COVID-19 Pandemic is not the first time most of us Boomers have experienced a storm of an economic crisis but this one may be the worst in our lifetime. I can remember my post-college experience of being offered and accepting my first teaching position. It was like a dream come true. I was going to teach High School physical education and coach at my alma mater, working with my mentors. The world was perfect until a few months later when I found out I was being RIF’d (Reduction in Force) due to financial exigency. It was like getting punched in the gut. I had learned my first grownup lesson. Adulting has always been hard for wide-eyed, naive 20 year old’s and I would be no exception.
In late July, I was offered a job at my last choice school in the area. Ugh! That’s when I first heard “well, at least you have a job.” Punched again. I believe you are the sum of your total experiences and at this time, I had more life ahead of me than behind me. I would need to build some resilience and move forward. It worked for me. By the way, I cherish the experience I had there and am glad it turned out that way. Reframing with a positive attitude is another grownup experience. Learning and THRIVING!
In my thirty plus years of education experience, I had been RIF’d and I RIF’d others. I took no pleasure in any of these experiences. It is devastating to people and their families. For them, they feel undervalued and left to fend for themselves. It leaves a wound and a scare that really never heals. I knew there were really no words of comfort. I should know as I have endured this in my own family.
“At least you have a job!” was a common statement uttered when organizations have to lay off people during an economic downturn.
I guess if you live long enough in our world, we will have the opportunity to experience the good times and the bad in finances. Sometime, it maybe localized to only you or like now, you may be just caught in a hurricane that you can only endure. Being a person who has lived near the Gulf Coast most of my life, you realize that after a hurricane, you just pick up the pieces of your life and rebuild. Resilience!
But what about those normal times when companies and organizations are rocking along fine but dissatisfied with the fact that they aren’t reaching their goals. Maybe they have employees expressing dissatisfaction with their jobs or the company seems to be in a funk. W. Edwards Deming says it’s rarely a people problem as much as a system issue (a topic for another day). How does the organization protect its soul during a crisis? What does it do with the survivors? “At least you have a job!” was a common statement uttered when organizations have to lay off people during an economic downturn. As you can tell, this comment never set well with me. Rarely do companies think about, the fact that now, employees are being asked to do more with less. Those left behind endure scars too. They lost friends, colleagues are even worse, wonder who is next.
Most of us find our jobs still extremely rewarding and were working hard at our jobs, even though salaries had been frozen, positions had been cut without diminishing workloads or expectations, and professional growth had become stagnate. Deming sates that fear is not a great motivator either.
“I don’t need a pat on the back to stay motivated”
implied by some leaders, “why do they?”
Despite those conditions, we found motivation through being appreciated for the sacrifice we were willing to make. “I don’t need a pat on the back to stay motivated” implied by some leaders, “why do they?”, as a motivation is a bad strategy. At the very least, it runs against an effective corporate culture. Empathy, understanding and guidance will better serve you here.
Paul Vosk, HR Strategist, has observed that “the biggest contributor to de-motivation (at work) was lack recognition for extra effort or work exceptionally performed.” To put it in another way, people will do more with less, just don’t hold it over their head and show respect for who they are and the efforts they are putting forth.
It’s not the icing on the cake,
it’s the filling and that’s a big difference.
Honestly, why wait for a pandemic! Organizational culture is one of those intrinsic things that should be worked on first. It’s not the icing on the cake, it’s the filling and that’s a big difference.
Everyone wants fair pay, job security, and professional growth to stay motivated but what about recognition for accomplishments? Does your culture reflect this through your practices and principles?
“The roots of all goodness lie in the soil of appreciation.”
It could be said “the roots of all goodness (and I would argue greatness) lie in the soil of appreciation.” Can this be cultivated through adopting the principles of grace and gratitude?
You bet, if we are willing to change your organizational culture. Let’s talk!