Replacing them by we: why firms need to get engaged with their workers

Around me, my friends and family were reading bonkbusters, thrillers, real life war dramas – and the latest Shades of Grey offering.

And – in among the sunworshipping, the eating, the drinking, and the hot-tubbing – I managed a couple of crime novels myself.

But the two books that made the greatest impression on me on my Majorcan holiday were very much in the world of non-fiction reality.

Drive by Daniel Pink and Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek both have fascinating things to say about the world of work.

Drive questions the carrot and stick approach of 20th century business thinking, highlighting the overwhelming importance of the job satisfaction gained from autonomy, purpose and self-motivation.

Sinek’s book draws heavily on the workings of the US Marines to show how much can be achieved in terms of productivity, stability and creativity when team spirit is prioritised above everything else.

There was music to my ears on every page.

If we are to recruit and retain the very best people for the journalism industry of today and tomorrow, we need to ensure that they are given the freedom and trust to get the most out of their jobs.

And we need to make building team spirit, mutual support and common purpose a real priority.

I have written before about the crucial importance of the word we in business.

One telling test of how companies are doing in engaging their workforces was devised by onetime US Labour Secretary Robert Reich.

Daniel Pink is fond of quoting Reich’s pronoun test.

When we think of the media firms or organisations that employ us, do we use the word ‘we’ or ‘them’?

Our priority must be to ensure that more of our people refer to their employer in the first person.


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