Employee engagement: Would you work for a liar?

Employee engagement: Would you work for a liar?

I’d have trouble doing so.

If I know I am being lied to, I can never trust anything the other person says.

And I just wouldn’t feel safe.

I bet you wouldn’t either.

Keep that in mind while you ponder this:

“Nearly one-quarter of organizations give bonuses to employees who fail to meet expectations — and close to two in 10 give employees the same bonus regardless of individual performance.”
Towers Watson 2013 – 2014 Talent Management and Rewards Study — North America

Now, what do you think organizations are doing when they say they are rewarding exceptional performances with bonuses, when in fact they are rewarding people who don’t deserve it?

They’re lying.

No wonder 41% of organizations have problems retaining critical-skill employees, and the percentages have been trending upward the last four years.

Nearly 25% of organizations believe that smart people will stick around despite being lied to.

Because that’s what companies are doing when they reward incompetence with bonuses.
They’re lying.

Saying that the organization values excellence, people and integrity, while at the same time rewarding incompetence with bonuses, will have a profound effect on the culture of your workplace.

At best, it will create a culture of mediocrity.

At worst it will create massive dis-engagement because your people know everything they are being told about the organization’s values is false.

Leaders need to understand the importance of honesty.

According to LeadershipChallenge founders Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, honesty is the most important trait we look for in a leader.

So what’s a leader to do?

Start building trust and a reputation for honesty.

You can gain ground quickly by doing these 4 things:

  1. Revisiting your organization’s values statements
  2. Being honest with yourself first
    1. Are these really your values?
    2. Do you know what your personal and most critical values are?
  3. Communicate your values.
    1. Not on placards and company propaganda, but in everything you do.
    2. In every meeting where a decision is being made, remind people what your core values are and visibly use them to make your decisions.
  4. Limit the number of values you have
    1. Leadership guru Patrick Lencioni points out that we can’t afford to have more than three. One is best.
    2. More values make it nearly impossible to make consistent decisions.

Practically speaking, this means that if one of your clearly articulated core values is exceptional performance, you won’t be one of the 25% of organizations that lies to its staff and gives them a bonus when they perform poorly.

Your staff will respect you for it

Your employees’ loyalty will actually go up, not down.

Knowing your values is a big part of being successful. Your personal values and your organizational values need to be front and centre in everything you say and do. Do you know what they are? Do you have just ONE that you could live and die by? If not, contact me to find out how to get that kind of clarity!


Photo Credits

World’s Biggest Liar.  © 2007  Alan Cleaver,  CC BY-ND 2.0

A Fool and His Money.  © 2007  David Goehring,  CC BY-ND 2.0

Promise? I promise.  © 2007  Carmela Fernando,  CC BY-ND 2.0


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