Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Step Up at Work and Connect

This week I have the honor of speaking to Applied Materials as part of their annual Diversity Day.  I am excited to speak to their employees about how to leverage the power of Rippling to create better internal and external connections and build better relationships.

As I was polishing up my presentation last night I started think how great it was to be presenting to a company that clearly gets why it's important to help their employees connect and engage with one another. It makes my job a whole lot easier that I don't have to sell "the why" but instead simply get to focus on "the how."

It got me thinking about how many companies don't get it.  How many organizations have yet to embrace the simple fact that connected and engaged employees lead to:

Happier work environments
More collaboration
Higher job satisfaction
Better customer satisfaction
Increased productivity
More creativity and innovation
Less turnover

And that's just for starters!

Let's face it, we spend 80% of our waking hours with the people we work with and if we don't personally take the time to get to know them or allow them to get to know us, we are missing out.  Without establishing some level of personal connection to the people we work with we default to categorizing people by job titles, work responsibilities and tainted judgements and made up mental stories we tell ourselves about who these people really are.

You've probably worked in an environment like this?  Heck maybe you still do (I think Applied is hiring....just saying!).  You know from experience how difficult it is to simply exist as either a number, job description or name on the company directory.  Without personal interaction we succumb to the mind-numbing task of punching a clock and desperately waiting for five o'clock to come back around.

Here's the deal, if you currently find yourself stagnating in your own little work environment you can and must make a change to save your own sanity!  Step up at work and start by helping your co-workers see you as someone other than Bob from accounting or Sue from marketing.  Refuse to let them simply see you as your default job title, role or responsibility.  You are you!  You are a smiling, friendly and approachable person that brings a little bit of enthusiasm and excitement each time you walk in the door.  Help them see that a you are someone they want to bump into in the hall, at the water cooler or in the lunch room.  Make them see what is possible through your own engagement and connecting efforts and watch as your efforts Ripple throughout the organization.

Time to step up at work and connect.  Or don't and stay miserable.  Your choice.

Ripple On!!!

2 comments:

Bruce Solberg said...

Steve,

Thanks for reminding us cubicle folks on the power to connect!

You mentioned - you should "be someone they want to bump into in the hall, at the water cooler or in the lunch room."

My challenge in my large company is that most team members are telecommuting and there is no strategy for connecting.

With no water cooler, no hallway, and no lunch room, how does this change the ability to reach out and connect?

Steve Harper aka Mr. Ripple said...

Bruce,

Thanks for your comment! I would love to get some feedback going on this topic with my other readers.

As for my feedback I would say that you have to make the effort to be a visible part of your co-workers lives in other ways if you don't get to see them day to day. Follow them on Twitter or Facebook. Add them to your instant message list and ping them every once in a while to see how THEIR day is going. Invite them to a co-working location to spend the morning or afternoon working with you.

The point I am making is if your company doesn't offer a formal mechanism for keeping it's team members connected (they really need me by the way but I digress) you've got to step up and do it for them. Think outside the box to find ways to keep the conversations happening, the relationships building and the work mojo mojoing. It's a challenge but I suspect if you are feeling isolated and maybe a bit disconnected you can find a few other team members who feel the same.

Do something about it and who knows the small action you take today might just create a big movement which benefits all of your co-workers tomorrow.

The fate of your entire company rests on your shoulders my friend. (smile)

Ripple On!!!