I find it funny when Human Resources talk about different methods of enhancing employee performance, but seldom focus on the way the employees are being treated in the organisation. It is the day to day interactions that increase employee performance and not some new initiative, which is an industry fad. Each employee interaction creates a energy, which then goes around and becomes organization’s energy. As an outsider steps into the organization, he can feel the charge that the organisation carries. The charge might be triggered by the noise of the air conditioner, laughter in a group, the receptionists smile or frown, color of the upholstery, anything.
Every organisation has a smell and taste, and that triggers our reactions to it. Mind you these might not be mere judgements but a deeper intuition of the energy the organisation possesses. If you as an Organizational development consultant just stay with the intuition silently, without forcing it out, you will start seeing data. This data need not be analyzed but keep collecting, like a child collects shells from the sea shore, both with curiosity and care. Each organisation will interact with you instantly, right when you step into its arena. This interaction is a overall outcome of interactions happening within the departments in the organisation and individual employee interactions. Of course each organisation will have both positive and negative interactions but if the size of interactions that are negative is more, you would be able to smell that. Such organizations are toxic dumps and suck the employees of their energy in the name of creating better profits. These organizations thrive on loose protocols and unclear systems, might becomes right and employees are treated as mere pawns.
If you believe you might be in such a organisation, remember to take really good care of yourself and not get demotivated. If you feel drained and completely sucked of your energy, take a sabbatical and go on a vision quest. In such organizations blame games are common and interactions are implicit. Trust and transparency is not present and no one has the courage to point out the real issue. Many top leaders in such an organisation are in a state of complete denial and stay focused on superficial, unnecessary routine tasks. In such a state no body pulls the carpet to see what’s causing the obnoxious smell, everyone wears uncomfortable nose clips and those who don’t are choked out of the space.
Any initiative to enhance employee performance in such a space will fall flat on its face and someone will have to take its blame. If you are in a Leadership role then you must smell your organisation, if you smell a dead rat, call for a open transparent discussion, and have an intention of cleaning up. Otherwise forget about employee performance. If you are an OD consultant in such an organisation, garner courage to talk about what you smell, if you don’t then any superficial performance initiative you do in this space will not succeed, and remember you or your organisation will be blamed. So be clear yourself and your intention before you step into any space. Trust and transparency are a corner stone to any employee’s performance, you falter there and you are in for a long drawn time consuming farce.