Covid-19 has drastically changed the workplace, causing “essential workers” to contemplate what they essentially want from their jobs over and above decent pay and benefits. High on their list of priorities is gaining greater autonomy, an opportunity to learn, and to achieve a sense of purpose on the job. As this week’s guest explains, cast aside, therefore, workplace myths such as the following: that the employee experience (EX) is about perks, that HR “owns it” alone, that attracting and retaining employees covers the bases so far as EX is concerned, and that EX applies only to privileged, high-end employees working remotely as opposed to on the frontlines or in warehouses. EX can’t wait because EX is happening everyday – whether in good, bad or ugly ways.
First impressions really do matter, and the merger and acquisition (M&A) deals that receive a positive reaction on Announcement Day tend to outperform, over time, those deals where due diligence wasn’t practiced up front. Indeed, as Mark Sirower notes, in two-thirds of cases a negative initial reception is a sign that the deal will never gain momentum. What leads to success? Among the key elements is focusing on the employee experience. Smart companies get “ahead of the pain” by acknowledging that during M&A activity workers will have moved from the highest rung of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (self-realization) to fearing for their material well-being, their security, i.e., the lowest, most basic rung of the ladder. In short, at a time of vast, globalized M&A deal-making, emotional intelligence has never been more important as companies navigate the emotional earthquake most employees are going to experience.
Mark L. Sirower is a leader in Deloitte’s M&A and Restructuring practice and was, previously, a global M&A leader at the Boston Consulting Group. He teaches M&A at the NYU Stern School of Business and has also authored The Synergy Trap prior to partnering with Jeffery M. Weirens on this latest book.
What’s the overall theme of this episode? Inspiring greater empathy in the workplace. What makes it imperative for companies to pay attention now? The Great Resignation, which is really the Great Self-Realization. In other words, employees are realizing what matters to them and are changing jobs and careers to better align with their own values and desire to be themselves on the job. What’s standing in their way, prompting the wave of resignations? As DDS Dobson-Smith notes, too often the answer is executives who implore employees to change while not really taking a candid look at their own stale assumptions. The bottom line here is that empathy and inclusion go hand-in-hand.
DDS Dobson-Smith is the founder of the executive coaching consultancy Soul Trained and was certified as an Executive Coach by the Oxford School of Coaching and Mentoring. Prior to founding Soul Trained, he held senior roles at Marks & Spencer, Eurostar International, Sony Music Entertainment, and the world’s largest advertising agency, WPP.
Rarely will executives leave themselves vulnerable by sharing what they have done wrong in managing people. Mohammad Anwar is that rare exception, even going so far as to share on the air his “infamous refrigerator email” where he tore into employees for leaves a “disgusting” mess in the company’s breakroom refrigerator. How to create a psychologically safe place to work is the underlying theme of this episode. The topics range from answering why new hires at Anwar’s company, Softway, always start on a Friday to explaining how giving “spot raises” works better than the previous “fish market” system of dickering for pay increases as part of annual performance reviews. Whatever the topic, the emphasis is always on how to take new and corrective actions to create a more inspiring, inclusive corporate culture.
If you’ve ever completed an annual employee survey by filling-in-the-bubbles, this episode is for you. Clint Pulver’s approach to knowing what employees are thinking (and feeling) is to pose as if he’s a job seeker at a given company or organization. Being “undercover” lets Pulver conduct anonymous, candid conversation with his would-be colleagues. Why is the Great Resignation happening? Clint suggests it’s because workers remember how they were treated when Covid-19 first struck (indifferently), and that a Great Rethinking of careers prompted the Great Resignation. Learn as well about Clint’s perspective on managers, including how the ideal type, the mentor manager, earns trust by being a career-growing advocate for those on staff.
Clint Pulver is an Emmy award-wining speaker, aka the Undercover Millennial, and also a musician, pilot, and workforce expert whose specialty is employee retention. As a professional drummer, he’s appeared in feature films and on America’s Got Talent.
