Thanks to Sue Bingham of HPWP Consulting for this short video - a wonderful example of a company, Southeastern Mills, where culture and the engagement of the workforce have created an amazingly successful food products business.
I just received a note from Sue with this incredible story about Southeastern Mills:
...their annual turnover is less than 4% (310 employees), they pay for all reasonable and necessary absence with attendance metrics varying between 98.5% - 99.5%, and, as long as 5+ years without a recordable incident.
When they lost a major customer, they involved everyone in identifying how to take $1.2 million out of the business in 60 days with the only restriction that no one could lose their job. They successfully identified more than that amount.
As their president at the time stated: "The good news is we did it. The bad news is it was there." They attributed a 60% decrease in waste (significant dollars in the food business) almost entirely to employee engagement.
In my humble opinion, this is a perfect example of the kind of company culture and leadership mindset that is essential for any organization to thrive in the future. We are transitioning from an industrial economy to an era in which information, ideas, and networked intelligence determine strategic success. The industrial-age management approaches that got us where are we are today just won't work in a world of information abundance, an educated workforce, and a global economy that changes the rules for success almost daily.
I am convinced it is time for most organizations to put "Command and Control" management out to pasture and replace it with "Empower and Respect."
Who knows where the next Big Idea will come from? Create a work environment in which your people are actively engaged, respected, and able to converse with each other at all levels and in all parts of the company, and you will almost be guaranteed long-term success.
What companies do you know of (or belong to) that are as people-centric as Southeastern Mills?
That's what a business colleague said a few weeks ago in a conversation we were having about setting up our home offices - and finding the right desk and chair. We were both concerned about the health aspects of sitting all day; he very rightly advised me to be sure to get up and walk around on a regular basis.
I've had some back and neck pain in the past, and have even had some physical therapy sessions that have helped me work on my posture. More recently I've worked with a trainer and am lifting weights (light ones!) to strengthen my back, neck, shoulders. I'm doing much better - and am much more aware of the need for both good posture and frequent getting up and moving around.
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Note: I am just back from a very full week at IFMA's World Workplace 2013, in Philadelphia., where I reconnected with lots of long-time friends and made many new ones. Look for a series of reports and reflections over the next several days/weeks.
We were particularly pleased to spend time at World Workplace with Steven Sonsino, the co-author (with Jacqueline Moore) of Leadership FM, a new book calling for completely rethinking the role of facilities and facilities management (FM) in organizations (by the way, Steven's view is very similar to my own, as reported in 2012 in the RICS white paper, "Raising the Bar: Enhancing the Strategic Role of FM" - free registration required to download the report).
Steven interviewed several of us during the conference and produced this short video compilation featuring yours truly, Kate Lister of Global Workplace Analytics, Chris Hood of CBRE, Ross Liebowitz of Manhattan Software, Erik Jaspers of Planon Software, and Gaylene Domer of National Equity Fund:
By the way, those red berets signify the wearers as proud member of the Workplace Evolutionaries community, launched this year out of the Corporate Real Estate Council of IFMA (full disclosure: I am the current President of CREC, and the owner of a red beret - I just took mine off for the interview).
So - what do you think of the comments from these workplace gurus? Do you agree with them? Have your employees left your buildings? Does your C-Suite understand just how strategic your workplace is?
Any and all comments welcome.
When: Thursday, March 7, at Noon Pacific Standard Time
Please join me and my colleague, Pi Wen Looi of Novacrea Research, for a lunch-and-learn session to learn about “Leveraging Mobile Work to Engage Your Employees.” We'll present our 2012 Mobile Workforce Survey findings and share ideas about how you can use these insights to engage and leverage your mobile workers.
We planned to conduct this webinar well before Marissa Mayer of Yahoo! issued her now-famous edict mandating all Yahoo! staff to “cease and desist” working from home and to come to the corporate office every day. But the buzz surrounding that decision makes this webinar all that much more timely.
This session is designed for anyone who manages Gen Y workers, remote workers, IT professionals who are involved with mobile technology, and knowledge workers who work on-the-go.
