Traditionally, organizations have seen employee wellbeing and engagement as a distraction from productivity.
But COVID-19 has turned these attitudes on their head – instead, happy, supported employees are actually the highest performers.
The ‘Great Resignation’ is proving that employees want more than just a paycheck at the end of the month – they want to work for companies that share their values and care about them as human beings.
Manufacturing giant Barry-Wehmiller is ahead of the curve, as CPO Rhonda Spencer defines its company culture as “people and performance in harmony”.
She recently told UNLEASH in an interview that the idea is “you don’t have to sacrifice performance in order to be good to people”.
“You have to understand that performance is energized by people who care about the business, are fully engaged and have all the tools they need to do their job”.
What lessons can other organizations – in manufacturing and beyond – learn from Barry-Wehmiller’s trailblazing approach to people and performance?
Harmonizing people and performance
At Barry-Wehmiller, the core of its culture is “how you think is how you lead”, Spencer shared during a session at UNLEASH America 2022.
Building on this, Spencer noted that “we measure success by the way we touch the lives of people” – she admitted this sounds like a “nice platitude”, but it means that in “any business decision that we make, we think about our team members, their families, our customers, our supplies and our communities”.
“Can you fill the airwaves in your company with goodness, as opposed to [listening to] all the negativity and anxiety that fills the world?”, noted Spencer.
These three cultural pillars are crucial to harmonizing people and performance for Barry-Wehmiller employees. Ultimately, “you can care and you can perform”; they are not in conflict.
When “they’re recognized for those contributions, [and know] that they’re part of a winning team, they’re energized and fulfilled and that fuels performance”, stated Spencer.
During her session, Spencer then asked, but what happens “if an employee doesn’t get it” and isn’t performing?
The answer is not to assume that the employee is the problem, instead, the attitude must be that everyone comes into work wanting to do the best job they can.
But it is the organization that gets in the way. Spencer was clear: “Leaders and processes are the problem”, not the employees.
If you want more from UNLEASH America but can’t make it to Las Vegas, check out our website and our social media channels.
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