Maintaining a High Level of Workplace Morale is Everyone’s Responsibility

Imagine landing the job of your dreams! Everything seems to be perfect at the beginning, such as your title, pay, location, etc. You begin settling in and before the paint is dry, you can’t help but notice the air is thick. You start socializing with co-workers and it doesn’t take long for someone to bad-mouth the place. We all know those types. They would rather stay with a company and be miserable than seek employment elsewhere. Whether the criticism is justifiable or not, it plants a negative seed in your head.

Photo by Arif Riyanto on Unsplash

Employee morale is such a tender delicacy. As fragile as ever. Some companies put forth genuine effort to keep their employees happy, but there will always be those who are never satisfied. With that said, it is essential for employees to speak up so that leadership can eliminate people who continuously bring others down. In general, work is not easy and it’s not supposed to be, but no matter how much you love your job, it can literally be ruined by those who crush workplace morale.

In my opinion, unless it is a very small business, every single company in America has an employee or two (or more) that poison the workplace environment. But (there is always a but), that is no excuse for having low workplace morale. First, I think it’s important to get to the root of miserable employees. Maybe, they have a legitimate reason to feel the way they do; perhaps they don’t. And that is where management comes in!

If you read my blog post about psychological safety, you may remember mentioning the importance of employees having the confidence to speak up. Employee morale in the workplace ties into it. However, it is not reasonable to expect employees to manage company morale; it is the responsibility of everyone. The management team must be like flies on the wall. Watching, listening, and reacting when necessary. A company can lose fantastic talent if they don’t properly manage workplace morale.

So who watches the watchers? What if it’s the managers who are causing low morale? Odds are, that possibility is most likely. Nothing can shift the morale of employees more than a moody boss. Unfortunately, there may not be anyone willing to speak up in that scenario. What if it’s the owner or CEO causing the problem? Good luck with that! My point is this; maintaining high workplace morale is everyone’s responsibility. It is imperative that managers make genuine efforts to maintain workplace morale by allowing open communication and eliminating anyone not willing to contribute to the efforts. One bad apple can ruin it for the entire bunch.

I recently read that low morale directly affects productivity, which will affect the company’s bottom line. Managers, read that again! Low workplace morale can cause an unnecessary struggle for a company, even causing a company to fold under extreme circumstances. If that doesn’t grab your attention, it may be a lost cause. If it DOES make you think, then what are you going to do about it? More than likely, there are a lot of negative things going on right under your nose, no company is perfect. But the good news, it’s never too late to find out what they are and make changes. Company survivability and YOUR livelihood may depend on it.

Facts to conclude: High morale contributes to employee loyalty, increased productivity, sustainable revenue, and positive word of mouth towards consumers and recruitable talent. In addition, it promotes a healthy workplace culture that helps facilitate inclusion and psychological safety. It also decreases poor employee attendance and turnover. What more do you need to know to make workplace morale a priority?

Food for thought! Thanks for reading!

~Robert

A Pandemic Size Lesson Learned: Do Not Take Anything for Granted

Who remembers going to the theater to see the newest blockbuster movie with a group of friends? How about sitting at your favorite sports bar eating wings and drinking a cold one while watching the big game? Game? What is that? Like, people sitting in a stadium type of game? At this point, who remembers coughing and sneezing in public without fear of retribution? God forbid I have allergies, sheesh!

I am the first to admit I have taken things for granted. Although I understand why we should wear a mask in public, man ‘o man, it sucks! I can’t tell the difference between ordinary citizens and bank robbers. I’m just being honest. I will say this, though; I appreciate teachers now more than ever. Please take my kids back! With that said, I am not trying to make light of something serious, but I definitely wish this virus would go away already!

On a brighter note, I have never been a fan of strangers standing in my personal space in public lines, so that aspect is something I can live with. And since I am a germaphobe by nature, the consistent cleansing of hands and surfaces is nothing out of the ordinary. But where do we go from here? The virus isn’t suddenly going to disappear, and until we get a legitimate vaccine, we are stuck with these new living arrangements.

Photo by Bermix Studio on Unsplash

Experts say we should wear a mask because it helps slow the spread. Ok, done! And we should stay six feet apart. Fair enough! So, in theory, those recommendations should help, right? But then businesses get shut-down. If companies enforce distancing, masks, and do their part to keep things as sanitized as humanly possible, should they be forced to close? It is certainly up for debate. I’m no expert, but I feel sorry for business owners as well as the people they furlough. And since we are on the topic, I feel sorry for job seekers too (cough-cough).

