The following is a slightly edited transcription from the podcast discussion between Dr. Vic and Danielle Porak De Varna.
To listen as a podcast
The old paradigm is not working anymore.
Too many people are suffering.
Too many people medicate to get through a normal day.
Too many people live a life of quiet desperation instead of shining their light.
If we want to survive, we need a new paradigm, how we work and live our lives.
If business organizations want to survive, they need to shift their approach to human resources,
employment and leadership altogether.
Let’s talk about it.
Welcome to the energy paradigm show: We need a new form of human sustainability,
where organizations actually take care of their most important asset: You. And where you truly lead your life.
That’s where the energy paradigm comes in: A radical shift in mindset that takes us from the impersonal to the personal, from treating us like machines to treating us like human beings.
In each episode, we have a fascinating discussion about what we can do to change the paradigm of how we work, do business and lead our lives. This show has been created because we believe the world will be a better place when we start treating people like human beings,
we believe that everyone has talent and purpose and deserves a chance to shine to matter,
to make a difference. That’s the energy paradigm.
Can you envision a life you want to subscribe to? Enough dreaming! Deep down inside,
there is a game changer in you! It’s time to wake up and take action.
Hello everyone, this is Danielle, the chief energy officer of the energy paradigm.
I invite you to this episode today to talk to our CEO Dr. Vic on a very hot topic right now: employee engagement.
We will discuss the difference between employee engagement and performance management,
why current employee engagement programs fall short or completely miss the mark altogether.
How to get to the root cause of employee engagement and why organizations need to shift the paradigm of employment, leadership and human resources altogether to successfully address employee engagement issues.
And here’s Dr. Vic:
Q: Why does employee engagement matter?
You know, there are many different definitions for employee engagement around and one, the one that I keep stumbling upon, is this one: Employee engagement is the extent to which employees feel passionate about their jobs, are committed to the organization and put discretionary effort into their work.
My personal definition is a little bit easier.
My personal definition is: Employee engagement is how much employees are invested in their job.
And let me give you an example. There was this company that offered me a job and of course I was, I was pumped. I was really excited to go there. A European company with worldwide operations. I would work for the U.S. Headquarters in Washington, DC.
I think everybody feels like that when you have been selected to start a new employment. You go there, you’re full of expectation, you’re pumped. You want to show them what you got and you wanna also show them that they made a good decision to hire you.
So here’s my story: I went there the first day I got up in the morning, I had already put my suit on and off I went and so I arrived there and nothing was ready.
Q: What do you mean?
Nothing was ready: I didn’t have an office. Um the office, I think there was a table and there was no chair, there was no computer available, so I had to actually go to another office and it was like an office suite, to kind of steal a chair from another office, so I could actually sit.
So, I guess that makes quite a welcome to the company. It was a different meaning,
it was like some welcome, but now you can see where you’re, where you’re at. So the first day was pretty much sitting around there and waiting and then the second day was the same and the third day was the same.
And so from that perspective there was a study that was done by LinkedIn lately. I saw it a couple of weeks ago. It said that companies that are great to work for, who have high employee engagement and satisfaction rates, offer a great experience on your first day.
So I see that this is an important factor. But the thing is, you know, I think that’s not everything,
Of course it’s nice to welcome somebody and to have a computer ready and the desk and a chair and actually to give you something to do instead of having you sitting around and twiddling your thumbs.
But I think that’s not everything. So, this Linkedin study for example, said: what also boosts employee engagement is frequent promotions and fancy job titles. I think this is actually missing the mark. When I think back, let’s go back to my situation there. So I’m sitting there for the first week pretty much and don’t have anything to do and I’m starting to ask myself, what am I doing here? At the same time, I needed a job, I needed the money so I decided to stay. I could, I think I could have actually packed up my stuff and just left, but it was a special situation. It was my first job in the United States. English is not my first language. I thought, okay, let’s give it, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and, and let’s see what happens. But over time things didn’t improve. I was treated like a rookie.
