Last week I wrote the first of this series: Employees, Privacy and Engagement. I listed a few reasons why workplace privacy continues as a contentious issue and why its path to a resolution may prove rocky.
I asked if anyone had any ideas on how to make this path, this journey smoother.
A post at HR Daily Advisor inspired these two posts. Their post was titled Do Employees Have a Right to Privacy? They answered with one key principle: limiting expectations. They offer 4 tips to limit your employees’ expectation of privacy at work.
That principle is right. Managing expectations is a key principle in building any brand. And managing employee expectations for privacy is a key principle in building trust and engagement.
Note: I've always told employees that I will come and look at their emails with customers. I want to see what customers are saying, in their own words. I also sometimes sat at their desk during lunches or their meetings in order to answer calls and emails from customers and prospects. It proved a fair tradeoff.
Ideas on what NOT to do are a good first step. The next step is the step forward...to building a tribe of loyal, passionate, A-Player employees too busy creating their brand.
Here’s a few ideas to that. Most are ones I’ve used before:
1. Hire A-Players.
A-Players are talented, motivated and engaged. They will only work where their talents and strengths are on display, fully engaged in fulfilling a meaningful purpose for them and those around them. They also will create this environment for themselves and those around them. And if they can’t, they will leave.
A-Players are too busy creating their world to worry about employee privacy; in fact, privacy concerns are antithetical. Why? They want to be recognized. It's a powerful motivator. And they expect to be rewarded.
If you have issues with disputes over employee privacy, look here first. Ask yourself:
- Have you hired A-Players?
- Have you created an environment where they can succeed?
Ask them, too.
2. Create Opportunity for Your A-Players.
Bob Corlett of Staffing Advisors recently enlightened me for what is meaningful for today's new recruits: New recruits are looking for the opportunity to make a difference.
You hired the best. Now:
- listen to them
- trust them
- give them the necessary tools and resources. Make it possible for them to display their talents and strengths, do what they’re good at (what you hired them for) and do what they love, working with those who share a similar commitment.
3. Reward with Recognition
Money’s not at the top of the list of meaningful rewards. Recognition is at the top. In fact, recognition holds the top 10-11 spots for meaningful rewards for all of us.
Marcus Buckingham* interviewed hundreds of thousands of employees. His goal was to find what makes a great manager. One of his finding was you can tell a great manager by the environment that manager creates for their A-Players. (Great managers hire and create A-Players, only A-Players.) From this research, he offered 12 questions that identify a workplace as great or not-so-great.
1.Do I know what is expected of me at work?
2.Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best everyday?
4.In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
5. Does my supervisor or someone at work seem to care about me as a person?
6.Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?
8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?
9.Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
10. Do I have a best friend at work?
11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
12.This last year, have I had the opportunity at work to learn and grow?
A great workplace was one where the employees answered yes to all 12.
Would your employees answer yes to these questions? How many?
Also, notice three things:1. Clear expectations are number one.
2. The remaining 11 deal with personal recognition by peers and management.
3. There is no mention of...money.
4. Stir and repeat.
This is a recipe; it’s not a policy manual. A little bit more of this, a little bit less of that and, presto!, you have your great workplace. It's the dish you and your employees can savor, together. You may be inspired to invite your customers to join you, too. In fact, they'll insist.
Employee privacy is not the issue. Meetings about employee privacy concerns are the canary in the coal-mine that your brand is almost out of oxygen.
Look at the companies recognized for employee engagement and customer evangelism. You'll see this process personalized for their brand and its purpose. You may find a few mentions of employee privacy. Few. It's almost an affront to the employee's sense of personal integrity.
Look at the companies slowly dying, losing market-share, reacting not leading. You'll find a very clear and extensive employee manual with a large section on employee privacy.
Which one is your company?