In eight years working in the digital creative industry I've listened to the work-related complaints of friends, family and even strangers while in Lima, Dubai, Barcelona and London. All of these people expressed different levels of unhappiness at work, had an emotional reaction and connected the source of their discomfort to either management, themselves or internal politics.
Personal issues with culture however are not exclusive to my close surroundings. A person named Julie Horvath
in the U.S. quit her job at GitHub
recently and used Twitter to complain about the company's alpha-male culture - which in turn led to the resignation of GitHub's CEO (Atchinson, 2014). Ray Rakesh
, a PayPal
manager, also recently used twitter to explicitly attack executives of his own company. Later his colleagues tweeted back that he was mentally unwell and that they wished he would get help (Atchinson, 2014). Bad cultures breed bitterness in employees who then confide their frustrations face to face or take more public platforms like Twitter to share openly with the world.
Having recognised employee's negative sentiments at work, companies like People Insight
and Culture Amp
offer services to measure and manage employee engagement. Moreover, apps like Josle
(to name a few) offer help with organisational solutions like:
- cultural and employee alignment
- performance, feedback and goal management
- meeting planning
- rewards program
- social recognition
Even The Guardian
, kicked off an employee engagement programme in 2010
to build a sustainable employee engagement strategy in other organisations. They offered "workshops, lectures and debates with senior managers in the company and outside experts"
. The demand for tools and support is there and so is the supply of strategic solutions, the question is whether or not the solutions are effective in driving employee engagement. By the bleak stats (only 13%
of employees are engaged worldwide) the Gallup Organisation gives, the solutions are far from effective.
In terms of proposing more complex solutions for a complex problem, the biggest tech company in the world, Google, invested in researching and publishing the top five traits of their most successful teams
. The first quality was "psychological safety", which means "shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking." The second quality was connected to being able to depend on other members of the team (Rozovsky, 2015). Google's report highlights the importance of interpersonal relationships for successful engaged teams at work than on the work done itself - evidencing we must look at the human relationships before we look at the work being done by them.