I have a PhD, I’ve done tons of work in human resources before: human resource consulting and they kept on telling me “you don’t know yet”. ”You’re not ready yet.” “We don’t do it like this here.”
So they were actually dismissing everything that I had to share. I was really excited to come in, to share what I know and whenever I tried to share what I knew, I was cut down and I think that is a wonderful way to actually diminish the employee engagement in somebody because you take all the initiative away. I think that would diminish someone completely. And the fancy job title and the promotion or a wonderful welcome package on the first day cannot actually fix that because this has to do with something that’s inside you. This has to do with do I feel welcome here. Do I feel at home in this job? It’s a lot about feelings and emotions.
For example, when I went to this employment, I was cramping up in the morning, I got a really stiff neck and tightened muscles in my shoulders. And those are – if you want – early warning signs that something is off. So I think we need to also listen to our bodies about what’s going on with employee engagement and you know what companies are doing right now is very commendable. They offer um corporate wellness programs. They offer massages, juice bars, barbecues, workout facilities, a lot of amenities and a lot of perks such as free transportation, wifi en route, onsite shopping, grocery shopping, childcare, all those wonderful things that really make your life easier. But you know, if your heart’s not in your job, you can throw as many amenities at me as you want. That’s not going to fix my job.
Q: Are these not further enticements to exploit individuals?
Yeah. Yes and no. So I think on one side that really depends on what the company is after?
I mean in the end, in the end it’s a barter: If I’m the company, I’m giving you money, I expect you to do the job because that’s what I’m paying you for.
But there are two ways to do this: I can either pack out the whip, create an environment of fear, put pressure on you and and/or coerce you into doing stuff that maybe you don’t even like doing or against your values and that’s actually what’s happening.
So many people are pegged into their jobs that they don’t like, but they need to do it out of necessity and then resistance grows in them and like this, they cannot really be there, they cannot really be present, they cannot really perform.
And so that’s where your question is aiming.
In the end, this whole discussion about employee engagement is nothing else than performance management, because in the end, it is about performance. And organizations have been trying to measure performance forever, And performance has gotten a very bad reputation in the past decade, the past 10-20 years because it’s a process that looks back, it’s a process that’s very judgmental. It’s a process that is really not uplifting, but putting off everybody.
Supervisors and leaders and managers hate preparing for these things because they take an incredible amount of time and thought and employees fear them because they’re gonna be judged and on top of that, you’re gonna be judged for something that happened in the past,
which means: Oh yeah – a year ago, you did a bad job.
So how is this going to help you do a better job now?
So like this – and that is something that I’ve discussed on our first podcast with Marc Carr – is that you would like to see performance management that looks forward.
So it’s not, it’s it’s almost like not a feedback, but a feed forward: Here is what you can improve,
here’s what you can do better. Here’s what I would like to see you do different and let me help you do it.
And it’s not this positive garbage of constructive criticism. But you’re actually giving someone positive feedback that pushes them forward and makes them actually want to do a better job next time.
And so with this, we come to the other way how you can actually look at employee engagement, and that is what we at the energy paradigm, advocate for: That is looking at people, at each individual, figuring out what is the talent of this person, what is the potential that this person brings to the job? What motivates them? What makes them excited? What energizes them? How do they like to work? How do they like to be managed? And when you look at this and then create the job around that.
What makes this person excited and energized and wanting to come and work, then you can actually kick all the performance management to the curb because you don’t need it anymore.
I recently read an article about Apple about the development department and I thought that was actually pretty cool because it goes into that direction. They don’t hire people and tell them what to do. They hire bright people, well educated people, people with a lot of ideas and then they tell them to go and create something that they would like to have. And can you see how that changes the energy? If you tell an employee, you can create whatever you like, wow, they’ll never sleep, they will never sleep, they will create and they will go for it.