Well, at least Amazon, Walmart, FedEx, USPS, and UPS are doing well. At this rate, a warehouse or delivery truck is in my near future. Living in the state of Nevada is interesting in itself. The casinos make the ‘Silver State’ go round and round; they drive the economy. Not just in mighty Las Vegas, but in Reno too, which is my current location. Not to mention, they employ thousands of people. If Nevada can’t run its casinos full steam ahead, the state will transition into economic turmoil.

It goes without saying, people should comply with expert recommendations to help slow the spread, but some people flat-out refuse. But what happens when those so-called experts are contradicting one another? The WHO and CDC, I’m looking at you! What are everyday citizens supposed to think?

When I say experts, I am certainly not implying politicians. The donkeys and elephants are too busy waiting for each other to make a mistake, so can they pounce like a lion on meat. CNN and Fox are anxiously waiting also! Then there’s Twitter, but that’s a different blog on a different day.

I’m babbling, so let me wrap this up. Because I am an ever-optimist, I genuinely believe this virus will be under control sooner rather than later. I am confident there will be a suitable vaccine ready to distribute by Christmas. Merry Christmas! It will still take some time to get the vaccine in hospitals and clinics, but it will happen. Hold me to it! A little hope goes a long way! In the meantime, try to appreciate the things you CAN still do, like spending time with family, watching a good documentary, BBQ’ing at home, listening to music, etc.

I’m curious, what are YOU and your family doing, that you were NOT doing before the pandemic, to occupy yourselves during these challenging times? Got any fresh ideas you want to share? If so, leave a comment or shoot me an email. An inquiring mind wants to know! Thanks for reading!

~Robert

A Fear of Rejection: Why My Job Search Feels Different This Time

As I write this, a unique feeling has come over me. I am wrapping up my degree program at the University of Nevada~Reno with honors, but for some odd reason, I am nervous about looking for a new job.

With a brand new degree, years of work experience, and my veteran’s status, one would think I should be able to land something good! But as I search Indeed.com, LinkedIn, and company websites, I am developing a feeling I have never felt before; a fear of being rejected.

The pandemic does not help, and I know there are a lot of worthy competitors roaming around, but that shouldn’t stop me from being selected by at least one employer I applied to, right? I am about to find out! When I first started my degree program four-years ago, I would daydream about having multiple job offers to choose from. Four years later, I am just hoping I get one decent offer.

So what changed? At the moment, there is a palpable sense of uncertainty as it relates to our economy’s future, but there is something else that is concerning me. That concern is not having the “experience” hiring managers are requiring, which leads to rejection. My concern has become a reality.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

In the last couple of days, I have searched for and found some fantastic job opportunities. I’m ready to pack up my family and relocate! I have all the skills they desire and have the education as well, but then I see it… “Must has 5+ years of experience,” “Experience is essential,” etc. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the logic behind it, but I also know I would excel in those positions if they were willing to give me a chance. But odds are, if I apply, I will be rejected.

In theory, it looks as though I have painted myself into a corner. The security industry and first responder jobs are everywhere. Still, with my new business degree, I should be able to test the waters in new industries such as entertainment, hospitality, marketing, and human resources, to name a few. But again, that ‘lack of experience’ hurts my chances. There has to be a better way for people to transition into new managers/supervisor roles in an industry they have not worked in before.

In a perfect world, more companies would loosen those experience requirements and give go-getters like me a chance. Only time will tell; maybe there is a diamond in the rough. I am not convinced it’s impossible, because we all know someone who landed a job they weren’t qualified for because of who they know, not what they know. I’m not asking for any favors; I am asking for a chance! I have noticed many jobs on Indeed, but will the jobs notice me?

With that said, I still love the security industry and would be more than happy to take a job within it. But it has to be a good fit, like a director or manager position. I am not being demanding, but I do know my worth. So, where do I go from here? I really don’t know. I guess just keep applying and then pray my phone rings.

Being a middle-aged man fresh out of college is not conventional, but it’s not a stigma either. I have to fit in somewhere, right? My biggest cheerleader, my wife, tells me all the time, “Swing for the fences, go for the big job, some company is about to get lucky nabbing you!” Hopefully, nabbing is a good thing.

