary, but not based on senseless expectations, to achieve an inflated sense of self-worth, and certainly not when there’s no real value-add, or when doing so leads to additional stress or illness.
It’s time for a dramatic change not only in the way employers treat employees, but in the ways that we, as a society, think about work itself. It’s time we change measures of performance to reflect quality of output, rather than time spent or unwarranted “sacrifices” made and treat employees as people first and as personnel second. Excellent output, high quality work, freedom, flexibility and balance are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they go hand in hand. An employee who knows what to do, even if it only takes a few minutes is more valuable than an employee who will spend 8 hours, figuring it out.
It’s not as hard a change to make as it may seem. Using identity analysis, companies can shape employees’ beliefs and in turn corporate culture. They can stamp out outdated norms that remain ripe with incompetence and inefficiency, which threaten the welfare of the employees and the organizations themselves.
In the Al Thuraya Holding group, we promote unconventional methods in the workplace, solutions that work for employees and managers alike. It offers freedom and flexibility for the people and performance is measured in terms of actual output, rather than in number of hours worked. Services, solutions and products are reflections of the individual and developed at the highest level with the knowledge that anything less will not be tolerated. It’s a strategy that has been extremely effective, both to increase employee satisfaction and overall productivity, and one that many other companies could benefit from. The fact is, people don’t need to work harder or longer, they just need to work smarter. People with flexibility work harder. People that feel valued perform. And people that like the companies they work for and the conditions they work under, stay, increasing productivity and efficiency, limiting toxicity and misconduct, and ultimately strengthening a company’s bottom line.