By Jeri T Denniston, Chief Marketing Strategist, Denner Group International 6-12-2010
Takeaways: Helping your people achieve their personal and professional dreams helps the business, too. People are more productive and feel more connected to the company and their work when the employer helps them achieve what they want in life.
Have you ever wondered why some companies are having extraordinary success and others aren’t? Look beneath the surface. Are the employees engaged in their work? In other words, are they passionate about what they’re doing? Or do they just show up to earn a paycheck and go home? According to Matthew Kelly in his book The Dream Manager, “the great majority of people in the workplace today are actively disengaged. People don’t feel connected to their work, the organizations they work in, or the people they work with.” Building a culture of dreams in your organization can change that.
A 2007 study of 550 Human Resource managers by Monster states that “the next 20 years will witness a dramatic change in the U.S. workforce. The Baby Boomer generation, 72 million strong, will reach retirement age and have the opportunity to leave the workforce. Successive generations of workers are proportionally smaller, leaving a potential gap in the number of workers versus the number of workers needed to maintain the expansion of the U.S. economy. The ability to effectively manage worker knowledge is becoming a critical core competency in an era when knowledge is the primary resource for delivering organizational value. The chasm that exists between a firms’ most valuable asset, knowledge, and the lack of formal management of this asset represents key opportunities for organizations to gain a competitive edge.”
Worker shortages projected
How does this relate to helping people achieve their dreams? Companies need to find ways to reward and train employees to help them become the best they can be. In doing so, these workers stay longer and help the organization become the best it can be. With a shortage of available workers coming online in the next 10-20 years, it is ever more critical that companies start acting today to get the current generation trained and focused on helping the company achieve its future vision. This means aligning HR policies, training, and procedures with the company’s future vision and mission.
Bottom Line Results
When organizations help their employees achieve their dreams, they get numerous positive results that affect the bottom line. This creates a culture of dreams within the organization.
- Dramatically reduced turnover (employee turnover costs a company 150% of each person’s salary, and can be as high as 250% for sales and managerial positions)
- A reduction in unauthorized absenteeism (in 2005 the average per-employee cost was $660; today it’s likely much higher)
- Increased loyalty to the company
- A new culture of empowerment and possibility
- A motivated staff where everyone is part of the sales force talking to friends, relatives, customers and prospects
As a business owner or manager, can you really afford NOT to pay attention to your people’s dreams? The answer is no, not when companies worldwide are facing shortages of both management and skilled labor over the next 10-20 years. By 2012, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) estimates there will be 165 million jobs and only 162 million people available in the workforce; 19 percent (30 million) of those available workers will be age 55 and older.
Culture of Dreams connects hearts and minds
Why haven’t more companies done something about this? Many companies aren’t using a Systems Thinking Approach® to their strategic planning and management process. The strategies they have in place don’t connect with the future reality of the workplace and the hearts and minds of their employees. By focusing primarily on the bottom line, too many companies have forgotten that it’s the people in the organization that make it succeed or fail. They haven’t fostered a culture of dreams.
The modern employee is looking for more than just a decent paycheck. People want work that is interesting and challenging, but more than that, they want to feel appreciated and valued for the contribution they make. Younger employees also want to work for companies that are socially responsible, and one way to be socially responsible is to help your employees achieve their dreams.
So how do you as a manager or business owner implement a plan that reaches the hearts and minds of your people? According to Matthew Kelly, in his book, the Dream Manager, begin by hiring a Dream Manager to work with each person individually and help them create plans for achieving their dreams. Survey your employees to find out what drives them, what dreams they have for their own future. The answers may surprise you. Then work with each person to create a plan that helps them achieve the smallest dreams first, and then the successively larger, more challenging dreams later, after they’ve succeeded in achieving their initial dreams. The very fact that their company takes the time to help them succeed, will turn their attitudes around and get them re-engaged in helping the company succeed.