Transcript: Episode 81 – SHRM Credit: Encore Careers
February 10, 2020
Show Notes: Episode 82 – Helping Your Managers Lead Today
February 17, 2020

This year I celebrate 3 important anniversaries: 31 years of marriage to my better half Tim, 5 years working at Purple Ink, and 10 years since Purple Ink started. I’ve been fortunate to have long-term friendships as well as find deep connections with newer friends. I’ve also seen break ups, divorces, and the severing of ties.

So how do we create more anniversaries with those who are important to us – family, friends, employees, coworkers, and clients?

It all boils down to great relationships. How do we start, build, and sustain strong relationships that thrive and are truly JoyPowered®? It’s been studied, and it’s not that hard, but you do need to be intentional to keep the fires burning.

Earlier, I could have said that I survived 31 years of marriage, but it wouldn’t be true. Do we want to just survive in any relationship? Life is too short. Whether it’s a work relationship, a client relationship, or a personal relationship, the goal must be to grow and thrive together. Relationships don’t need to be rainbows and unicorns, but successful relationships have several things in common, and what we can learn from one successful relationship can often be applied to others. Social scientists have been able to provide us with more and more data to consider.

In the workplace, Purple Ink’s partner Emplify has analyzed the data surrounding work relationships and created a platform for measuring employee engagement. Engaged employees work hard, produce great results, and inspire others around them. They also aren’t easily persuaded to jump to another company, so they stay longer. They are truly JoyPowered®. Emplify uses quantitative data from academic experts, executive leaders, HR veterans, and employees from hundreds of organizations to identify 17 drivers of employee engagement. Their online platform allows employers to measure the level of engagement of their workers.

Emplify’s process guides their clients as they measure sentiments around issues in the workplace and then work to solve those problems. Sometimes they are big issues, like a negative culture or substandard benefits, and sometimes they are small, like needing a new microwave in the breakroom. Transparency is critical. To get employees to trust this system, companies must communicate all of the results of the survey to employees and continue to communicate how they are addressing the issues raised.

Let’s compare work relationships to a critical personal relationship: marriage. The statistic is still (shockingly) that 50% of marriages end in divorce. When you look up the 20 most common reasons for divorce, you see words that are similar to some of those drivers of engagement in the workplace. Below are a few examples:

Workplace Drivers of EngagementCommon Reasons for Divorce
FeedbackLack of Communication
Role ClarityUnrealistic Expectations
Psychological SafetyJealousy and Insecurity
AuthenticityLack of Sincerity
Shared ValuesIrreconcilable Differences
Competency/Professional DevelopmentUnprepared for Marriage

All relationships, workplace and personal, share common drivers on engagement. There are many ways that we can take relationships from survive to thrive. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Understand and embrace each other’s strengths. Take the CliftonStrengths® assessment with your key relationships and learn more about how to work together.
  • Use a 360 survey for your leadership team, either as a learning and development tool or to confront particular problems.
  • Learn about each other. Many people find the Enneagram or The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman insightful.
  • Communicate at the right time and place, and in the right way. I learned long ago that conversations with Tim after 9 pm weren’t going to be effective. Is this conversation better in a public or private place? Texting might show love and encouragement with “Good luck on your test! #rockstarstudent” or start a war with your child if it’s “Seriously? I’m tired of picking up after you #slothchild #grounded.”
  • Be empathic. If you don’t have empathy naturally, slow down and truly try to picture what the person may be feeling. If you still aren’t feeling it, just accept that it’s important, painful, or causing anxiety to them and behave in a caring way.
  • Be kind. It’s been studied, and kindness is one of the most common factors in a successful marriage. Try it with everyone: kids, clients, work associates, clerks, and with those who require a little more grace.

Do you want to celebrate more anniversaries with those key people in your life? As we consider the strength of our relationships, ask yourself, “What can I personally do to take this relationship to a deeper level of engagement, make it thrive, and truly be JoyPowered®?”

Peggy Hogan
Peggy Hogan
Peggy is the Director of Talent Services at Purple Ink LLC and co-host of HR on the Mat. She is motivated to help create positive workspaces by offering creative solutions to problems in the workplace, resulting in reduced turnover, higher employee engagement and increased productivity.

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