In This Issue
The balancing act
Is Your Workplace in Need of a Detox?
According to a new book by Stanford professor of organizational behavior Jeffrey Pfeffer, Dying for a Paycheck: How Modern Management Harms Employee Health and Company Performance, workplace stress can be as detrimental to long-term health as second-hand smoke exposure. Pfeffer estimates that workplace stress causes more than 120,000 deaths per year, which would make it the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States—ahead of Alzheimer’s or kidney disease.
While corporate safety initiatives focus on physical dangers, the perils of socially toxic workplaces receive comparatively little attention. In addition to the health threat, there is also the bottom-line impact. According to a Gallup survey, organizations with low employee engagement experience 18% lower productivity, 16% lower profitability, and 37% lower job growth. In the A/E industry where firms’ primary assets are their people, keeping employees positive is particularly critical.
Workplace bullies and gossips can poison office environments, while wet blankets can quickly douse the passions burning inside other workers. How can you tell if your workplace has grown toxic? Take a listen. Do you hear a buzz in the office or is there silence? Are colleagues whispering around the water cooler? A chorus of coughs and sniffles could signal workers who are fatigued and burned out. Are your absentee and turnover rates on the rise?
In addition to immediately addressing any toxic behaviors in the office and doing due diligence on new hires, understand that negativity and rumors can thrive if employees are kept in the dark. Open-book management and frequent communication can disarm the gossip-mongers. Make sure leaders model positive behavior in showing gratitude and celebrating victories. Enforce rules fairly and evenly to prevent resentment. Negative attitudes can infect a workplace, but the good news is that positive energy can be contagious, too.
the next you
Survey Reveals Millennial Plans to Redefine the C-Suite
The purpose-driven business
By 2025, millennials will represent approximately three-quarters of the US workforce, and a recent American Express survey offers more insight into how workers born between 1980 and 1996 plan to reshape the workplace. More than two-thirds (68%) of surveyed millennials said they want to be known for making a positive difference in the world. The survey reports that millennials “believe that their job is no longer the source of status and self-worth that it once was, while their work, however conceived, may prove to be a more important source of self-worth than it ever was.” That’s good news for architecture, engineering, and environmental consulting firms, which should use the positive differences their work makes in the world as a selling point in recruiting millennials.
A guide to help you better understand how AE firms are valued and – perhaps more importantly – what you can do to build value now.Read Newsletter