In conclusion, I have my work cut out for me. And although I have yet to be rejected, I can’t help but overthink the notion that I may get more rejections than interviews. This may seem like a pity party disguised as a blog post, and I suppose it is in a sense, but I am so passionate and ‘gung-ho’ right now! I want to start contributing to a company right away, but I fear rejection. I am resilient, however, but I am also human. Rejection is a concern we all think about at one time or another, but I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would feel like this right after getting a new business degree. It’s bizarre, but it’s my reality.

My call to action is a question; Is it inappropriate to apply for a job that you qualify for in every category but experience? What is the etiquette? The last thing I want to do is frustrate hiring managers or recruiters, but I also want to ‘swing for the fences,’ so what should I do? Thanks for any feedback or advice!

~Robert

The Company Break Room: A Chance for Managers to Shine

Admit it, at one time or another you spent more time in the break room than you should have. And you probably visited it more times than you should have. Stop smirking! I would have a hard time believing anyone who claims they have never committed at least one of those infractions. But why employees do it, and how frequent, is what sets them apart. Regardless, the break room is the place where we can all exhale and socialize a little.

Sure, some breaks are like a scene from the movie ‘Fast & Furious.’ You don’t have much time, so you are in and out like the Tazmanian Devil. But more often than not, it’s the place to relax, notice, and get noticed. I don’t mean like a nightclub where you are looking for love, although that happens sometimes (respect fraternization policies when applicable). I’m talking about using that time to be inclusive, engaging, and personable. For managers, it’s the perfect opportunity to shine like a new penny.

Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

Whenever I entered the break room, I made it a habit to stop by and say hello to fellow employees (make it quick, they’re eating), smile, and wave at those who were looking at me. Those simple gestures created some genuine bonds, and if I was lucky, good friendships. Heck, many times I was given or offered a free lunch. It is the perfect time for managers to show some appreciation to their employees by simply doing the things I just mentioned. It’s easy and doesn’t take much time or effort.

Through the years, I have seen some managers enter the break room, and the air instantly got thick. And true to form, those managers grabbed their lunch and scurried off without any form of communication with anyone. On the other hand, I have seen some managers enter the break room, and employee eyes would light up like fire in the night. Their presence commanding and their aura rejuvenating. When employees are happy to see a manager enter the break room, they are doing something right! Employees are glad to see them.

I knew a couple of managers like that, and honestly, they deserve to be recognized on my blog. Like a shoutout! Yep, they inspired me THAT much! When I worked at Sycuan Casino and Resort, Vice President of Security and Entertainment, Juan Baca, was an employee favorite. It didn’t take long for me to jump on the Baca bandwagon. During my time at Viejas Casino and Resort, Tribal Government Vice Chairman Victor Woods commanded the same type of attention. He too was a smooth operator!

Although Juan and Victor technically work at rival companies, I can’t help but think what a powerful duo those two men would be if they worked under the same roof. The best part of all, I remember employees saying good things about them even when they were not around. Don’t get me wrong; they were not pushovers or passive managers; they were and still are, good leaders that earned their employee’s respect through inclusion and engagement. They were personable, caring, genuine, and everyone knew it.

Managers, this blog is short and sweet. Use the employee break room to your advantage. It is an excellent opportunity to shine! Even if you are under stress, try not to let the employees notice or sense it. Instead, smile, wave, or say a quick hello. Maybe even buy someone lunch. Your simple gesture could go a long way, and it might also lighten your mood a little. Not only will you make someone’s day, but chances are they will mention it to other employees. It matters! It implements and facilitates everything I have been saying in my previous blogs (go read them, please).

My call to action is this: Make a valiant effort to shine every time you enter the employee break room. If there is no break room, then wherever your employees gather to eat lunch. Even on a bad day, appear to be in control, and when possible, look your best! Yes, I know, some industries get you dirty and sweaty. But when you are a manager, the employees are watching, often sizing you up from your head to your shoes. You are a manager who deserves respect, but respect is earned, not given. Consider the adage, “There’s a difference between respecting a person’s position and respecting the person.” Be the type of leader that commands both!

Thanks for reading!

