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What are your employees saying about your company?

posted 2017-07-07 by Donna

Everyone talks about their work, or at least their experience of their work. Picture a summer backyard barbecue. Kids are running around chasing a ball. One of your employees is sitting in a deck chair, beer in hand. His friend, the host of the backyard party, asks him “Hey, how’s work going?”

What does your employee say?

What does it matter?

It matters because every single interaction matters when it comes to the reputation of your company. You don’t know who is listening. Maybe the young man sitting beside your employee, another guest at the barbeque, happens to be the son of the CEO of the company you are in the midst of negotiating a sales deal with.

What kind of control do you have over this situation? I would argue, a lot. As the head, you influence the entire culture of the company.

If there is something wrong, it is up to you to fix it, or see that it is fixed. If you don’t fix it, it reflects badly on you as a leader. A recent project I led involved working with a team of about 20 employees. Most of them were engaged, positive, optimistic, open to sharing. One of this team was toxic, looking for any opportunity to point out that the high workload was resulting in unacceptable personal stress. His comments would bring the energy level of every team discussion down by at least 20 points.

The other team members put up with it, with an apparent tolerance of ‘that’s just him, you know how he is’. But was it affecting their performance? Of course. Whose responsibility was it to stop this behaviour? His boss. By not dealing with the behaviour, the boss was allowing this person to impact the performance of every individual on that team, and the team as a whole suffered.

When the team’s performance is suffering, your business is suffering.