Erik Ayers has spent over 20 years helping all types of services firms’ market their capabilities, expertise, and other good stuff that makes them special. He has held roles in research, marketing, sales, and recruiting. Not long ago, over a glass of wine and some good music, Erik realized that stories at work are an untapped resource that can help with all kinds of things related to employees and marketing. He is now the CEO and cofounder of GoodSeeker, Inc., a software start-up on a mission to help people and organizations find more good stories at work.
Why do we need a work revolution?
We need a little unity at a time when divisions outside of work seem so great. Work is one of the few places where diverse people can come together in pursuit of a common purpose. But this requires organizations to take seriously the need to find a genuine purpose that goes beyond making money. We need to applaud, promote and reward companies who welcome their unique role in bringing together all kinds of people to achieve collective and individual success.
The cost associated with employees not feeling good about work is staggering. A recent study by EY found that less than half of global respondents had a “great deal of trust” in their current employers, bosses or colleagues. This is unhealthy. We don’t wake up yearning for distrust. The Gallup Organization estimates that a disengaged workforce costs the U.S. $450 billion per year. We now have research and hard facts that make it clear that disengaged employees really do hurt the bottom line. Data proves we need a change.
Technology is not an excuse. We now have the ability to tap into the right minds at the right time, regardless of location. When organizations embrace the opportunity to leverage talent from people who do not want a traditional 9-5 job they will open themselves up to a world of new ideas and solutions. It’s time to break the mold of what a traditional job looks like.
How are you or your organization reinventing work in some way?
Organizations are realizing that people don’t always believe what you say on your website. Employees can play a big role in telling your brand story – if they are connected to it.
At GoodSeeker our purpose is to help more people experience the feeling of knowing that their work matters, and to inspire them as proud promoters of their employers. We believe that companies who commit to helping employees see the positive impact of their efforts will be rewarded by advocates who are eager to tell the world what makes their workplace special.
Our first product is an application that makes it easy to generate, curate and promote positive stories by and about employees and the impact they make on culture, mission, values, etc. Organizations can use GoodSeeker stories for marketing, employment branding and to help employees build their personal brand at the same time.
What’s one tangible and concrete technique other organizations should use if they want to create a more human and/or meaningful place to work?
Lower the “perceived” bar related to leadership’s definition of what’s worthy of appreciation. I had one person ask me, “When you get promoted to an executive are you expected to spend less time caring about the wellbeing of your team?” Ouch! The reality is that your senior most people probably have the most work to do in order to be viewed as compassionate leaders. We find that people often think their boss’s bar for what is worthy of recognition or appreciation is a lot higher than it really is. Fact is, even the boss feels good and surprised when someone calls out the small things they do to make a difference. Over 90% of people we survey say that people noticing the small things matters. And they wish it happened more. If your most senior people take the time to publicly recognize the smallest examples of people making a difference the tone inside your organization will change for the better.
Provide a quote (either yours or someone else’s) that represents why you do what you do. Also tell us: why did you choose it?
“You are what you see in others, and what others see in you.” I believe that the only way to get better at something, and to become known for something, is by applauding it when you see it in others. The person who takes the time to appreciate fine art, even though they are not an artist, can certainly build their brand as someone who makes an impact in the world of art. Help others see the best in themselves, and they will do the same for you.
What is “required reading” or “required viewing” for people who want to understand what makes you tick personally/professionally/creatively?
- The Endless Summer (movie): This one hits home having grown up on the beach. To me it reflects having fun and freedom to explore. Things that our work revolution needs to embrace. Taking chances. Being ok when it doesn’t work out. And never losing our desire to learn.
- Give and Take (book): By Adam Grant. In many respects GoodSeeker is a story giving platform. There are some really great points in this book that hit home.
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (movie): The closest thing to a chick flick in my top 5 movies. Wikipedia calls it a romantic science-fiction comedy-drama. The one cult classic I actually remember. Cast is great. Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo.
How do you stay productive throughout your day?
Music. I am writing this listening to Red Flame by The Moth and the Flame. Other things on my playlist for today – The Hunna, Smallpools, Wildlife, Cheerleader, Band of Horses, ansd July Talk.
What advice would you give someone entering the workforce on how and why they should build their brand?
Keep a journal – The employment landscape competitive. You need to be able to convey the positive impact you make on the places where you work and those around you. I strongly encourage young professionals to keep track of impact moments by writing quick stories.
Where in the world are you?
Mclean, VA, USA