In episode 49 of “The JoyPowered™ Workspace Podcast,” JoDee and Susan discuss how great companies can make their people better with Kyle DeFur and Gretchen Schott of trueU. Topics include what makes an employer great, whether it makes sense to separate personal and professional lives, and what some leaders are doing to build great company cultures.
JoDee and Susan talk about a Harvard Business Review study about things great employers do that others don’t. The list includes involved and curious leaders, cracking HR functions, basic engagement requirements, and support for managers and teams.
Companies are often interested in skills-based training and see it as their role as an employer to make sure their employees’ functional skills are up to date. The pushback often happens in regard to personal development, because there’s a myth that you can separate personal and professional development. The truth is that what happens at home, you bring to work, and what happens at work, you bring home; ultimately, it’s about integration. People who are moving in the right direction in their personal lives bring an energy to the workplace that benefits the company. Organizational culture is the sum of the health or non-health of the people who work there.
Some may be concerned that employers engaging with employees about personal growth is crossing a line, but employees want to know that their leadership cares about them as a person. When faced with an employee who doesn’t want to take advantage of personal growth opportunities, respect their privacy, but continue to invite them into conversation about it; just because they say no right now doesn’t mean no forever.
Kyle and Gretchen share some things that leaders at their member companies are doing to build great cultures. Some organizations are creating culture boards showing things that they want their employees to watch, read, experience, attend, etc. Others ask employees to identify a word for the year – something they want to focus on or get better at, or something especially meaningful to them. They then make the words into a poster that everyone in the organization can see, and ask employees to share how their word of the year is going.
In this episode’s listener mail, Kira asks how HR can best communicate change to employees who have a hard time coping with it. JoDee and Susan discuss an increase in claims of sexual orientation discrimination and gender identity discrimination against federal contractors in 2018.