Creating career paths for employees — Career and personal development; Companies have been setting up career paths for some employees for a while. Also, some companies will pay for schooling for job-related careers. I wanted to be sure to mention it because it is important. If employees want to create financial value system gains, this is a great area to take advantage of. It is important for employees to never feel stuck in a position. If there is a manager who has pigeonholed you, leave!
As a part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Keith Reginald Thompson.
Keith Thompson is a clinical hypnotherapist who received his certification in 1981. He has studied effective thinking processes, the roles emotions play in our lives, and how our beliefs affect our physical realities. He seeks to help others solve their challenges and discover their purpose. Keith worked for the Boeing Company for twenty years. He worked as a machinist, programmer, planner, designer, design-build team leader, and lean manufacturer manager.
Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you better. Tell us about a formative experience that prompted you to change your relationship with work and how work shows up in your life.
In the late 1990s, the Boeing Company started a huge campaign called Lean Manufacturing (Just in Time). Boeing hired a company named Shingijutsu Global Consulting Group. Shingijutsu was a prominent consulting firm in Lean Manufacturing. Boeing hired this firm from Japan to come into its organizations to streamline processes and remove wasted efforts from their various organizations throughout the company.
This was a huge cultural shift for many employees because the Boeing managers were now asking Boeing employees for their expertise to eliminate wasted time and money from their processes. Sometimes this would involve a complete reconstruction of an organization from manufacturing to upper management.
This was a big shift for shop floor first-line managers and their general managers because, for some, it meant losing their positions as managers, loss of machinery, loss of floor space in their domain, and reduced employees from their processes.
Boeing’s upper managers promised no one would be laid-off due to Lean Manufacturing.
As Lean Manufacturing Managers, our task was to access the area where we would do the Shingijutsu workshops. We would evaluate the work culture, understand the product line, and address all concerns within the group. We were met with bad attitudes that we had to smooth out on many occasions.
Keep in mind that we were coming in as change agents breaking up a culture that has been in place for decades and asking the employees to share their knowledge and opinions. Say What? That was a typical response from the employees. On top of that, their jobs would change, and some of their positions would disappear.
The building of Work Cells — Moving from batch processing to single-part flow.
Batch processing is the number of parts needing to be completed before it is moved on to its subsequent operation. In the old batch processing method, if you had a work order for twenty-five parts, all twenty-five parts would have to be completed before it moved on to the next operation. It took many days to get through batch processes because all aspects had to be completed for one operation before a part could move on to the next operation. If that order of parts had fifteen different operations, it could take months before the customers would have their parts.
One more thing I want to mention about batch processing. Batch processing kept employees locked in their job classification because of union rules and regulations. If an employee was a mill machine operator, she could not do part finisher work because of the different job classifications. This would slow down the process of completing a work order if an employee took a day off for sick leave.
The Work Cell began employee empowerment in the workplace at the Boeing Company. The work cell was designed to do one part at a time flow and work that part until it was completed. The one-part would include many operations during its process and is continuous. We had to request Union changes because now an employee can do all the functions in the work cell. This would include simple drilling, machining parts, and assembly.
Employees were learning new skills and getting pay increases. This meant raises for just about everyone working in a work cell environment.
The work cell team was responsible for producing good parts and getting them out on time. The work cell created a new environment by keeping the area clean and creating healthy standards for doing their job. Measuring the environment became one of the standards. For example, how many people are working in the work cell, and what position are each of the parts in the work cell? How long has the part been in the work cell? Is there a reason why the work stopped? Empowering employees strengthens a company. We are talking about creating positive energy in the workplace through empowerment.
Harvard Business Review predicts that wellness will become the newest metric employers will use to analyze and to assess their employees’ mental, physical and financial health. How does your organization define wellness, and how does your organization measure wellness?
The wellness of the company must unite with the wellness of the workforce. From the companies’ mission statements, companies do not include employees in their mission statements for the future. It is usually business oriented to the public at large.
