Mark Lauzon, Change Manager in the Civil Engineering division, knows that change takes time. Why he is so convinced that positive experiences and recognition lead to new ways of thinking in the long term.
Mark, why are initiatives like the “YOU MATTER!” campaign so important for a company?
A company is primarily made up of people, and people have feelings. Particularly in times of change and upheaval, many experience negative emotions: insecurity over whether their contribution is still needed, or perhaps a sense that their work is not valued. And because evolutionary biology tells us that negative emotions are much stronger than positive ones, they overshadow the overall mood. That is sad for everyone involved – and dangerous for a company. After all, critical phases in particular demand support from everyone. We all need to pull together. This message needs to be communicated clearly.
The campaign is intended to encourage people to praise their colleagues, just as they might do on social media like LinkedIn, for example. To do this, it provides a platform for people to upload short videos or images with text. What we want is not perfection, but authenticity: it’s the taking part that counts. Having started in Civil Engineering, YOU MATTER! is now being rolled out across the group.
On the one hand, it shows that one sees the colleague – both his or her performance and as a person. That someone cares whether or not he/she is there. All of us rely on each other in our work. Saying thank you shows that we value a contribution and see ourselves as a team. In general, we tend to give too little praise – not just at work, but in all aspects of our lives. To the bus driver who waits an extra minute so that I can get on. Or to the colleague in the canteen who takes such care over my cappuccino. Yet we all know that we enjoy our work much more when it is appreciated. The construction sector does not usually have a lot to do with feelings. There is a sense of, “If I don’t say anything , that counts as praise.” This attitude might be just about sufficient when the going is good, although it will never create top motivation. When changes need to be made, it is simply not good enough.
Can recognition support change processes?
Definitely! People often feel helpless in the face of change, and totally misunderstood. Let’s take the switch to a new working environment like Implenia Connect, for example. People have spent decades working with enormous construction plans, and now they suddenly have to start completely clearing their desk at the end of every day. Or they are used to being able to make phone calls completely undisturbed at their desks, and now they have to choose between the whole office listening in or moving to a peaceful spot for their call. This takes advice on what day-to-day work could look like in the new environment, and confirmation that the work of those affected is important and valued.
«It definitely did me good to break out of my familiar environment.»
Mark Lauzon, Change Manager
How have you experienced the new working environment?
I personally don’t like making phone calls in the open-plan office that are too long or too loud – both of which are very common for me. I still need to find a solution to this. On the other hand, I am starting to try out new working environments. Recently, for example, I got completely stuck working on a concept, and decided to move over to the Innovation Space at our new headquarters. What happened? After just 20 minutes, I suddenly had an idea and could continue with my work. I don’t know whether it was the environment in the Innovation Space or just the change of scenery, but it definitely did me good to break out of my familiar environment. It gave me a new perspective.