May 16, 2022

Keynote: Turn your workplace into a WOWplace

By: Tarsilla Moura
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Editor's Note

The OR Business Management Conference opened on Monday, May 16, with a riveting presentation on how to lead teams to success by turning the workplace into a WOWplace—an innovative concept that calls on leaders to find that something that will create a work environment that employees will not want to quit.

Sandy Geroux, MS, an international speaker, trainer, and author, began her keynote by examining these three indicators of world-class employee engagement:

  • believe in the business strategy and leadership direction
  • believe that core values are a vital part of the culture
  • understand what is expected and be empowered to do it.

“There are three types of leaders,” Geroux said. They are: 1) titled; 2) authentic; and 3) personal. Of the three, the titled form of leadership, where leaders rely on their titles when issuing directives, “is not always the best way to get things done.”

The personal style of leadership is the most compelling way to rally a team behind a sense of purpose, she said, because a personable leader is often successful in inspiring a shared vision. And the best way to drive teams to work cohesively toward shared goals is by having organization-wide, as well as departmental, mission statements.

“So many people are disconnected from their organization’s mission that they forget how their jobs contribute to the mission,” Geroux emphasized. “If you ask an employee during their workday, ‘what are you doing,’ what are the odds that they will refer to the task at hand, instead of giving an answer that drives at an organizational goal?”

According to Geroux, one of the most recognizable places in the world—the Disney amusement parks—leave lasting impressions on most adult goers for a surprising reason: cleanliness. “That is the number one satisfaction item Disney park attendees left in post-trip surveys,” Geroux revealed. “It wasn’t the multimillion dollar rides, or the long-standing staple that is Space Mountain, but how clean the parks are.”

Geroux challenged leaders with this question: “What is your ‘trash on the ground’ item, one thing that is keeping people from being wow’ed by the big investments and expenditures at your organization?” It is not always about the big gestures; small wins, or everyday “tiny wow” moments, go a long way toward employee satisfaction.

The most important thing is consistency, Geroux said. Leaders need to consistently show they care about their employees as people through “tiny wows.” That is how a workplace—where employees say they have to go to get their paychecks—becomes a WOWplace—where people love to go because they are thankful for their jobs and their teams.

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