~Robert

Company Success Created by Psychological Safety: A Must Read for Managers

Before I dive in, I have to get something off my chest. By no means am I an expert on the workplace topics I write about. In fact, I do not claim to be an expert at anything. I like to keep it real! But I am evolving right before your very eyes! My willingness to learn continuously makes me dangerous. Dangerous in a good way. To me, that is more valuable than my degree. Please, just hear me out.

I recently had a family member ask me why I spend my limited spare time blogging, not knowing if anyone will even read my entries. My answer was simple. If only one person reads my blog, then it was worth my time. I would rather have one person read my blog and learn something from it than have 50,000 people skim through it and not learn a thing. As it relates to managers, sometimes they are so consumed with one facet of their job; they forget to pause and look around. The result, they become one-dimensional and lack growth. I am here to help, or at least try!

Photo by Bethany Legg on Unsplash

My posts are based on a mix of personal experiences, literature I have read, and discussions with professional managers in multiple industries. A blog like mine is for those types of managers who don’t have egos and who are go-getters. So, if you think you are a perfect manager or are completely satisfied by doing the bare minimum to collect a paycheck, my blog is probably not for you. I want my audience to be current or aspiring managers who genuinely care about the success of others, not just their own.

My mission is to give managers something to think about. My point is this; I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for MANAGERS to create a happy workplace culture. That does not mean form a committee or task human resources to do it. It means having more direct managers actually doing it themselves. When they do, it facilitates, yep… you guessed it, diversity, inclusion, and engagement (past post topics).

Ok, enough, back to the topic at hand; psychological safety (PS) in the workplace. In general terms, it means providing an environment that allows employees to be themselves and to feel safe speaking up without fear and intimidation, negative repercussions, or damaging consequences. Riddle me this; how would it feel if you had to pretend to be somebody you are not, every day at work? And you do this because you don’t feel safe expressing yourself. Odds are it would be exhausting, frustrating, and probably make you miserable.

Now, that does not mean pretending to be wealthy when you are actually broke. Playing games like that, which I do not recommend, is usually by choice. What it does mean, is having to hide things such as a disability, sexual orientation, religion, etc. Or maybe people do not feel inclined to speak up because of their title, pay grade, or position. In essence, anytime a person does not feel free to talk about anything reasonable, they lack PS. I say reasonable because having PS at work does not mean a free-for-all to discuss anything. Knowing your limitations is basic common sense.

A lack of PS in the workplace forces people to manage interpersonal risk, which keeps them from speaking up. When that happens, the company loses out on potentially valuable information. Should the janitor approach the CEO with a concern or an idea? Absolutely! That hierarchal chain of command thing that many companies follow is becoming outdated. It is critical that all employees, regardless of who they are, feel comfortable enough to speak up when something is important to them.

Imagine if you will, your company is wasting money every year on worthless office equipment. That receptionist people rarely talk to has ideas that could save thousands of dollars. People don’t chat with her much because her position is not important to them. She doesn’t speak up because she doesn’t feel valued. What if that quiet man on the assembly line of your manufacturing plant, knew a safer way to process dangerous materials. He is quiet because he does not speak perfect English and is intimidated by management. He didn’t speak up, someone got seriously hurt, and now you face an injury lawsuit!

Human nature suggests we should blame those employees for not speaking up. Well, they did not speak up because they did not have PS, and THAT falls on the managers! There has been a lot of research on PS in the workplace, and it has proven that PS is essential for a company’s long-term success. An excellent quote from a book I read said, “Leaders who welcome only good news create a fear that blocks them from hearing the truth” (The Fearless Organization, ch. 3, p. 71). You may think my examples are exaggerated, but I assure you they are not. A lack of PS in the workplace has even led to the loss of life. Don’t believe me? Research it.

In conclusion, think about it this way. By creating PS in the workplace, you are tapping into every single brain in the organization. The more brainpower, the better! Give everyone the same platform to speak up. Don’t just have a ‘suggestion box.’ Some people may not write well or don’t have the time. Allow them to visit you via an open door policy. It could generate new ideas to save or make more money. It could bring awareness to something dangerous that is often overlooked. Collaboration can move mountains. And best of all, it promotes inclusion, mutual respect, and camaraderie!

My call to action to managers is this: Remind your employees that you value their opinion. Tell them to speak up about anything important to them, and teach them to be good listeners as well. Tell them they can approach or schedule a meeting with you anytime. Please give them the confidence they need to speak up! Do your part to create PS, and the company will reap the benefits. It is called psychological safety, and it facilitates healthy interpersonal communication. A must-have if you want to maximize your company’s full potential!

