As an employee engagement consultant, speaker, and teacher, Jason Lauritsen challenges employers to think about their employees and workplace differently. He believes that the way we’re managing our people and the workplace simply isn’t working anymore. But, he also believes that it doesn’t have to stay this way anymore. Far too many people are suffering from bad experiences at work, as employers and employees, and he aims to change the way people think about work so that they can make work better.
In this article, Jason is asked some question on employee engagement, workplace culture, and the barriers between the two being great.
But before you move on to his wonderful answer on some tough topics, take a look at one of his many videos:
Jason Lauritsen: Speaker, Consultant, Teacher
How do you help companies/businesses think differently about their employees, how they engage their employees, and their workplace culture?
First, it’s about helping leaders remember what it’s like to be an employee–to reconnect to how it feels when you have good or bad work experiences. Everyone has been through a bad job or a terrible manager and has felt the negative consequences of this on their work and life.
By reconnecting with their own experiences, the importance of support, encouragement and appreciation becomes more personal and easier to understand. Equipped with this insight, the leader is left with a choice–what kind of experience am I committed to creating for my people?
Then we look at employee engagement research data, it shows us that people experience work as a relationship, needing to feel valued, appreciated, trusted, respected, and cared for to do their best. This is an important insight given that our current model of management treats work more like a contract to be enforced than a relationship to be nurtured.
Teaching leaders and managers how to approach work as a relationship with the employee is the heart of what I do.
What are 3 of the most common barriers/struggles that you encounter when helping companies, employers, leaders, etc. work on creating a human-friendly workplace?
Fear is the most problematic barrier. Employees are afraid to speak up. Managers are afraid to be vulnerable. Leaders are afraid of being discovered or of admitting they were wrong. There’s a lot of fear in most workplaces and it’s wreaking havoc.
Managers are overburdened with tasks and competing priorities at work. It’s hard to know how to juggle all of this and often what gets cut is time with the people they manage.
The approach of treating work as a contract with the employee has been around for nearly a century and is hard to shake. So much of our modern management practice is anchored in this out-of-date approach. Things like performance appraisals, performance improvement plans, job descriptions and more are all examples that do more harm than good to the employee’s experience of work.
You’ve dedicated your life to helping leaders create more human-friendly workplaces. How does a human-friendly workplace actually function?
I think there are two simple factors. First, everyone is treated as an adult who has good intentions and an innate desire to be successful. Second, work is designed to feel like a healthy relationship for employees where they are seen, heard, valued, and encouraged to be their best.
When it comes to the employer-employee relationships, what does a healthy relationship actually look like?
The ingredients of a healthy relationship with work are the same as any relationship. The model I teach includes appreciation, acceptance, communication, support, commitment, and time. The way we demonstrate acceptance at work might be a bit different than to a personal friend, but the intention is the same. The same is true for all of these ingredients. When we are in a healthy relationship, we are happy and free to be our best selves. Imagine an entire workforce who felt that way about work.
You spent some time as the research team lead for Quantum Workplace’s Best Place to Work program. What have you learned from that experience that has stayed the same OR changed in regards to workplace relationships?
It was my work at Quantum that led me to the revelation that employees experience work as a relationship. When we looked at the data and then looked at some of the best of the best companies, what we found was that the top workplaces all had three common elements present: clarity, connection, and love.
These are things that immediately jump to mind when you think of work. Instead, they sound a lot more like what you’d expect to hear when talking about relationships. That’s where it started. And since then, I’ve been diving deeper into understanding this work relationship and to highlight how organizations can create systems to make it the kind of experience that allows people to be at their best.
Why should companies/businesses choose you to help them engage their employees and create more human-friendly workplaces, either as a speaker, or trainer/consultant?
This is my calling. I am incredibly passionate about this work because I know it’s transformative for both employees and organizations. This passion flows through everything I do.
At the same time, I recognize that nothing I do matters unless it moves others to action. So, I make my message easy to embrace and remember through the use of stories and case studies. This all leads to a set of simple recommendations for how to take my teachings and use them to make a difference.
And, if that’s not enough, I am both easy and fun to work with. I’ll make the process enjoyable and you’ll end up looking good in the end for having hired me. 🙂
Takeaways From Jason
Here are some key takeaways from Jason’s answers:
- “It’s about helping leaders remember what it’s like to be an employee…”
- “By reconnecting with their own experiences, the importance of support, encouragement and appreciation becomes more personal and easier to understand.”
- “Fear is the most problematic barrier” to a bad workplace
- “When we are in a healthy relationship, we are happy and free to be our best selves.”
- “We found was that the top workplaces all had three common elements present: clarity, connection, and love.”