All companies in all industries – from small businesses to huge corporations – share the same goal: to hire and retain great talent. We know that our employees are essential to our success, and we want to keep them engaged and productive in the workplace.
But with new technology, challenges and priorities constantly evolving, how we work is a moving target. Those workplace best practices we’ve sworn by for years? They’re in need of a major overhaul.
Here are a few common workplace myths that we should kick to the curb.
Myth #1: Happiness equals engagement.
It’s a natural assumption: happier employees are better employees. There is research that indicates people in a good mood become more altruistic, more sociable and even more creative. Many companies have directed time and resources to increasing employee happiness, hoping to strengthen their workplaces.
But constant happiness isn’t always a good thing; it can also make people more careless, more gullible and more risk-tolerant. Employees will naturally experience a balance of positive and negative emotions; they’ll perform better when they’re allowed to recognize both and look for solutions to problems. Workplace disagreements related to specific tasks can also have positive outcomes, leading to better decisions and stronger financial results.
Myth #2: The generation gap is insurmountable.
It’s true that there is a widening generation gap in the workplace, and Baby Boomers and Millennials often have different perspectives and life experiences that they bring to the table. But this should be a blessing and not a curse. Companies reap the benefits when they create a culture of mutual respect and learning across generations, starting with dismissing age-based stereotypes. Employees of all ages are more willing to collaborate and share their strengths when they’re not dismissed as “outdated” Boomers or “entitled” Millennials.
Myth #3: Everyone wants a corner office.
Moving into the C-suite used to be the ultimate goal, but that’s not the case anymore. Successful modern workspaces don’t follow such rigid divisions; they are creative and adaptable to employees’ needs. It’s no longer just a choice between cubicles and a completely open-plan office; agile, wireless technology has opened up far more possibilities. Innovative offices are now multi-faceted, offering features such as flexible work areas, open collaborative spaces, relaxed lounges and distraction-free rooms for solo projects. This gives employees satisfying autonomy over where and how they work.
Myth #4: It’s all about the money.
Paying people more doesn’t guarantee they will be more effective on the job. Keeping employees content, motivated and productive requires a holistic approach, making sure they feel valued. In a Boston Consulting Group study, employees ranked the following higher than an attractive salary: feeling appreciated for their work, having good relationships with co-workers, and maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Myth #5: Extravagant perks are mandatory.
Lavish perks have become the hot new thing in corporate offices, from rock-climbing walls to gourmet restaurants. But these bonuses aren’t necessary to create a great workplace. Employees perform best when their needs are met, and they feel competent, autonomous and connected to other people. This is easily achievable through smart workplace planning and design.