How can envy be a positive catalyst for changing your career? Why is curiosity so vital? (Hint: it’s been said that “Learning is the new pension.”) These are among the topics, and emotions, covered in this episode that runs the gamut from getting hired to managing both your boss and your personal brand. Along the way, this episode delves into what kinds of emotions one might feel at every stage in one’s career. While fear is likely during the job search, and a mixture of happiness, pride and relief on starting the new job, it’s also not to let shame keep you from getting the credit you deserve for a job well done. As Pollak notes, yes, good job performance is vital to success. But so is burnishing your image and getting exposure. A job well done that isn’t noticed won’t advance your fortunes.
Lindsey Pollak is the New York Times bestselling author of three previous books and was named to the 2020 Thinkers50 Radar List of global management thinkers. Her consulting and keynote speaking clients have included over 250 various corporations, law firms, and universities.
Besides the obvious health concerns related to COVID-19, the pandemic has spurred two other, major challenges for companies. The first is how to navigate the remote/hybrid work model. The second is how to attract and retain workers given the Great-Resignation trend of workers leaving companies to find workplaces that better align with their values and dreams. This week’s guest, Tim Robbins, is intimately familiar with both of those challenges. His latest book is centered around the need to provide employees with psychological safety, inclusivity, constructive “sweaty-palm” conversations (to resolve conflict) and an overall caring approach. Join me for an episode focused on creating team-spirit from a former Major League baseball pitching prospect.
Mike Robbins is the author of four previous books. He’s a speaker, consultant, and thought leader whose clients have included organizations like Google, Wells Fargo, Microsoft, Gap, and the Oakland A’s. Besides being a regular contributor to Forbes, Robbins’ work has been featured in The Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, Fast Company, the Wall Street Journal, and NPR.
The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) has called Covid-19 more traumatic than World War Two. Add other still prevalent issues like racism, sexism, and inequality, and there’s never been a more important moment for leaders to step up and prove their empathetic abilities. What are the limiting beliefs that can hinder empathy? As this week’s guest Gautham Pallapa observes, too often being the “strong silent type” means that leaders may practice cognition empathy, but then fail to progress beyond that stage to emotional and compassionate empathy. What do those two stages of empathy entail? The answer is forming a real connection with others, feeling their pain points, and enacting change. In this episode, the emphasis is on creating psychological safety so employees can collaborate, innovate and create not just a better work/life balance, but a better work/soul balance.
After the emotion of love, regret is the second most common emotion people report feeling. Regret is therefore our single most common negative emotion, and yet an emotion that we can benefit from. In this episode, the celebrated author Daniel H. Pink explains that what we regret also serves as a compass pointing us toward what we value most and want to get right in our lives. What did Pink learn from his global survey that catalogued over 16,000 regrets? That they fit into four categories: connection regrets, boldness regrets, foundation regrets, and moral regrets. Regrets compel us to be better by ideally reflecting on, rather than brooding over, what might have been better and how we can rectify what went wrong. One intriguing take-away from this episode is that you get to hear about Pink’s own Regret Resume, i.e., the two take-away lessons that reflecting on regrets taught him personally.
Daniel H. Pink is the author of the New York Times bestsellers A Whole New Mind, Drive, To Sell Is Human, and When. His books have sold millions of copies and have been translated into 42 languages. His TED talk has been viewed over 38 million times. Daniel hosted the TV series Crowd Control on the National Geographic Channel.
When Milton Friedman published Capitalism and Freedom in 1962, whose freedom was he referring to anyway? When you know the answer is corporations, you begin to understand two things at once: 1) What neoliberalism was all about; and 2) Why today Woke Capitalism may not be so much a harbinger of socialism (as critics contend) as it is a way for the Powers-That-Be to distract from greater economic justice. At least that’s the vantagepoint of Carl Rhodes, whose book explores the plutocracy that America and other democratic countries are at risk of becoming, if they are not already there. Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address famously included the pledge that government “of the people, by the people, and for the people” shall not perish. Rhodes is warning, in effect, that the world of George Orwell’s Animal Farm in which some pigs are more equal than others may now be dangerously close to the truth.
Carl Rhodes is Professor of Organization Studies at the University of Technology Sydney. There he researches the ethical and democratic dimensions of business and work. Carl regularly writes for the mainstream and independent press alike, on issues related to ethics, policy, and the economy.