In July 2020, results of an investigation reveal multiple current and former employees of The Ellen Degeneres Show reporting racism, bullying, sexual harassment, and intimidation by executive producers and other senior staff.
Her show is deep in a crisis of culture.
Ellen herself was not the cause of the toxic environment – but she was insulated from the day-to-day employee experiences.
Ellen wrote a letter to staff members expressing her disappointment at the toxicity of the show’s culture. “On day one of our show, I told everyone in our first meeting that ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ would be a place of happiness – no one would ever raise their voice, and everyone would be treated with respect,” she wrote. “Obviously, something changed, and I am disappointed to learn that this has not been the case. And for that, I am sorry.”
At the core of this culture crisis is a senior leader who was disconnected from the employee experience, who did not keep her “fingers on the pulse” of whether or not employees were happy working on the show, whether they were treated respectfully in every interaction, or not.
Degeneres is not alone in this “miss.” Far too few senior leaders have an authentic understanding of the experiences employees have daily in their organizations.
To address this crisis, Ellen needs to actively engage with the show’s primary customers – employees – now and regularly. The show’s secondary customers – guests and viewers – will be well served by show employees who experience a purposeful, positive, productive work culture on set.
In today's 3-minute episode of my Culture Leadership Charge video series, I describe how formalizing the show’s work culture can help build respect, monitor respect, and ensure respect on set.
This is episode eighty-seven of my Culture Leadership Charge series. In these concise episodes, I presents the best practices for creating and maintaining a purposeful, positive, productive culture - at work, at home, and in your community.
This content was released in video format on my website, http://DrivingResultsThroughCulture.com, on August 16, 2020.
Check out my YouTube channel to view all of my 3-minute Culture Leadership Charge video episodes.