Got to be me

Got to be me

Work should celebrate our true selves and allow us to be them. There’s simple proven ways to make this happen. We commit to letting this happen.

The concept of ‘bringing our full selves to work’ has gained popularity in the last few years in the face of significant evidence that many people report going to work to ‘shut off’. Annoyingly the idea of ‘bringing our full selves to work’ sounds so jargony and has almost macrobiotic diet levels of tweeness to it that it would be understandable if people feel compelled to ignore it.


Gallup report that in the UK only 1 in 10 people feel engaged at work. Twice as many are actively disengaged. If automation and the arrival of the robots really is a big issue over the next two decades, creative work is going to be vital. That’s where being ourselves at work comes in. No one would expect us to be forthcoming with our best ideas if we’re masking who we truly are.


Looking into the science of this it’s clear that allowing people to be themselves is vital – but incredibly easy to do it.


Dan Cable from London Business School has helped shed some light on the benefits of allowing

us to be our real selves at work. In his work he found the benefits were clear:

  • people stayed in their jobs longer
  • their customers were happier

In Dan’s remarkable book ‘Alive at Work‘ he explains how he helped a company called Wipro discovered the power of letting people be their real selves at work.

They asked all new starters at their new hire induction process to answer the following question in their groups:

“What is unique about you that leads to your happiest times and best performance at work? Reflect on a specific time – perhaps on a job, perhaps at home – when you were acting the way you were ‘born to act’”

That’s it. 39 words. 15 minutes to reflect on the best version of you. After six months the results were clear. The customers who had spent 15 minutes thinking about their best selves were outperforming those who had gone through the standard new hire process.

Their customers were showing higher satisfaction ratings. 72% vs the normal 61%. Their employee retention was also significantly higher (i.e whether they were still at Wipro) was 57% improved.

When most companies scramble to find a way to increase results by 3, 4 or 5%, Wipro improved their customer happiness by almost a fifth by changing 15 minutes of the new hire process.

To understand how Wipro took this even further Dan’s book ‘Alive at Work’ tells the next step of the process.



Resource groups – one of the most effectively proven ways to make people feel valued at work is to allow them to organise into “Employee Resource Groups”. Groups where people can spend time with others of the same ethnicity, sexuality or character traits.


Make time for people’s personalities:

In the book on their culture ‘The Method Method’ the founders of the cleaning product company explain how they keep a slot in their regular team meeting that aims to ‘keep Method weird’. 

“We believe people don’t perform at their highest levels unless they are having fun doing it. Ever notice when athletes are interviewed at the end of winning games, they typically mention how much fun they had? The same is true in business. If you can’t be yourself at work, you’re not going to do good work. This is especially important for us because we’re trying to bring fun to an activity in which you rarely see it: cleaning.” The Method Method.

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