It’s that simple! Thanks for reading!

~Robert

Creating a Happy Work Environment Through Engagement

When I say engagement, I am not referring to that big step prior to marriage. Now that I have disclosed that, I probably just lost a reader or two. Jokes aside, I have been reading some good books lately on topics that relate to workplace environments. I couldn’t help but notice a common trend among the books that grabbed my attention. That trend had to do with employee engagement.

I have been beating my drum about diversity and inclusion in the workplace, but much of it all comes down to engagement. I have noticed that successful companies have an engagement strategy that starts at the top and works its way down, which means from the executives down to the entry-level employees. Research suggests that business leaders who engage their employees in a more personal manner, gain trust and loyalty.

What do I mean by a personal manner? It means joining them in the break room for coffee, stopping by their desks for non-work related chit-chat, or inviting them to your office to ask how they are doing, etc. Simple gestures that are genuine have a long-lasting positive effect on employee morale. Yet many business leaders in impactful positions fail to do it. Unfortunately, many workplace environments get tense when the boss comes around, and some employees will even scatter to avoid him or her.

Let’s be honest; there is nothing more annoying in a workplace environment than an intimidating boss. Think about some of your past bosses. Did you laugh at their horrible jokes? Did your stress level increase when he or she was around? Did you panic if they called you into their office? Do you see where I’m going with this?

A big reason many people leave a job they generally like is because they cannot stand their boss. Been there, done that! Some bosses have unreasonable expectations, some are rude, and some rarely show appreciation (some are all three). Regardless, employees are less loyal to a company or may even slack on their work just to spite their boss. It is counterproductive, but it is very ubiquitous.

On the flip side, most employees will climb mountains and run through walls (not literally) for a boss that frequents the frontlines simply to show appreciation. Bear in mind; there is a difference between a boss who trots around acting like the mayor of a small town and a boss who spends quality time with his team. Employees know the difference and are not easily fooled. Shaking a few hands during a brief cameo appearance just isn’t enough.

I know, I know, some bosses are just too busy to mingle, right? Some days, yes! Every day, NO! Like I mentioned in past posts, happy employees will take good care of the customers, which leads to a more profitable bottom line. Leaders who take the time to engage their employees positively help create a happy workplace culture that can impact the entire organization.

Photo by Wylly Suhendra on Unsplash

If you are a business leader and just happened to read this, I hope you got the point of all of this. Get up, get out, and go spend some time with your employees. Make it a habit, so your employees know that you are authentic. It is imperative that they feel appreciated, wanted, and needed. I know some companies are much larger than others, but when at all possible, get to know them, or some of them, on a first-name basis.

Show them you are a human being, not a number-crunching, fist-pounding robot who only cares about profits. Be the type of leader that makes people want to go the extra mile for you. And be the type of leader who reminds people that they are the most important part of the company. Talk is cheap, leap into action!

Leaders, my call to action: Be it 20 minutes here or 30 minutes there, whatever time you can spare! I challenge you to spend some quality time with your employees a couple of times per week, every week, for the remainder of the year. If you can’t do that, it may be time to analyze your priorities. But if you can pull it off, or at least come close, your actions will become paramount in the grand scheme of things. Good luck; your employees are waiting…

I look forward to becoming a business leader so that I can practice what I preach! Thanks for reading!

~Robert

A Missed Opportunity: A Lack of Inclusion in My U.S. Army Basic Combat Training

Before I kick things off, I want to make it clear that this blog entry is not about bashing the Army. I loved my time in the Army and serving changed the trajectory of my life for the better. Since my blog, at the moment, is mainly about inclusion and diversity in the workplace, I felt it necessary to mention the experience I had where inclusion did not exist, Army Basic Combat Training (BCT). For those wondering, BCT is another way of saying, “Boot Camp.” And yes, the military is a workplace. You work with and around other people and get a paycheck.

During my BCT, I endured several weeks of being screamed at, having things explode around me, feeling homesick, etc. all while being pushed to the limit mentally and physically every single day! It was an experience I will never forget. It was the military; it was what I signed up for. Training America’s defense force SHOULD be difficult; I wouldn’t want it any other way. As it relates to my blog, however, it got me thinking! My wheels started spinning! Inclusion was not a ‘thing’ in BCT. Diversity, on the other hand, was alive and well! Every military company I was ever attached to was a big melting pot. It was fantastic! However, inclusion played hide-and-go-seek.