Past research on the mobile workforce has focused on either the technology needs of mobile workers or the challenges of managing a virtual workforce. Our newly designed Mobile Workforce Survey is the first study that takes an integrated look at both the hardware needs of mobile workers (e.g., mobile devices) and the factors that impact their organizational engagement and personal views about mobile and remote work.
- How and where knowledge workers are getting their work done today
- What tools they use to be productive
- How their mobility is affecting their work and their professional and personal relationships
- Tips for managing and engaging remote workers
Please click on the link below to register for the free webinar, which is being hosted by People-OnTheGo, a firm focused on workforce productivity and achievement.
Date: Thursday, March 7
Time: 12:00 noon PST
Pi Wen and I hope to "see" you on the webinar next Thursday. Feel free to invite your colleagues; the more the merrier!
There's been quite a buzz building around Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer's recent proclamation that all employees are now expected to be in their assigned corporate office every day. No more "telecommuting" or working from home.
There is no way I can summarize all the insightful commentary about Ms. Meyer's edict that is all over the Internets and the mainstream media this week. However, I can point you to several really good starting points for understanding what all the buzz is about.
And I'll humbly start with my own interview with talk show hostess Turi Ryder on WGN 720 radio (Chicago) on Wednesday evening: "The Perks and Catches of Working Remotely." It was a fun and provocative conversation.
Here's a one-paragraph summary of that 20-minute conversation, brilliantly written by my good friend, colleague, and "pioneer" in the the field of remote work, Jessica Lipnack. Her post is titled "Jim Ware to Yahoo: 'You have a management systems problem.'"
But for a really thoughtful and passionate statement on the issue, you've got to read Jessica's lengthier and far more important note, "Marissa, we need to talk. This genie is way out of the bottle."
That is the most articulate statement about remote work and its benefits that I've ever seen. Read it and bookmark it. I guarantee you will want to come back to it whenever your company starts wavering or waffling about the pros and cons of flexible work.
It's not a simple or straightforward issue. If you have the time, read through the many Comments (both supportive and dismissive of Marissa Mayer) from readers that accompany Jessica's posts, and this one additional article on Kara Swisher's AllThingsD blog, which is where I believe it all started:
Yahoo CEO Mayer Now Requiring Remote Employees to Not Be (Remote)
by Bob Fox, Fox Architects and Workspace Design Magazine
(This article appears in the March 2012 issue of Future of Work Agenda)
Is there only one metric?
For as long as I can remember, the square footage of space has been the primary metric in the real estate and construction world. However, commercial offices today are evolving in the way they operate, incorporating the telecommuter, co-working, and sharing workspaces. Because of these developments, determining the efficiency of a person in a place has become a serious challenge.
The standard metric concept assumes each person “owns” and occupies his/her individual workstation real estate, but this approach says nothing about the performance of workers who are more agile, or who are working remotely and moving among different locations.
Corporate America is still predominantly organized with an abundance of cubicles and assigned closed offices. One of the factors driving workplace research today is to understand what drives individual performance, group performance, and the physical environment that is necessary to support and enhance workforce productivity.
If we take a holistic approach, research has shown that human resources, psychology, and ergonomics, as well as human and leadership performance, are among the key drivers that impact individual performance. It is important to recognize these influences and how they impact the work environment.
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Just found a very compelling report on the role that flexible work has in supporting corporate agility and strategic flexibility. It's a new report prepared by Sandy Burud
, Ph.D, of Flexpaths
, a firm we know and have had many conversations with.
There's a brief summary of the research and the report on the Sloan Work and Family Network website
(which I found via twitter - @sloannetwork
Here's a distallation of the report, in Sandy's words, from the Sloan site:
The headline is that 95% of the [Working Mother] 100 Best [companies to work for] say that flexible ways of working at their organizations is now considered the new “normal” — their standard way of doing business. Not one or two — 95%. That’s news, and a call to action for any company that competes for labor or reputation or strives to be a great place to work.
As we've said many times, flexible work is at the core of corporate agility, something we wrote about at length back in 2006 (see the writeup of our book
by that name on Amazon.com).