And then you need to understand that individuals who are creative, who are building something, they need a lot of leeway, you cannot manage them, you cannot say, you know, you have to show up at 8 a.m. And you need to sit at your desk until 5 p.m. This doesn’t work. You kill it, you kill all the initiative of that person. You kill all the passion of that person and you kill the most important asset that they have and that is the influx of ideas. People like this are highly creative and they need room to roam. They need to be allowed to sit outside in the park under the tree, seemingly doing nothing. But that’s where they get the ideas. They need to be allowed to work from home. Maybe they get their ideas when they are in the shower.
That happens to me a lot. I’m going to the shower, I get ideas in the shower. So I should actually spend all day in the shower. It’s great. So maybe organizations should offer shower facilities for the engineers.
But so there are a lot of different personality types around and for each personality type it is something else that makes them flow. And so this would also be then a little bit of a criticism that I have with employee engagement programs nowadays because they offer external things.
They offer perks, they offer amenities which are nice to have, but they are very expensive also for the organization and they don’t fix it if somebody’s not invested in their job, it’s not going to fix it. If your job sucks, drinking a fruit juice will not fix it. Or getting a massage, it’s not going to help.
And a lot of these perks are geared towards one personality type and other individuals will take great offense to what’s being offered.
And that would be the second criticism that I have. So the first criticism is it’s all external stuff and not what makes your heart sing what uplifts your soul, what makes you happy and in the end, that’s what they are trying to do,
And usually it’s that which costs no money. That does the real thing.
So the second criticism is, if you offer those types of perks, amenities, employee engagement programs, then please offer a whole variety of them because otherwise it’s a shotgun approach and it’s hit and miss. Some people might like it. Some people don’t. For example, you might say wonderful: We have a brown bag lunch every Friday in our community room or in our big meeting room. And you know what? There are a lot of people around who love meetings.
They love gathering with others. They love chit chat and then there are other people who absolutely hate it.
They say, you know what, I’m sick of that day, I’m not going to the office. Some people might like scheduled breaks. Other people will say, you know what: I’m not. I will not have you prescribe me when I need to take a break.
So I think what we need is to go from a collective view to an individual view.
We need to go from the external perks and amenities to what makes us internally shine and what brings out the best in everybody. So it’s a shift from the impersonal to the personal.
it is from the outside in and from the impersonal to the personal and that is one wonderful segue.
Thank you. So we are the energy paradigm and we have a set of values that we seek to establish in organizations and those values are: everybody has talent, everybody has value, everybody has a purpose and everybody deserves a chance to shine.
If you subscribe to these values, then the whole game of employment leadership and human resources needs to change because right now we are thinking there are high performers and low performers out there and I’m saying this is wrong. Everybody is a high performer: If you put them in the right situation, if you truly see them, if you see their talent, if you see their purpose, if you see what uplifts them, everybody can be an A player.
The thing is, and then of course there are differences, some people are more driven.
Other people are less driven. That is something that is very individual and you need to figure that out. And that might actually make the difference instead between people who,
who have more potential in the workplace and people who are less.
But in my over 20 years of interviewing people, I still have to come across one candidate who tells me Dr. Vic, I don’t want to do well. We all are pumped. We all want to show what we got.
We all want to do well. We all want to be seen, we want to feel like we actually do make a difference. And I think that is how you can get to the root cause of employee engagement and I think what has happened over the past 10, 20 years is that we are scraping at the surface.
I think the topic is right, but we keep on scraping on the surface and we’re trying to look externally instead of figuring out what makes us shine.
It’s very similar to functional medicine: Just treating the symptoms does not help the individual.
You must go to the root cause and solve it there. If anything is supposed to be healed.
And you know what, the root cause for employee engagement, I think that we should actually change the discussion. I think we should stop talking about employee engagement because that is a result. We need to talk about the root cause which actually enables engagement or disables engagement. And that is, in my opinion, presence. Are employees allowed to be present and by present, I mean not physically present, but in their mind present. If your heart’s not in your job,
you are not present because you’re constantly in your head thinking about argh this job sucks,
I could be somewhere else and exactly if you’re also being bullied in the workplace or if you’re always fearful, your boss is going to come in and scream at you or berate you, that’s going to set you on edge and neither will you have the attention span to completely focus on the work at hand.
if you’re jumpy all the time, if you get up in the morning, you already have stomach cramps because you know, you need to go to the office. That is an early warning sign. Actually,
It’s not even an early warning sign. That’s a warning that this is a toxic environment for you.
