Hard to believe I’m at the age where my son is old enough to be working. This year, at the ripe old age of 14, he entered the workforce pushing carts at our local grocery store. On his application form, he was asked to write a short response about why customers are important. His answer made me proud. Even though he’s inexperienced in the work force, he could still articulate the importance of creating amazing experiences for customers so they will return to your store. He’s connected to the human element.
I suppose it helps that conversation around the dinner table often revolves around my latest school assignment or soon-to-be published book about workplace culture. We talk about the direct connection between the employee experience and customer satisfaction. I’ve immersed my sons into the world of Organizational Psychology, so they can be strong influencers in the workplace, advocating for employee experiences and respectfully disrupting the status quo. I want to equip them to thrive in whatever job they have in the future. One thing is clear, many companies need to break out of old organizational patterns and embrace new ways of working.
As a Gen X’er I have witnessed the massive disruption of the workplace over the past 20 years. From technology to globalization, these shifts have transformed organizations and they continue to exert influence into how things get done. What hasn’t changed though is that humans are the power that fuels the success of companies.
Two years ago, I made the tough decision to leave my comfortable corporate life and pursue a new direction. I enrolled in the Global Campus at Adler University in Chicago to earn a Master’s degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. I’m due to graduate this year and I have never loved an educational adventure as much as this one! It has fueled a passion that started building during my early years in the work force. As I moved from Individual Contributor to Manager to Director, a passion and talent grew within me to build thriving teams, unleash individual potential and drive organizational success.
As this new chapter of my life unfolded, I embraced my school studies and built new networks. I scanned social media, researched the topic of employee engagement and fully immersed myself in this exciting space. I vividly recall the day I discovered #WorkHuman. I wrote the words on a big orange sticky note and placed it on the centre of my office whiteboard. I saw it everyday while I built my new business, wrote my book and studied for school. It inspired me knowing there were others who shared the fundamental belief that the employee experience was the key to organizational success.
Over the past year, I have synthesized my academic efforts and workplace experience into a 200-page book called Rules of Engagement. I created a concept called the “Purposeful Workplace Experience” that provides leaders with a simplified framework to harness the amazing potential that people hold. Underlying this business perspective is a powerful personal story that connects people to the importance of being human at work. It might have been a tragic situation to become a widow with two young children, but I have transformed it into a personal mission to drive organizational and societal change.
It has taken many years to achieve this level of authenticity and confidence. I want to join the #WorkHuman movement and be a positive force of disruption to help workplaces evolve. I have found my tribe at #WorkHuman and I’m ready to share my voice with the world; not only for my sons, but for everyone out there who believes there has to be a better way to harness talent in the workplace. I know that the experience of being a #WorkHuman Fellow this year in Austin will help amplify transformational messages and bring inspiring change.