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The Great Badge of Nothing

Updated: Jan 23

I love how employees especially the young ones see through these nonsense badges, yet companies are so proud of them. If you go online you will find out what they think about the Great Place to Work and Investors in People places badges. 

Comments like: 

"Some of the shittiest companies I have worked for have it." 

"It's just box ticking to get a certificate for the reception wall"

"I worked for a small company that the assessor said was "world-class" in some areas. It was shit and I left." 

"The civil service made a great thing about “Investors In People” when I worked there. The only thing is... they didn’t (invest in people that is)" 

Watch the video here where I elaborate on this topic:

I leave the best comment at the bottom. At some point we also had IPP and when I asked HR what that was she went "Oh yeah, it is just a list of things we do so we get certified." She couldn't care less about it lol. 

There are zillions of problems with these awards like the methodology that doesn't capture data that is important for employees, the sample and its size (we know that people are pre-selected), employees' perception and interpretation of the workplace (always a big issue with qualitative surveys), and timing and context. It gives a snapshot but by the time the result comes out everything has changed. Same as with engagement surveys. 

Yesterday I was talking to a CEO complaining about his problems of not finding and losing talent, people who are not autonomous or trained badly etc. He then came up with the brilliant idea of paying for this badge so it would attract people. I was sitting there listening telling myself "Szilvia, be nice". 

So I just told him that it wouldn't solve his problem because his problem is not the high turnover rate or the lack of talent. Your, and every other company's problem is that the workplace is incompatible with the younger generations' needs and none of these badges will change that. If you want to fix the problem with the badge you can, you just need to hire Boomers and maybe Gen X because what the badge is asking you to do in terms of people management processes are designed for these guys. You will then solve the problem. He said, I am a Boomer.... and we laughed but he got the point. 

These badges will tell companies that they need to lead and inspire people, reward them, train them, communicate bla bla bla.... They run random assessments that look at how employees feel about their pre-identified areas that might not even be important for the employees like innovation, equity, intimacy (what Great Place to Work?), Collaboration, Pride, Respect and all the BS Boomers came up with 50 years ago. Are they important? I am not sure. In some cases yes, in others maybe not. 

But these badges just like engagement surveys never look at what the incoming generations want from the workplace. They never solve the actual problem. I told the guy, "Your problem is that your people management practices are hostile to the incoming generations." This is what HR and business leaders don't get. Yes, we need to train people but now we need to ask questions about how they learn and adjust everything else accordingly. And here I am not talking about e-learning so don't start with that BS. 

Yes, we need to lead and inspire people but how do we do that today based on the new demographics? When you ask these people questions like that they have no bloody idea. Their assessments don't measure what bothers people at work and what causes frustration. They don't help to design workplaces that are compatible with the current environment and the specific needs of the workforce but present you with a framework out of The Flintstones and employers are desperately trying to fit the new generation into it with no success. It is like dressing 20-year-olds in my parents' clothes. I am sure you would turn around on the street thinking hmmm.... why is this child dressing like that? So why don't we spot this weirdness when it comes to policies, procedures and everything we do at work? THE CLOTHES DON'T FIT! Or rather, THE EMPEROR HAS NO CLOTHES! 

They then consult you and tell you something you could have Googled. We know that consultancy bears no responsibility for the outcome. So they go around with their stupid framework preaching and advising and when things don't work they say, well, you probably didn't follow our instructions now let's run another assessment and we can advise further. It is a money-making machine that ignores the employees' needs or HR professionals who so desperately need practical help not advice. 

Companies need to learn to look at their employees' needs and fit their practices around them. They need to look at the workplace from the employee experience point of view and design customised solutions because what works for company X down the road may not work for you. After all, you are different. You will not have Steven the HOD who is toxic and all you need to do is remove him and the moment you do you realise you don't need the badge. This is also my problem with these badges they are very generic and don't address the real problems like toxic Steven. I also love the lack of willingness of companies to stand out and aim for being average by this benchmark mentality. 

The game has changed, people see through these BS badges so don't waste money on them instead do what is necessary to create an environment that speaks for itself. Your greatest advertisement is your employees, not the stupid badge on the facade of the building or the website. What's the point of that if the back of the house i.e. Employee Experience doesn't match the front of the house? People will know it before they even decide to join because all they have to do is go online or ask someone on LinkedIn who is already working for you. It is not the badge that you have to focus on but your employees' experiences and what they say about you. That carries more weight than the expensive badge with nothing behind it. 

Now here is a great feedback on how these badges work (from the net):

"I work for a company that is IIP Gold and actually got nominated for an award with them. I can safely say it is the biggest load of shit I've ever encountered. All the accreditations in our industry are tickbox exercises but none more so than the IIP. My workplace is riddled with incompetence, nepotism, farcical management, bullying, double standards etc. The whole thing is a joke and I constantly wonder how they've stumbled to get this far. The first time we went for IIP the directors went around and threatened everyone to say nice things about them or face the sack. That sort of thing happens pretty regularly so no big deal, we do what we got to do, the company get the award. The next time round, everyone who was still here from the previous time made a conscious decision to be be completely honest about how the company is run. Thinking they we're onto a winner the company put us who'd been interviewed previously up for the interviews and we all did as we said, absolutely tore into them and their ineptitude. It got to the final interview of the day which is with IIP and MD, they got the feedback, MD said if you don't give us gold again we won't pay you and you've wasted two days. Anyway they ended up getting it and got the nomination for the award." 

If you want to create employee experiences that speak for themselves let us know. We custom design it for you based on your actual problems and in line with the incoming generations' needs. We make you compatible with what's coming instead of trying to fit young people into my gran's clothes:-) 

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