Your body knows before you actually can conceptualize it in your mind.
And this is why I tell applicants for jobs to listen to their body when they walk into this office building for their interview. How does it feel here? How are they treating me? Does this feel like a place where I can feel at home where I can feel good about the interview? How are they interviewing me? Is this like a CIA Type interrogation? Do they think I’m stupid or I’m lying? Or is this a real conversation? Are they trying to understand me? What are they going to do for me? Um Are there development opportunities? Are they actually telling me how I’m going to be led? So I think it takes two sides, right? I think a good selection of personnel takes initiative from the organization and the individual, the applicant. Historically, we have been looking at skills and capabilities of people until organizations found out. Well, you know what? We can have somebody extremely smart here, but that person might not work out at all. So they started looking into personality. And yeah, personality, that’s very valid. It’s good to know the personality. But I think there’s another layer to this whole spiel and that is the energy, what energies are you carrying into that job? And that is something that the organization should find out during the interview process.
And now let’s focus on the candidate: The candidate should do exactly the same thing. The candidate should assess the organization. How do I feel? How are they talking to me? Is this going to be a good environment? What does the team look like? Do I like the team members?
Is the energy good around here, those types of things? And I think if you have then a green light from both sides, a match from both sides, this will incredibly increase your chances for a successful employment. And I think everyone has the experience of finding a home and it could be beautifully decorated and you walk in there and you think, I don’t know what’s wrong, but I need to get out right now. Absolutely not. This is out of the question. And then you also have the experience of walking into a home, a potential home and you haven’t even seen the whole thing and you love it right?
When you walk in the door, you know that feeling, everyone knows that feeling that is the energy and that is something you cannot ignore when you’re in that interview. And those energies, that feeling needs to be honored.
This reminds me of one of the most stupid sentences that I’ve heard in the workplace,
“this is business and not personal.” It is stupid and who makes those kinds of comments?
Because everything is personal. If you already make a difference between business and personal, your heart is already not in it, you’re not really present, which means you are not putting all of your talent and all of the effort that you can and this is not the right home for you.
The second thing that I’ve learned is, you know, when it’s right, you know, when it’s right,
you don’t need to ask anybody, their opinion doesn’t even matter as soon as you need to ask somebody for their opinion, it’s not right?
So maybe that’s good advice also for people who are seeking employment.
I think it is about uplifting the energies, it’s about – and if you don’t like the word energies then substitute with motivation, substitute with excitement, substitute with right – it doesn’t matter how you call it. It’s just because we are the energy paradigm. And we strongly believe that the missing link in today’s organizations is the energy of the people, each individual, the energy of the teams and the energy of the entire organization.
And I think with doing that as well, this brings back civility back into the workplace and that people are treated as dignified individuals. Very much so because if you truly believe that everybody has talent, you need to honor that talent. And I think unfortunately our culture puts too much emphasis on heroes, they put too much emphasis on the leader. Not everybody can be a leader. Not everybody does want to be a leader. If I say everybody has talent, it does not need to be the grandiose big wonderful thing. Maybe you’re really good at planting flowers.
That’s a great talent. And if it fulfills you so be it lucky for you that you found something that lights you up.
So it doesn’t need to be a six or seven figure income of things. I think we have historically put too much emphasis on the wrong things.
We worship power,
we worship money,
we worship possessions,
We worship fame.
But those are all things that are not lighting us up. What lights us up is to feel seen, to feel understood, to have a purpose, to find meaning in what we are doing to belong and to feel love and to do love.
