Impersonal Work Place

I worked for a non-profit organization two years ago that catered to employee services. The organization was member-based, often consisting of HR managers, teachers, gym coaches, marketing directors, etc–anyone who was in charge of overseeing employee programs and benefits. We often shared ideas about ways to improve employee morale, boost productivity and increase teamwork. One day we all spoke about ways in which Hr managers and directors communicate and recognize good employees. The consensus was workplace communication is heavily saturated in emails and texts. Employee recognition typically consists of a “congratulations” email that is “blasted” to every member in an organization and sometimes a company sponsored party.

Through this conversation it dawned on me that all of this was extremely impersonal. From the email blasts that addresses no one but seems to include everyone. From the employee congratulation emails that are often generic without any emotional connection. From the webinars and conference calls. All of these things have sped up processes, increased communication, and made things easier for managers and employees but none of these things have created a personal work place. A place where we can come to and count on a family. A place where employees feel as if they actually count. A place where congratulations is a pat on the back, a hand-written letter and a dinner with the boss. These things are what made the baby boomer generation stay at companies for longer than 5 years.

Sadly these things are very much lacking in the workplace. The personal family feeling that was once counted on in the workplace has now(like most everything) become impersonal leaving employees feeling isolated, lonely and under-appreciated. The economy has only increased this sentiment.

One of things that we had discussed at this particular meeting was the possibility of going back to hand-written letters and notes. Though they take longer to compose and require more thought–letters and notes are personalized, often well-thought and fuel an emotional connection between employees and supervisors. Think about the last time you received a written note from your supervisor and co-worker “thanking you” or “wishing you well”. How did it make you feel?

Question of the day: Is it time to personalize the work place with notes and letters, or is the impersonal work place–consisting of emails and texts–more efficient?