What makes a job a great place to work? A sense of equity and ownership, says Michael Bush, the CEO of the conveniently named Great Place to Work. They’re a global consulting and analytics firm that produces the annual Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list, the 100 Best Workplaces for Women list, the Best Workplaces for Diversity list, and dozens of other distinguished workplace rankings around the world. Michael’s new book is A Great Place to Work for All: Better for Business, Better for People, Better for the World, and he’s brought to you today by Amway. Amway believes that diversity and inclusion are essential to the growth and prosperity of today’s companies. When woven into every aspect of the talent life cycle, companies committed to diversity and inclusion are the best equipped to innovate, improve brand image and drive performance.
Michael Bush: We choose not to talk a lot about diversity and inclusion. We’re not running from the topic.
We actually feel like we’re addressing it head on using analytics and revenue and profit to drive the conversation versus some moral imperative. And what that means is that it’s not about fairness and equality alone, it’s about equity, which is about people getting – if you treat someone as a person they need a little more of something than perhaps someone else.
And actually if you treat everyone the same you are not going to get the best out of everyone.
So equality can be used, in fact, to exclude people and to make the environment a place that certain groups of people don’t want to be in because you’re treating everyone the same. That’s just not the way humans work.
You know, I have two kids. One of them might need (when they were young) violin lessons. Another one might need dental care. Well the dental care costs a lot more than the violin lessons, but they both got something that they needed but it wasn’t necessarily ever equal. But it’s addressing people where they are.
We also find that diversity and inclusion, once you bring up those words tension goes up in the room, because what happens is when you say that what people think is race but they don’t want to talk about it because they don’t know how to talk about that.
So they awkwardly talk about diversity and inclusion and the problem that needs to be addressed gets diluted. We begin to talk about – we can’t talk about race so then we just say “people of color” and “people majority” because we can’t say “race”.
And then we talk about men and women because that’s easier than race. And then what about the disabled? “Oh well we can’t really bring that up.” And all these buttons go off that stops the conversation.
What we pursue is called a Great Place to Work For All. That’s the way we do it. So we think every employee regardless of who they are, what they are, or what they do for the organization should have a great experience at work. So that includes everyone. It does not separate anyone to say, “One group should have a really great experience and one can have a less great experience.”
It means all.
It turns into something positive, and people then get engaged and they go, “Yeah, it should be a great place to work for me too. Absolutely. For everybody here, so let’s talk about how to do that.”
And you find the whole room starts to lean forward. Rather than “the other topic”, people can’t wait to get out of the room. And talking about the other topic for, you know, I heard that conversation for about 40 years. It hasn’t gotten us very far at all.
What we should want is for everybody to be like it is at the top of an organization. Excited about coming to work and doing something that you really, really care about. You’re paying for it. It doesn’t cost you any more money, so you’re just getting more for what you’re paying for. Most businesspeople get that. They get it and they go okay, what’s getting in the way?
And we have the analytics to help them know what’s getting in the way.
It’s the way they’re being spoken to gets in the way. It’s if you’re listening to them or not, you know.
Are you sincerely caring about what they’re saying and using it to innovate and to make business decisions? We asked, “Does management involve you in their decision making? Do you feel informed about how management makes decisions?” The reason we ask these is so we can understand what a person is experiencing, and we know a certain type of experience that makes people say, “I love it here,” because we asked “Do you plan to work here for a long long time?” and people will say yes.
And you can predict it based on whether people are listening to them, whether people are welcoming them, whether people are rewarding them, whether people are recognizing them, whether people address them personally rather than an employee in mass communications.
You can actually predict these two things, and then you see it in the result of the company in terms of the employee experience the number is very high, and we’ve proven that the revenue growth of the company, we have a hunch it’s going to be higher than others, and we look at the data and, in fact, that is true.