Photo by Bob Smith on Unsplash

Sure, we were put in team-building scenarios and worked hard together, but that’s because we had no choice, it was a requirement. However, during downtime many guys kept to themselves and hardly communicated with anyone. Were they homesick? Maybe. Were they scared? Probably. Were they depressed? Possibly. But more often than not, nobody asked them. It was not required. In fact, I recall one guy being sent home due to suicidal tendencies. To this day, I feel bad about that. Maybe if I, or anyone else, had made him feel more included, he would have made it through the training.

Some current and former service members may not agree with this post; they may think their initial training had a lot of inclusion. That’s ok, they’re not wrong, but neither am I. Everyone’s perspective varies based on individual experiences. What I do know is classroom time in BCT did not touch on inclusion. Yes, we spent hours in the classroom too. We learned about the history of the Army, relations with other countries, and how our weapons functioned, to name a few topics. But in all honesty, I do not recall any lectures on the significance of making everyone feel included. In hindsight, that would’ve been an excellent environment to do so, but it didn’t happen.

Keep in mind, I was in BCT in 2001, so maybe things have changed since then. If they have, then I stand corrected, but it won’t change what I experienced. To further strengthen my theory, I reached out to two former Soldiers who were in my exact BCT class. Thanks to Facebook, we were able to reconnect. They agreed with me 100%. As one guy said, “Forcing inclusion would be considered soft in an Alpha-male/female environment.” Sad but true. The other guy said, “BCT was every man for himself, only the strong survived.” again, sad but true.

It is safe to say that my blog will not change how the United States Armed Forces conduct initial training. I am NOT that important, and I can live with that. Regardless, with over one million people currently serving, it would be nice to know that inclusion is, or was, a part of their classroom training. After all, most of them will be entering the same workforce you are in after their military service. An appreciation for inclusion would be a welcoming trait.

It is no secret that service members commit suicide at unfortunate rates every year. A recent study by the Military Suicide Research Consortium (MSRC), revealed that Soldiers who tried to commit suicide did so because of a desire to end intense emotional distress (link below). Could a lack of inclusion be a part of that emotional distress? I do not know, but since feelings of loneliness and homesickness are common in the military, a lack of inclusion could magnify those feelings. Therefore, it wouldn’t hurt to commence further research on this topic.

Do me a huge favor. Please go hug someone you love!

~Robert

MSRC link: https://msrc.fsu.edu/news/study-reveals-top-reason-behind-soldiers-suicides

Knowing the Difference Between Inclusion and Diversity

I thought long and hard about this. I made an attempt at defining the words inclusion and diversity without searching Google. Although I was on the right track, I have to admit; I wasn’t perfect. The definition of inclusion, not verbatim, is the feeling of being included. For the sake of my blog, I will refer to inclusion as a sense of belonging within an organization.

Sadly, some work environments emulate life in high school. Rumors, gossip, and even bullying weasel their way into a company’s culture. As it relates to inclusion, an unfortunate scenario often overlooked is people being left out because others think they don’t fit in. Sounds like high school, right? It happens, and more often than you may realize.

One thing I am very proud of was my ability to relate to many different types of people. Let me give you an example. I worked at two casinos in the San Diego area, Sycuan and Viejas, respectively. I loved working for both organizations! Without a doubt, the casino industry is one of the most diverse work environments you will ever experience. Every race, every age group, every level of education, and the list goes on.

I flourished in that environment! The group of friends I made looked like a bowl of M&M’s and Skittles (use your imagination). I loved it! I made it a priority to shake hands, high-five, and make small talk with anyone who would listen. From the young and vibrant members of the Tribal Government to the 75-year old porter working part-time for extra money, nobody could hide from my enthusiasm.

So what’s my point? I’m glad you asked! My point is that I made a solid effort contributing positive energy at work by doing one simple thing, including everyone. In fact, I was the ringleader at planning backyard BBQs, tailgate parties, and nights on the town. I invited anyone and everyone! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting raging parties that last till six in the morning. Still, I am suggesting building continuity in the workplace to benefit the employees and the company. It is a winning recipe!

