Eliminating Workplace Culture Pollution and the new Pickle Challenge for Charity
July 16, 2019
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July 19, 2019
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Silly Name, Serious Problem, Big Results

Please download the Program Description for The Pickle Challenge at PicklePledge.com and send it to your CEO with a note encouraging your organization to be a part of it.

The Pickle Pledge is a simple but life-changing promise that you make to yourself, your family, and your coworkers:

I will turn every complaint into either a blessing or a constructive suggestion. By taking The Pickle Pledge I am promising myself that I will no longer waste my time and energy on blaming, complaining, and gossiping, nor will I commiserate with those who steal my energy with their blaming, complaining, and gossiping.

We call it The Pickle Pledge because chronic complainers look like they’ve been sucking on a sour pickle (at least metaphorically).

The name might be silly but the problem we are addressing is deadly serious. Consider these facts:

Experts say that healthcare is experiencing an epidemic of bullying(1), a crisis of compassion fatigue(2), and burnout levels that represent a public health crisis(3).

And it’s not just healthcare. The Gallup organization finds that fewer than one third of employees are engaged in their work, and that the cost to the U.S. economy of that disengagement is nearly one-trillion dollars every year(4).

You might think it’s not a problem where you work, but if so you should probably think again. Research from the University of Iowa College of Public Health shows that the higher one’s position on the organizational chart, the rosier the glasses they tend to wear when considering their own organization’s culture(5).

We see a big – often very big – gap between the ideal culture desired by leadership and the actual perceptions of employees every time we conduct our validated VCI-17 Culture Assessment Survey.

What we are doing now is all too often not working…

The Pickle Challenge for Charity DOES work!

The Pickle Challenge is a highly effective program to engage people at every level of the organization in being more aware of their own toxic emotional negativity (TEN) and more intolerant of it in other people. What makes it so truly unique is that it is fun and lighthearted. Rather than taking a disciplinary approach it gives people a soft-touch way to confront negative attitudes and behaviors. As an added benefit, it reduces TEN by raising money for a charity selected by the organization – often an employee assistance fund.

The results have been astonishing:

The first 42 organizations to participate in The Pickle Challenge for Charity raised over $80,000 for their chosen charities by turning more than 300,000 complaints into 25-cent contributions.

Participating hospitals have reported multi-million-dollar Cultural Productivity Benefits(6).

People who work in participating organizations have been more willing to hold themselves and each other to higher standards of behavior, and have a new language for doing so.

Participating organizations have experienced reduced turnover of people they want to keep and at least initially increased turnover of people they would rather have go to work for their competitors.

Most important, individuals who take to heart The Pickle Pledge often experience a profound personal change that enhances their relationships at work and at home.

We are so confident that The Pickle Challenge for Charity will have a powerfully positive impact on your organization’s culture that it comes packaged with the guarantee of a 50x return on investment in the first year – and no, that is not a typo(7). Your organization will achieve a 50-fold return on the investment or it will be refunded in full, and your charity will get to keep the donations that have been raised.

You will also be a “Spark Plug” organization in what needs to be a nationwide movement to get us out of this emotional mess where words like bullying, disengagement and compassion fatigue show up so frequently in the articles we read.

But most important, you will help your people be happier and more productive. And not just at work – also at home in their personal lives. And this will be reflected in higher employee engagement, increased customer satisfaction, and greater productivity.

Please join us in this important effort. Download The Pickle Challenge 2.0 program description at PicklePledge.com then contact us at 319-624-3889 with any questions and to enlist your team in this important initiative. Thank you!


  1. Cole Edmonson and Caroline Zelonka, “Our Own Worst Enemies: The Nurse Bullying Epidemic, Nursing Administration Quarterly, 2019
  2. Stephen Trzeciak and Anthony Mazzarelli, Compassionomics, Studer Group, 2019
  3. Kim Krisberg, “Concerns Grow About Burnout, Stress in Health Care Workers” The Nation’s Health, October 2018
  4. Jim Clifton & Jim Harter: It’s the Manager, Gallup Press, 2019
  5. Thomas Vaughn et al, “Governing Board, C-Suite, and Clinical Manager Perceptions of Quality and Safety Structures, Processes, and Priorities in U.S. Hospitals” Journal of Healthcare Management March 2014
  6. Joe Tye and Bob Dent: Building a Culture of Ownership in Healthcare, Sigma International, 2017
  7. See Program Description at PicklePledge.com for details of the guarantee on page 16

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