Intentionality matters. An attorney will tell you that it’s often not enough to prove something happened, you also want to prove what someone wanted to happen.
But often, the workplace doesn’t seem very intentional. This is frequently the case when it comes to hiring practices. We have an open position, we post a job ad, we do a cattle call to get candidates, and we pick someone.
Too often it seems work is mostly about filling up a hole to get the work done.
This is not how organizations should be. If there’s anything that makes a company work, it’s being intentional. To that end, a while back I wrote a ten point manifesto of sorts about what a great workplace is like. Message number one: We’re Glad You’re Here. You Were Hired on Purpose.
Let’s break that down into two parts.
First: We’re Glad You’re Here
For some reason, American workplaces don’t seem to focus much on appreciation. We’re pretty good at the big brother of showing appreciation, aka recognition. Companies are filled with trophies, plaques, awards, and ceremonies. It’s a $46 billion dollar industry, according to one source.
But there’s a difference between recognizing a team member and appreciating one. Recognition is an action, and it’s often public. When we name the employee of the month, give someone a performance bonus, or just say “you’re doing a good job” we are doing something. In that sense, recognition is a lot like compensation. It’s something you do to someone else because of what they did.
Appreciation, however, is a feeling. If you appreciated work done by the author of the last book you read, that’s an emotion you had that the writer may never know about. And if you feel like your spouse or your children appreciate what you do for your family, that isn’t necessarily triggered because they told you.
In fact, recognition can backfire. A manager could be saying “I really appreciate you” but the employee might be thinking “I don’t believe you.” But the feeling of appreciation is always true.
What does this mean? We’re glad you’re here. At AccelaWork, we genuinely appreciate everything our team members do for the organization, for our clients, and for each other. We don’t do a lot of congratulating or recognizing. But we are happy for who we have and what they do. That matters.
Also: You Were Hired on Purpose
On to part two of the first point. Everybody on our team was selected because they were right for the company. Everybody on the team selected the company because it was right for them.
This isn’t meant to express a permanent, perfect bonding. Times will change. People will move on. But at the moment that everyone was invited and continuing to this day, there remains a purpose. That purpose is an exchange of value. It’s good work for good pay. It’s freedom tempered with personal accountability. We want people for whom this makes sense. And we want them to feel empowered to move on if it becomes the case that it doesn’t.
Always remember that.
To continue the theme of intentionality, I’ll be expanding on the ten points here on The Methodology Blog in the months ahead. That’s because a company is more than just cashflow and customers. A company is more than an engine that can run on it’s own, even if the drivers and the mechanics change. A company is a group of people organized around a culture.
And if we don’t define what kind of culture we want, we’ll end up by default with something we don’t.