Companies need more people willing to promote inclusion, especially the leaders! From company owners and CEOs to Four-Star Generals, I have rubbed elbows with some prominent leaders over the years, and it was the personable ones that I admired the most. How they treated people ‘underneath’ them is what I paid close attention to. Those are the leaders I will follow.

So, what about diversity in the workplace? Remember my bowl of M&M’s and Skittles? Diversity is variety! In my opinion, companies must recruit and hire people from all walks of life. Some companies are very good at it, and some are not. This is why leaders of today must look beyond their computer monitors and spreadsheets. They must play an active role in facilitating a diverse team within their organization. Now more than ever, people are taking notice!

This blog is just one man’s opinion, but I can promise you this. Companies that create inclusive and diverse work environments are a step ahead of the competition, increasing their chances of survivability. When a company aligns the two, genuinely, then their customers benefit. If you take care of your employees, ALL OF THEM, they will take care of your customers. When that happens, your bottom line improves! Just one man’s opinion.

Thanks for reading,

~Robert

Why Am I Here? What Are My Intentions?

First and foremost, I want to thank you for taking some time out of your day to visit and hopefully read my blog. There are so many other things you could be doing right now, yet here you are! So pull up a chair and grab a cup of coffee. Again, thank you for your time!

So, in fairness, you might be asking why am I here? Well, I am here because recent courses in my degree program tapped into a passion I never knew existed. My new passion is about workplace culture and how it affects so many different avenues within an organization. Before creating this blog, I consistently pondered whether or not I knew enough about the topic to throw out my opinion publicly. Will someone who has much more experience and education on the subject read my blog, then strategically chew me up and spit me out?

Nowadays, one little post or comment on any social media platform could get you ridiculed into submission both publicly and privately. Then it dawned on me. I do not care! My blog and the content within it will be built on my perceptions based on my personal experiences. And trust me, I have a lot!

When I think about my past work history, the first thing that comes to mind is how much fun I had! Don’t get me wrong; I never waisted company time, but I did enjoy the social aspect of it all. My past co-workers would tell you I was playful, silly, and easy-going. However, when it was time to hunker down and get serious, I did. Regardless, my workplace personality allowed me to build incredible bonds with people. In fact, my closest friends to this day are compiled from a group of former co-workers from every company I have ever worked for.

When it came to building relationships, your title did not matter. Neither did your race, religion, national origin, age, gender, political affiliation, and so on. I loved everyone, and 99% of them loved me back! That 1% was out of my control; some people take life way too seriously. With that said, I believe the workplace cultures I was apart of allowed me to be myself, which in turn, made me happy to go to work. I was festive and enjoyed lightening the mood around me. It never affected the quality of work I was responsible for, in fact, it improved it.

The intent of this message, and my blog in general, is to discuss my thoughts and feelings about creating a workplace culture that promotes inclusion and values diversity. You might be wondering about my work history, and if you haven’t eye-balled my LinkedIn profile, you’re probably curious about what companies allowed my silliness. In a nutshell, my work history is dominated by the casino and retail industries, along with an interesting stint in the military. More on that later. I have been around and I have seen a lot, and I can assure you, I will bring value to the topics of culture, inclusion, and diversity in the workplace.

My mission is to catch the attention of top leaders in any industry in hopes of giving them something to think about. There is nothing wrong with having a ‘silly’ workplace environment! From my experience, it actually boosts employee morale, leading to better customer (client, guest) service. It doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist to know that treating customers better generally leads to a better bottom line, but it all starts and stops with happy employees.

Yes, I know this topic is nothing new, but from my perspective, and what others around me are saying, it is often overlooked. And that is where my passion comes in! I hope to bring a fresh (silly) new perspective to the topic. Then maybe, somebody in a position of power will discover my blog and make changes to benefit their employees. Perhaps they will rally-up their managers to discuss ways to improve inclusion. Perhaps they will instruct their HR department to recruit a more diverse pool of talent. If my blog helps just ONE company, regardless of size, then my time spent on this topic was well worth it.

Thank you for reading my blog, but before I let you go, I have a challenge and a request for you! My challenge: I ask that you brainstorm ideas on improving workplace culture through inclusion and diversity. Think outside the box! My request is that you follow my blog, then come back and help me by contributing your thoughtful input.

Your time, attention, and consideration are much appreciated!

~Robert