The following is Google’s mission statement: “Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” This is an excellent mission statement for Google. It is time to include how the managers and the employees will fit into this vision. It is through the company and employees’ value systems.
“Knowing your value systems are the organizing principle of one’s life.” — Keith Reginald Thompson.
How do the managers of a said company define their values within the company? This must be disclosed to the employees! What are the company’s mission statements in each of its value systems? For example, what are the mission statements for the emotional values of the company?
What are the mission statements for the company’s employees’ physical and mental health? Are other companies in alliance with the company’s physical and psychological health missions? For example, are there coaching opportunities to help with any employee’s challenges?
What are the mission statements for careers and personal development within the company? Most companies keep an updated listing of future opportunities. What are the criteria for being a hybrid employee? How do you keep healthy working relationships with managers and co-workers being a hybrid employee? This must be defined!
Once the company’s managers have set their mission statements, and its value systems are defined, the employees can read the company’s values. Number one: Employees will know if the company is a good fit for them. Number two: the employee can match their value systems, some or all, to the company’s values. Both company’s managers and employees will have working documents to guide them.
Each employee is asked to begin drawing the connection. Employees will make mission statement lists of their own value systems. The value systems are career and personal development, emotional and mental, family, financial, health, physical, social, and spiritual.
The employees can build their mission statements directly with the company. For example, what is the impact of my financial values working for this company? Your financial mission statement may now reflect certain goals you want to accomplish. How will this company affect my family values? How will my social life improve with this company? Employees can now build their future direction in alignment with the company mission statement. This can be the beginning of a mentally healthy relationship.
The company must set the stage for its company values. I would recommend a minimum of five of the eight value systems listed. For example, if a company has a health mission statement, health activities should be incorporated within the company. Some companies will use stretching activities or walk during company work hours. Companies over the years have set up no-smoking policies. Companies will make vast improvements in their kitchen or cafeteria. Or they may eliminate donuts on Fridays. The biggest weight gainer at the Boeing Company was the grease joint (fried foods) in the kitchens.
Health values are great topics to discuss with managers and employees who have identified health values as one of their major value systems and have written a mission statement. Different measuring tools can be used that will be rewarding and successful for the company and employees.
Another great company value system is a career and personal development. In the days I worked at Boeing, I never considered learning as a value, but that is what it is. I would utilize Boeing’s Learning Center all the time. Everything I studied was tracked. Utilizing this tool has landed me new job opportunities all the time.
What a company values are the system. Wellness is the whole system within the company. Having a company define its value will put everything on the table and give the managers and employees something to target and work with. If a company is concerned about mental health, there needs to be a mission statement on how genius mental health is incorporated into the business.
All the value systems the company uses need measures created for them. Let’s say the company uses seven major value systems: career/personal development, mental/emotional, family, financial, health, physical, and social. There would be measures put in place for each value system.
The energies of the employees will always show up in the quality and quantity of the product being delivered, the end results! What are your processes telling you? There should be measures throughout the building processes, telling the story of the business.
According to Harvard Business Review, “Many companies expanded the wellness support they provided to their employees in the wake of the pandemic. A Gartner 2020 survey of 52 HR executives found that:
- 94% of companies made significant investments in their well-being programs
- 85% increased support for mental health benefits
- 50% increased support for physical well-being
- 38% increased support for financial well-being
These programs work for those that take advantage of them.”
Based on your experience or research, how do you correlate and quantify the impact of a well workforce on your organization’s productivity and profitability?
Remember, there will be measurement systems relating back to the mission statement. You will see the company’s growth in each value system. The internal numbers on your measures will move and start telling a story. For example, the Company’s Financial Value System Measures will start painting a picture quickly of production and profit numbers. You want to ensure those measures are in place for productivity and profitability. There will be a good comparison if the company has productivity and profitability measures before introducing the value systems.
Even though most leaders have good intentions when it comes to employee wellness, programs that require funding are beholden to business cases like any other initiative. The World Health Organization estimates for every $1 invested into treatment for common mental health disorders, there is a return of $4 in improved health and productivity. That sounds like a great ROI. And, yet many employers struggle to fund wellness programs that seem to come “at the cost of the business.” What advice do you have to offer to other organizations and leaders who feel stuck between intention and impact?
