Why conviviality is a managerial asset Premium

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“People don’t leave jobs, they leave managers,” say Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman in their 1999 bestseller, First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently. 15 years later, nothing has changed: immediate managers are still the most influential deciding factor of staff wellbeing (or stress) and, by extension, of staff commitment and performance!

Why conviviality is a managerial asset

Employees who are happy at work are 30% more productive and three times more creative than their unhappy peers.

What do companies at the top of the Best Workplaces rankings have in common? Supportive management that builds trusting relationships, infuses the work of employees with meaning, and promotes a positive work environment — none of which are easy tasks for local managers.

Three ways to boost conviviality in your company:
1. Improve the level of trust among your teams
It is impossible to thrive in a business environment characterized by distrust between employees and superiors. Employee-friendly mangers focus their efforts on four areas:
• Communication: Managers are responsible for ensuring that company strategy is interpreted properly by staff and for referring any practical issues back to top management.
• Consistency: When managers are reliable and consistent, teams are better able to anticipate their reactions and to express their own opinions.
• Respect: Supportive managers listen to employees to gain insight into their expectations, problems, and needs.
• Fairness: Supportive managers are transparent, particularly in regards to pay and promotions, and appeal to third parties in the event of a dispute with an employee.

2. Build employee pride
Supportive managers know how to build a sense of pride among employees, which involves three key components:
• Personal pride linked to individual work: People know they that they are an indispensable part of a global mission that goes beyond daily tasks.
• Pride inspired by the team: Employee feels like they belong in the group.
• Pride inspired by the company: Quality of products/services sold, reputation, and the company’s larger positive impact as a whole.

3. Promote a friendly work environment
Work is not just a place for employees to pursue professional success; it should also be a place where they can fulfill their human needs for belonging and friendship. To promote good relations in the workplace:
• Recruit the right people: employees who share a common respect for the organizational culture
• Foster solidarity so that employees can relate to each other and provide support in difficult times
• Make the most of opportunities to celebrate and have fun together outside a purely business setting
• Help employees to flip the “off” switch outside work hours, because there should be life after work!

Business leader testimony
At PepsiCo France, employees get together every Friday for a group run, and during the rest of the week, anyone can have coffee with the CEO, who keeps his door open. Behind these easily parodied practices is a real commitment to building a positive work environment characterized by close ties between managers and employees. And the approach is bringing results: PepsiCo France has been at the top of the Best Workplaces list for the past three years in a row!

Read our dossier
Why conviviality is a managerial asset

Business Digest no. July 2012.
Based on, among others, The Great Workplace: How to Build It, How to Keep It and Why It Matters by Michael Burchell and Jennifer Robin (Pearson, May 2011) and “Flipping the switch: who is responsible for getting employees to take a break?” (Knoweldge@Wharton, February 2012).