INSIGHTS

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Established as a firm favourite in our household last year (& possibly one of the only shows the multi generations will watch together these days…) Traitors is back this month to help plug the hole where were it not for Dry January or the precedence of a month of excess, we’d be out on the town.

For those who haven’t got involved with the Dutch originated show, it’s reality TV at its best. The plot is pretty simple: 22 contestants gather together in a Scottish Castle to play a game that’s classic murder mystery meets strategic play with the goal of walking off with a truck load of money at the end of the day. On arrival they’re split into different roles with the majority being ‘Faithfuls’ and a few who are assigned as ‘Traitors’. The Traitors know each other’s identity, but the Faithfuls do not. And it’s their job to expel the Traitors before the game is up. The Traitors’ opposing mission of course, is to eliminate the Faithfuls at regular intervals throughout the game, either by targeted ‘kill’ or by engineering one of them to be voted off by their peers at the regular ‘Round table’ meetings, the latter being much more brutal than any of the ‘murders’ seen to date…..

The success of the programme stems from a number of sources: the way the programme flips the tradition of goodies vs baddies on its head ( who else has found themselves rooting for the Traitors as the comedy ‘dress up’ and meet-cutes held in the bell tower??); the breathtaking scenery of the highlands; not to mention Claudia Winkelman’s cracking wardrobe (think rustic-glam-core).

We need all of this in our life in January.

It’s also in part however due to the inherent interest we have in watching psychology of people play out in front of us. Much like the dynamics in any business environment I’ve seen, how people adapt their own behaviour on an instinctive level to changing situations which threaten their own goals can be fascinating to see on screen. For the majority of people in any workplace, they all want a thriving work environment filled with collegiate atmosphere and team spirit. But for some… not so much. And whilst we’ve yet to see a variety of ‘Traitors-meets-The-Office’ committed to film, you only need to have experienced the underhand tactics of a tactical bcc and ‘whoops I’m sorry I forgot you on the invite’ to see how much corrosive damage can be done when someone doesn’t want to play by the rules and start to target someone who’s just going about their business….

In the show, much of the potential success hinges on the role and influence of the ‘Faithfuls’ who are  the majority, the ones who keep the game going and whose diligent observation and teamwork gradually (they hope…) reveals those working against them before their time is up. And in the office, much of your own potential success hinges on the work and commitment of your very own ‘Faithfuls’: the ones who are the backbone of your business, who show up when you need them, who aren’t just present but actively engaged and who don’t always bolt for the door mid-presentation if the clock turns past 5.30.

So far this year I’ve heard from friends, clients and family alike that there’s a bit of caution in the forecasting of this year. Nothing like the utter gloom that overshadowed the beginning of 2023 thank god, but certainly it’s one where confidence is not overblown. And so in a year forecasted to be full of turbulence the role of the ‘Faithfuls’ around you cannot be overstated ,as they offer the discretionary effort that can be a game-changer for you.

Discretionary effort is the extra mile that employees willingly go, not because they have to, but because they want to. They put in the kind of effort that fuels innovation, drives performance, and boosts customer satisfaction. Anf in times of turbulence, this discretionary effort becomes even more valuable as it’s the difference between a team that merely survives and one that thrives.

Engaged employees, much like the ‘Faithfuls’ in “Traitors,” are deeply invested in the outcome of the game: in this case, the success of your business.

As a business leader, creating a culture where this kind of commitment flourishes should therefore be top of the list for your people priorities this year and can be encouraged by understanding the motivations of your team, providing them with the resources they need to succeed, and recognising their efforts. It’s about creating an environment where every person feels valued, heard, and empowered to contribute.

It’s 50/50 still whether Harry will take the lot in this particular series (remember how close the a traitors got to winning the loot last time before they self destructed?), but as you complete your planning for 2024 and take a deep breathe for what comes next, the lessons you can take from “Traitors” are there. Your ‘Faithfuls’, your engaged employees, are not just a part of your team; they could very well be the key to navigating through the turbulence and pressing forward.  Just as the game in the Scottish Castle can be won by strategy, observation, and teamwork, so too is the game of business.

Interested in finding new ways to encourage the Faithfuls in your own business?  Contact us via hello@thehrhub.co.uk or call on 020 3951 1208