The generation entering the workforce has strong opinions about social media access in the workplace, and companies need to accommodate that attitude. Managers seem to have this concern that access to social media is going to fatally sap worker productivity, causing the collapse of the organization. Balderdash. Social media use is just the newest in a long line of diversions employees have used when bored at work, and companies need to stop treating the symptom and focus on the cure: Engagement.
Here is the research that sparks our comments, in which the college students surveyed reported that:
Over half of them globally (56%) would either turn down or ignore a job offer from a company that banned access to social media.
Two-thirds of them will ask about social media usage policies during job interviews.
So, if you’re going to be tough guys about social media access (and internet access in general) you might just cut yourself off from a large cohort of potentially productive employees over the next few years.
A corollary that must be kept in mind: Time-wasting at work is as ancient as capitalism. Think about how previous generations used the currently available “communicating devices” to keep in touch with their social circles:
The Greatest Generation crowded around the water cooler, wasting vitally productive hours gossiping unless closely policed by curmudgeony supervisors (who had their own water-coolers, and so on up the line.)
Or it was the two-martini lunch chewing up productivity?
And we have always had the phone: Most Baby Boomers had access to one at work from day one on the job, and used it liberally to keep in touch.
Then came e-mail, and Baby Boomers and Gen-X certainly used that at work to keep in touch with their social crowd. Does mass e-mailing of jokes to your distribution list ring a bell with anyone?
Finally, the same dynamic is now seen with Facebook and other social media outlets. You cannot keep people from communicating. It is literally in our DNA.
The point is, you do not win the productivity battle by banning current social connection practices. People will find ways to divert themselves unless they are fully engaged in their work. The better approach is to co-opt the practice by engaging employees and inspiring them to concentrate their prodigious energy on work tasks. You create an atmosphere in which the employee simply has no time for socializing because they are creating value for which they know they will be valued!
Click on the link to the left to open this presentation.
Bovo-Tighe continues to expand its international presence. Here is a visual summary of work we did this year in Moscow for one of our energy industry clients. The project centered on developing more effective leadership skills and mindsets, and so far has had a very positive impact on the productivity of the participants. Ask us for more details about what has happened and what the future holds for the participants!
I came across an article recently in Susan Heathfield’s About.com column, and really responded to it. Susan writes a regularly about poor management practices, but in this article she started right in with a great quote from a manager friend of hers:
“The biggest mistake I’ve seen managers make – and I’ve seen it quite a few times – is to assume that you know what’s going on.” He also added his favorite quote from Peter Drucker. “Most of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to get their work done.”
You rarely go wrong quoting Drucker, and the list that Susan compiled really backed up his assertion. We decided to build on her list with some editorializing of our own to create a new list of “the signs of a bad manager”:
The Time-Filler: Requires written reports and updates that gather dust on shelves, asks for written proposals before giving the go ahead on projects, and holds endless meetings so the boss remains “in the loop on everything”
The Slacker: A person who assumes a management role and then, does little, while delegating all work to other employees. This is sloth gussied up as engagement.
The Sloppy Mechanic: Gives the Squeaky Wheel all the grease, where problems of complainers are solved first and/or the complainers receive more resources and attention from the boss than the rest of the team.
The Blatherer: Droning on in meetings, or in conversations about nothing productive, with employees too polite (or worried) to cut off the conversation. Self-important monologues in meetings. Gossiping about fellow employees inappropriately…this list is endless!
The Poker Player: Neglects to communicate important information to employees, whether through neglect or by design to keep secrets. They might be a bad poker player, too: Many bosses simply don’t understand what information their subordinates need to do their jobs, and fail to deliver through ignorance. Sounds crazy, but true more often than not.
The Ruler: Considers work a personal fief; Asks employees to do their personal work, or promotes personal ventures on company time.
The Vacillator: Exhibits a lack of decisiveness or tries to please everyone This is a manager who cannot stick to a plan of action, changes his or her mind based on “the most recent conversation,” moves the group in new directions based on new feedback at the drop of a hat, and never seems sure of the appropriate direction. Change is good, but not by the hour!
Bosses who exhibit these and similar behaviors are barely managing, and certainly not leading. But remember that it is not always their fault: Our experience tells us most of the time the company promoted these people and left them to their own devices to figure out how to lead effectively.
Address leadership training aggressively, consistently and measurably, and bad bosses seem somehow to disappear, replaced by managers who lead effectively. And you haven’t hired anyone, or fired anyone! Talk about a positive hit to the bottom line!
If you want to add anything to this list, be our guest!!! Just put your ideas in the comments section.