Sunday, March 9, 2014

They're Just Not That Into You (The Employees, That Is)

Image of "He's Just Not That Into You" movie poster via Your Entertainment Now

Coinciding with my umpteenth viewing of He's Just Not That Into You, I watched the episode of Sex and the City where Carrie and Jack Berger break up.

It is a little-known fact that Berger, in character, is the driving force behind that movie. On one of the episodes of SATC, Carrie's friend Miranda asks for a post-date analysis. Jack says simply:

"He's just not that into you."

The remark spurred a self-help book that then spurred the movie.

It's an odd thing. Hollywood characters spend endless amounts of time deconstructing their actual and potential love interests. They try different things to see what works, dropping behaviors that don't work and adopting new ones. This is the entire premise of both the movie and the TV show.

But in real life, companies don't have this attitude toward their employees - at least not yet.

They say that employee morale is important, but only AFTER the real work of the organization has been done.

As part of a training module I recently saw a video clip from Dave Taylor, a leadership consultant and author. He said,

"Employees aren't are greatest asset. They are our only asset."

If employees were our only asset we would treat them better. We would spend more time thinking about what it is that they want and need to be successful. We would ask them for input before we do things. We would fire people who treat them badly. We would train them to be be successful within the organization and help them find jobs elsewhere if they can't contribute where they are.

Employee morale is not a stagnant abstract thing sitting somewhere "out there" in space. You can't command the executives to improve it.

Rather it is in the heart. It is a kind of marriage in the workplace, between each individual person and the whole of the culture that the leadership has institutionalized.

Just like you can't ignore your spouse all the time and say "I love you," you can't pay lip service to employee morale and then say that you care.

And you definitely can't be surprised when your lack of effort shows in a lack of results.

* All opinions my own.