Yes, that’s it. It’s also in Chinese and if you’re familiar with Chinese medicine it’s bringing the fire back into people’s lives. People don’t love, they don’t want to be loved. They don’t know how to love. Love what you do, love your family, love your Children, love your partner. Be kind to one another. This costs no money.
And what you’re talking about is how we worship leaders. These are all crutches for the insecurity of leaders.
You don’t have to be aggressive,
you don’t have to demean others.
You don’t have to step all over them.
You don’t have to lie.
You don’t have to cheat.
There’s a moral code to being a leader.
You don’t have to be the loudest.
You don’t need to stand in the limelight.
You don’t need to promote yourself,
You don’t need to take credit because if you’re really that good, other people will promote you, not you yourself.
It takes a strong leader to hire strong people, even people that are smarter than them. That’s the smartest thing that you can do is hire people who are smarter than you because you know what they will make you look good if you let them and that’s the big thing, you need to let them.
It’s like raising Children: No, no, no, don’t do that. No, you can’t do that. You must be like this, You must do that when you’re older. When the child is ready to leave, they’re thinking:
get me the hell out of here. I don’t want to come back and visit you. You can’t control everything that someone needs to do.
If you give them freedom.
These are the boundaries.
These are the guidelines.
They will soar once they’re in that right position.
I think we have it.
Let’s get rid of fear in the workplace.
Let’s get rid of control in the workplace.
Let’s see the talent in people,
Let’s realize that everybody has a purpose.
Let’s give them the opportunity to shine and let them do because everybody is driven to do.
Let them, even if you think it is wrong, you know what, what do you know? Who are you,
Who are you? Who am I to judge? Maybe their weird way is actually going to be the next big trend. Who knows that maybe day dreaming or lying on the floor, they will come up with the next big thing. Let them do it.
I think that is how you get to the core of the whole employee engagement.
If you don’t want employee engagement to be a substitute for performance management,
and I believe in the end, everyone wants freedom and you give them that freedom, just let them be.
And with that it would behoove companies to hire the right individuals to interview candidates.
And we will talk about that on a later podcast and maybe that’s already the preview for our next one. We believe that this whole thing is not about hiring the right people, because there are not “the right people”, it’s hiring people the right way, meaning that you need to figure out what they’re good at.
You need to figure out how they’re energized and you need to figure out is this going to be a harmonious co creation instead of coercing somebody pegging somebody into a job that is taking the energy away from that person, right?
And continuing the master slave mentality.
Okay, that’s a loaded one.
Well, it’s maybe not the master slave mentality. Maybe it is the mentality between somebody powerful and the other person who’s delivered to their mercy.
And I think it’s time to level the playing field to make it egalitarian.
This is just a new way to think about business and organizations that one person or gender is not better or stronger than the other.
That we learn from each other and we all have to unify together along with our four principles to run your organization inside out, look within first and then you go out.
Second one is to activate the talent that’s in your people, put them in the right positions. Let them do, let them show what they got. Let them shine.
Number three is to make your team’s hum. Teams have a frequency and a team that’s on a roll is, it’s like a dishwasher that is nicely stacked. It works well and the dishes come out clean. It’s like a motor that is well maintained. You hear the difference and you can feel it in teams when they are humming. They are collaborative, they communicate, they innovate, they work together. They’re highly energized, They go for it. They are on a mission, they are listening and supporting one another most definitely.
And the fourth principle is to energize your organization so that your people want to come to work.
If you do those four things, your employee engagement is solved.
If you have enjoyed this discussion as much as we have and if this resonates with you, there are three ways to get in touch with us, go to our website: TEP.Global. That is t e p dot global and click on contact to schedule an appointment. Send us a text message with your name,
email and the title of this podcast to the following number 7205048074.
Send us an email to contact at TEP.Global.
We are looking forward to helping you with your employment, human resources and leadership needs. It’s time now to shift the paradigm. Are you ready?
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It’s time to change the paradigm.
You can do your share by spreading the word and by shining your light.
It’s time to change the paradigm.
You can do your share by spreading the word and by shining your light.
Have an energized day.