I am happy we have reached this discussion. Corporate leaders are talking about helping employees live healthier and more exciting lives by improving their emotional value system and other values. This is a big shift to help our cities and communities! The value systems are connected to many other systems in the community. A strong network can be built with the right visions and companies in place.
It is important for corporate leaders to do mission statements for each value system they want in their businesses and build visions of why this value is being implemented in the corporation and for the employees. Remember that we are discussing uniting a company, employees, and communities. Ideas will surely spring forth in the financial and social value system.
Speaking of money matters, a recent Gallup study reveals employees of all generations rank well-being as one of their top three employer search criteria. How are you incorporating wellness programs into your talent recruitment and hiring processes?
I am the one who has written a workbook on value systems. The workbook is designed to discover your value systems personally, professionally, or as a group. I wrote the workbook book with corporations in mind. I have done many workshops within companies, and I would like to introduce A Journey into Value Systems into the workplace.
We’ve all heard of the four-day work week, unlimited, mental health days, and on-demand mental health services. What innovative new programs and pilots are you launching to address employee wellness? And, what are you discovering? We would benefit from an example in each of these areas.
For the value systems to work well within the company, many employees must take a special interest in their values. The company must be willing to have brainstorming sessions to support values and to create a unified force to bring new and positive energy into the environment (physical values). Keep in mind that we are talking about “wellness.” Wellness energy is a unified force and unites people together!
- Mental Wellness:
In A Journey into Value Systems, mental wellness has everything to do with the emotional attitude you carry with you. It is good to have attitude adjustment days off. Taking a day off from work to adjust one’s attitude is best if planned out.
Mental attitude adjustment to spending time with family members and bringing in a loving attitude with a family member is a great way to adjust attitudes.
Sunny days off to adjust my mental attitude (wellness) have worked many times for me. Taking a trip alone to the mountains, ocean, or a National Park has worked wonders for me. Living in the Pacific Northwest, we get a lot of rain here. Taking a day trip to the Pacific Ocean on a beautiful day pays big dividends. Remember to keep your time off so that it doesn’t create stress in your co-workers by not being there.
- Emotional Wellness:
I like to discuss mental and emotional wellness as being closely related because both are about emotions. Mental wellness may deal with the attitude one may have about the workplace, for example. Emotional wellness will always deal with the feelings one may have for all things. The workplace included!
Emotions in the workplace are big deals. Emotions will set the tone for the day. It creates discussion about the workplace. You can create friends or foes in the workplace with emotions.
I have a simple awareness exercise that is designed to bring genius into the workplace. And it is done through understanding emotions. This exercise will call out the bullies in the group, managers included. Want to send your company to a new level? Start looking at everyone in your workplace as geniuses and remove the ego’s emotions, thinking, and beliefs!
- Social Wellness:
The social value systems are vast in nature. Social wellness is a direct reflection of our society, both positive and negative. The social value systems will have to be broken down into smaller components to make this value system effective. This means that other value systems will have to be attached to define the clarity of its intent.
How does the company want to define the intent and purpose of social wellness within the company? What will be the supporting values of social wellness? Perhaps, health values will jump to the forefront. The company managers and employees may decide to bring health values into the company as a social network. Creating exercise groups and educational health tools for employees online would be a great start.
Career and personal development work well with the social value systems. The company can create a network of experts to help and assist its employees or co-workers. Doing two-minute video clips is very popular now on social media. This could be great for training purposes.
- Physical Wellness:
Most people will accept physical wellness as physical health. A Journey into Value System defines physical values a little differently. Physical values are about the environment you find yourself. Most people spend ten hours a day, five days a week, in the workplace environment. We are a product of our environment. Defining wellness becomes important in our environment because of its direct impact on our emotions.
Physical values are about how we show up to greet others. Our appearance says a lot about mental attitudes, the emotions we display, and if we have a successful attitude about life.
