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Are We Breeding Organizational Super Brats?



Times have changed. The workplace has become a multi-generational ecosystem with five different generations in the job market. We are witnessing a new evolution of organizational development that is relentlessly working to get us all to the place where we are able to work and be together. Let’s also not forget about the impact of technology. With around 8.8 million STEM jobs in the US market alone, tech culture has become more mainstream.

The first words that came out of the kicking and screaming ‘tech toddler’ was ‘gimmie perks.’ Companies in all industries have felt the shockwave and are now scrambling for ping pong tables and in-office baristas.

Providing perks without fostering ownership in your company, breeds organizational super brats that will consume your business.

The Death of Brand Loyalty

Since it’s a myth that perks by themselves inspire brand loyalty, let us all join hands and sing a sad song in remembrance. Good riddance? Yes, I think so.

Allegiance, faithfulness, obedience, adherence, homage, and devotion are the attributes of loyalty. What was missed in the days of brand loyalty was that loyalty is bred through blood and fire. It doesn’t automatically consume you after you sign your employment agreement. It is found when you meet both the personal and professional needs and goals of your employees, by way of trust, protection, and action. Brand loyalty can be resurrected by building trust but why not seek to inspire people. It might not be all of our employees best interest to work for us for 20 years and retire. Let’s inspire them as people while they co-exist in our organization and leave it at that. I guarantee that attitude will take any organization farther than trying to super glue employees to the brand.

Perks – Ownership = Temper Tantrums

A few weeks ago, I attended my niece’s 6th birthday party in Brooklyn, New York and was appointed with the task to hand out napkins. I was handed two sets of napkins. One set of green napkins with white polka dots (cute right) and one set of princess napkins, complete with Belle, Ariel, Jasmine and an assortment of others. I sprung into action amid the chaos and started handing out the green polka dotted napkins. As I reached my niece I realized that she may want a princess napkin so I popped open the other pack and quickly pulled out one for her. This is one of my top 5 regrets in life. The domino effect of outrage and discontentment among the other 6-year-olds in attendance was immediate. I was hissed at, screamed at and the tears started to flow. I tried to remind them that it was because it was her birthday why I gave her the special napkin but at that point, it was too late. They weren’t there to rally behind my niece. They wanted the perks of being at a birthday party simply because they showed up, and that’s it. Sound familiar?

To give is a beautiful thing and to see organizations spend so much money on lunches, birthdays, happy hours, and events are moving. What’s missing is that we’re not tying these specific activities, every single time, to our mission, culture and core values. Our perks are missing the leadership and mindfulness perspectives. ‘Perks’ is actually the wrong word. ‘Rituals’ is far more fitting. Every perk should be seen as a ritual of gathering, creating community and remembering what we’re here for in this present time; on this day. Let’s use a lunch program as an example. The spirit of catering in lunches should be harnessing the power of breaking bread together. Where are the leaders that take 30 seconds to say thank you for your hard work, celebrate the moment of coexistence and encourage community during this time? Organizations have to actively rally their employees every day and connect their rituals to the brand.

This is how you use your perks as a tool to foster ownership.

Tephra Miriam is an avid thought leader, author of middle-grade novel 'Escape to Clown Town', graphic artist, photographer, musician, activist and entrepreneur with a passion for change. Tephra grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico and moved to Chicago, Illinois when she was 18 years old, where she currently resides. Her search for adventure took her far and wide at a young age and she continues to mentor, learn, work and speak all over the US. Tephra is a firm believer of redefining the way we think and live. She is a wellness advocate and often blogs on organizational development, challenging the status quo and creating a holistic work environment. Tephra believes that creating space in your life to play, imagine and dream is vital in problem solving, stress management and innovation. As a product of 12 years of homeschooling, Tephra started out at Harold Washington College in Chicago, Illinois before transferring to DePaul University and receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in Global Communications and a Master of Arts degree in Applied Professional Studies with a concentration in Authorship and Entrepreneurialism.

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