This coming Monday September 2nd is Labour Day, a national holiday in Canada and the U.S. This day is the workers’ holiday celebrating their labour efforts.
You can thank some union workers who worked in a printing shop in Ontario in the 1800’s for this annual long weekend.
Toronto Globe newspaper office (with a globe on top) on King Street East, Toronto, Canada, early 1860s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In 1869 the union petitioned their employers, requesting a weekly reduction in working hours. Their request was refused outright by the owners of the printing shops, and by the founder of the Toronto Globe, which later became the Globe and Mail.
In 1872 the Toronto Printers Union went on strike and fought for a 9 hour work day. Previously the employers expected their workers to clock in a 12 hour work day.
After that year, almost all union demands included the 54-hour week. The Toronto printers were pioneers of the shorter workweek in North America.
Celebrating the workers’ successful striking efforts, Labour Day became an annual celebration. By 1894, it became the official national holiday that we continue to recognize today.
Here’s an ironic twist. For the first time ever, The Globe and Mail newspaper will not be publishing a Labour Day edition of their paper this year, due to lack of advertising revenue. According to a note to subscribers from the publisher and CEO of the Globe & Mail, the revenue is “needed to cover the costs of formatting, printing and delivery of the paper, and the number of vacation stops by subscribers”.
Enjoy your long weekend, and of course, this Labour Day.
I was talking with a friend of mine recently who brought up the topic of the corporate culture in her current workplace.
She said that every day she comes home from work, she just wants to “shower off her day”. For the past 2 years she has worked in an environment that does not make her happy. Why does she stay? She is a highly specialized C level employee where good jobs with her specific skill set are hard to find. She likes her job, she likes the actual day to day work that she does. But it is the work environment and culture that repels her. Unfortunately, the CEO of the company defines the culture, and therefore little can be done to change it. Most of the employees are in their early 20’s, and sadly, they are looking up to this CEO as an example of how people should treat each other in the workplace. Needless to say, my friend is on the search for a new job, but in the meantime, she feels stuck.
Great People Make A Great Company
It is known that great people make a great team and great teams can overcome huge obstacles. Companies that work hard to find the best team members to join them and work equally hard to provide a challenging and rewarding environment to motivate and bring out the best in them are setting themselves up for success. My friend feels that the company culture is being poisoned.
When a leader of a company believes that their business is about the people, it is their duty to foster that success. Building the relationships between those people builds the business. Losing incredible talent due to poor leadership will not make a company an employer of choice.
Feeling tension in your shoulders? Are you hunched over your keyboard?
Take care of yourself and give your aching body a break with these recommended office stretches to do at your desk from the team at hiredmyway.
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I can always count on Mike Desjardins from ViRTUS to give me a smile. He shares the following video with his staff if someone is having a bad day.
At this time of year, there seem to be a lot of colds and flu going around. The most important prevention of catching these viruses is frequent hand-washing. Just think how many times our hands touch different surfaces during the day at the office. Compound that by knowing that many of our coworkers also touching those same surfaces. Our workspaces are teeming with bacteria and germs. This infographic from Master Cleaners in London shows us the nitty gritty.
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Yes, we’ve heard about company perks that big employers like Google and Facebook can offer their employees. But, what can smaller companies do? With limited budgets, it can be challenging, but offering attractive low-cost perks encourages creative ideas that will keep employees engaged and happy.
Some good perks to many employees are flexible schedules, telecommuting, and extra vacation days. Depending on the environment and culture, some employees enjoy the benefits of Take Your Dog to Work Day. There is also job sharing for new parents, or a paid day off per year to volunteer for a favourite charity. These are just some of the benefits that enable employees to work well and live well.
Many years ago, I worked at a company where the Director of our branch office did a lot of corporate travel. He racked up the air miles points, enough to be rewarded a long haul flight, and every year at the staff holiday party he drew a name out of a hat. I remember one year, the winning staff member was our long time receptionist who used the air miles to go on her honeymoon to the Caribbean. Although only one person really benefited from this perk, we all felt great about it. It did wonders for morale.
A tricky thing about introducing a new perk, is the sustainability of it. When financial times are tough, sometimes it’s those little perks that go away first. It can be awfully hard to take back those pizza Fridays that everybody enjoyed for the past year. Outrage may occur, and companies don’t like being the bad guy.
That being said, it can be fun to change things up a bit. Replace one perk with another one. A great morale booster is a peer-led recognition system, whereas the staff nominates one of their fellow co-workers as a star employee for going above and beyond their regular work. The company provides the prize – anything from a paid day off or gift cards. With a values-driven culture, the company should be in tune to their employees’ interests, and the awards can be highly personalized.
While going above and beyond the standard benefits can help boost moral and create a loyal workforce, keep in mind that it is not the dollar amount that matters. Taking a philosophical approach to values and culture, and the thought you put into it will create a culture of happiness and fun in the long run.
Tina Del Buono of Practical Practice Management
shares some worthy leadership advice. Enjoy the read.
Mike Desjardins of ViRTUS shares some valuable advice. Enjoy the read.
Top performers are most often the true indicators of a company’s culture and are part of the integral root system of the company’s success. The biggest risk for a company is in failing to create an environment that supports their abilities. Developing a culture that attracts top performers is one of the most important tools for a company’s recruitment process.
- By understanding the nature of top performers, you can take their energy and inspiration and use it to grow other future top performers.
- Take top performers for lunch on a monthly basis. You’ll not only know what’s on their minds, but you will most likely come away with valuable insights into the business.
- Make your top performers mentors. Everyone can benefit from a mentor. These power employees know this value and seek out mentors for themselves. Their thoughtful communication style attracts teams around them. Stack power employees together, and you get phenomenal teams and powerful collaborators. They thrive on one another’s energy, provide high-level strategy and show boldness in trying new things. They are innovators and executors.
- Conduct team behavioural assessments. These tools help identify the dynamics within a team. Not all top performers are ‘drivers’; some are ‘influencers’, and others are combinations of both.
Questions to ask your executive management team and line managers:
- What messages from our team are we not listening to or not confronting?
- If there were two things to change in our current style of management or corporate mandates that could greatly affect employees’ motivation and job satisfaction, what would they be?
Have you ever had one of those days…
For the characters in Glengarry Glen Ross, EVERY day was one of those days.
My colleague Bradley and I saw the Arts Club Theatre Company’s production of Glengarry Glen Ross the other night. First off , this is not a theatre review. Bradley and I both love live theatre, and we loved everything about the production. The set was perfect, the performances were amazing, David Mament’s dialogue was riveting.
This is a review of the state of the characters in their workplace. Bradley and I were watching this production not only as theatregoers, but as observers of corporate culture. What a horrible working environment these gentlemen were in.
During the intermission, I jotted down a few words that came to mind while watching the first Act.
Non team players
Bradley said, “This certainly make me feel fortunate about my workplace”. Indeed.
We all have those days when the job can be challenging, even frustrating. Maybe we think it is not all its cracked up to be. However, if you have a good team and good corporate culture, they will sustain you through difficult times. The workers in Glengarry Glen Ross exude hopelessness. You can’t help but feel sorry for them.
The last line in the play was “I hate this job”.
I’m certainly glad I don’t feel the same way.
~ Jessica Rozitis