by Arend Boersema, PHR, SHRM-CP
September 2019

“It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood” might not be the first thing you think of when you arrive at work on a Monday morning. As you browse over your daily calendar chock full of appointments, meetings, deadlines and flagged action items, the lyrics of Mr. Rogers’ theme song are probably far from your mind. You’re not alone. 66% of the workforce report being not engaged at work to some degree. In Won’t You Be My Neighbor, the recent documentary about Mr. Rogers, viewers were reminded of a time when “being nice” was sufficient. Whereas simply being nice is probably not a sufficient business strategy, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have a notable place in our workspaces.

Mr. Rogers meet Mr. Rogers

Just as the request to “leave your personal issues at the door when coming to work” is impossible to fulfill, our social interactions and societal expectations are carried with us over the threshold into our work life on a daily basis. This complexity leaves HR guessing as to what business philosophy to follow and how to advise leaders on the best way of handling employee issues. Driven by a perpetual need to add value through influence we tend to choose action over inaction. But what if inaction is the best answer to increasing the employee experience or facilitating change?

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