Quick Thought – Should we Expect Employees to Always be All-Stars?

Quick Thought – Should we Expect Employees to Always be All-Stars?

Over the weekend, the wife and I had BBC World News on the TV while we both were catching up with the virtual world in our living room, and they were doing an investigation into maternity and paternity leave in European countries as opposed to the US.

I’m not getting into that debate, but there was a point where they were interviewing a Dutch mother about her career, and the leave she took both pre and post-birth. What made my wife and I both stop what we were doing was her admission that she didn’t see why it was necessary to always “excel” at her career, but that just being OK was enough. She didn’t consider being outstanding at her job to be anything that was all that important in the grand scheme of things.

Linked: Work burnout rises despite company investments in mental health
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Linked: Work burnout rises despite company investments in mental health

As I’ve said before, many employers did the easy stuff. They invested in some mental health tools, promoted using employee assistance programs, talked more about mental health, heck they even gave people more time off or at least pushed people to actually use the time off they hadn’t been. And yet, here we are. Why?

Because they haven’t yet done the hard work of making the workplace not the place that hurts mental health to start with. There’s no easy fix for that. It won’t happen in a few weeks, but if you don’t start looking at it, you’re going to find yourself without many employees to keep going. Because in 2021, people have options, and those options are only going to keep growing as younger generations make very different decisions about their careers than those of us in older generations are used to.

The workplace will change one way or another. If your’s doesn’t want to, it will be killed.

Linked: 4 video meeting rules that should follow us back to the office
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Linked: 4 video meeting rules that should follow us back to the office

I agree, I have noticed that people do seem to be more aware of when someone else is trying to talk and how they might have interrupted or stepped over them. We absolutely should make time for just socializing. One of my biggest pet peeves about the argument that remote workers just don’t connect as a team and collaborate is that it is possible if you simply intentionally create the space for it. We should trust our employees enough to multitask during the parts of meetings that aren’t really relevant to them, and by all means, we should consider having fewer meetings.

An Important eDiscovery Lesson From Jon Gruden
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An Important eDiscovery Lesson From Jon Gruden

See Jon, even when the investigation has nothing to do with you, those comments you made in the email exist, and the guy you sent them to didn’t, or couldn’t, delete them. So even though they may have flown under the radar for all these years, all it took was one investigation or lawsuit to involve the other people on the email chain, and everything you said is now out there.

You would think people would stop having to relearn this lesson every few years, but alas here we are.

Linked: 1 in 3 Employees Might Quit “for the Sake of My Mental Health,” Survey Shows
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Linked: 1 in 3 Employees Might Quit “for the Sake of My Mental Health,” Survey Shows

This is a real problem, our C-Level folks think they are addressing the issues of burnout, mental health, etc. because they’ve adopted an employee assistance program and instructed their people managers to be concerned about mental health issues, but they’ve not actually given them any training in how to do that. That’s a real problem and puts those managers in a real bind. How do they support the people who report to them, when no one has taught them appropriate ways to do that?

You Are More Than Your Job
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You Are More Than Your Job

I think this is something that many of us have been realizing to some degree in the past couple of years. We are more than our work, and there are things in life that are more important than our work. I enjoyed the questions and challenges Arthur lays out as well, so you should go read the article and consider those. As I read through them I had one thought, over and over again.

How many of my friends don’t even care about what I do for a living?

I feel very lucky to have those folks. The people who’ve remained friends regardless of my current career status, The ones who might not even really understand what I do for a living. Because they ground me, and remind me that in actuality, what I do during my workday isn’t really that big of a deal. It’s all well and good to be great at my job, but the important people in my life are there because of the relationship we have, not because I’m good at legal tech, and I want them in my life because of who they are, not what their job is. 

That’s a big deal.