- Financial Wellness:
The financial value system is a big challenge for some companies because they barely meet minimum wages. Some of the frustrations in the physical environment in the workplace will be from the financial value systems.
Companies can play a big role in developing an education program to help employees become financially smart. Especially if they are young adults. Teach them how to improve their FICA scores, how to buy a home for their family, and give them a method to develop a positive attitude about making money. Bring financial education inside the workplace.
Can you please tell us more about a couple of specific ways workplaces would benefit from investing in your ideas above to improve employee wellness?
Companies that are interested in their employees’ well-being now have resources supporting wellness. Create an online presence in each of the value systems for the employees. There are scores of doctors, educators, and coaches on social media sharing their knowledge. One of the best things any employee can do for themselves is to take charge of their life by understanding what they value.
How are you reskilling leaders in your organization to support a “Work Well” culture?
I have workshops developed for online and group gatherings to bring the value system method into the workplace.
Ideas take time to implement. What is one small step every individual, team, or organization can take to get started on these ideas — to get well?
Our program has eight major value systems: career/personal development, emotional/mental, family, financial, health, physical, social, and spiritual.
This is a discovery exercise: Pick one value system, a favorite one. Write down all the reasons why this value system is so important to you. Once done with the first one, pick another favorite and write down the reasons why that value system is so important. Do all your favorite value systems.
To complete this exercise, pick your least favorite value system. Write down all the reasons why this value system is the least important to you. What are your challenges with this value system?
Take your time with this process. It is a method to start your wellness program.
What are your “Top 5 Trends to Track In the Future of Workplace Wellness?” (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Wages — Financial Values: There are major companies here in the Pacific Northwest, like Microsoft, Boeing, Amazon, Starbucks, and Avanade. Because of their skillset, these companies set the trend for living costs here in Seattle. A small 350-square-foot apartment in the Seattle area will start at about $1440 a month furnished. If you want to buy a house, you might find a two-bedroom home for $600,000.00. If you are starting and want to live a working-for-a-company lifestyle, it would be good to find a company that has adopted the value system and let the company help you set goals to build FICA scores and increase income goals for you.
- Genius Mental Attitude (GMA) — Emotional Values: Genius mental attitudes in the workplace are something I haven’t heard talked about yet, but it’s coming! It is a mindset to remove stress from the workplace. In part, what this means is people working together without emotional baggage. It also means the workforce will have to learn what genius emotions are and what emotions are governed by ego-mind thinking. Ego-mind thinking is the cause of many of the stresses in the workplace.
- Helping the community and families — Social Values; In this area, companies and their employees can have big wins in their communities. Social values are areas they can really help their communities. One of the things I like that Lowes does, they will go out into the community and help repair homes. Lowes pay for the materials, and the employees volunteer their time. This fits perfectly with the company: fixing and building homes.
- Having a healthy place to eat — Health Values; Health values are another area in the company that can make big wins by wanting to create a physical health environment. Removing vending machines with all the sugary snacks and chips with high sodium is a great protection for the employees. Most people are at their workplace eight to ten hours a day! Google has taken charge of having healthy employees working for its company. https://www.businessinsider.com/photos-of-googles-free-food-2016-8
- Creating career paths for employees — Career and personal development; Companies have been setting up career paths for some employees for a while. Also, some companies will pay for schooling for job-related careers. I wanted to be sure to mention it because it is important. If employees want to create financial value system gains, this is a great area to take advantage of. It is important for employees to never feel stuck in a position. If there is a manager who has pigeonholed you, leave!
What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of workplace wellness?
I believe every one of us has greatness within us. It becomes a matter of if we choose to bring it to the forefront and help each other. The fact that we are even having this discussion shows changes in our thinking. Maybe we have the pandemic to thank for this.
Our readers often like to continue the conversation with our featured interviewees. How can they best connect with you and stay current on what you’re discovering?
To purchase my book A Journey into Value Systems — Cracking the Genius Code and, at Amazon.