Create A Company Culture You’re Proud OfThe concept of company culture has been generally understood for centuries; however, it’s only in the past couple of decades that it has been formalized and studied at length. It is often swept under the rug as something only fickle Millennials are concerned with. So, is it important? In the words of Sarah Palin, “You Betcha!” A strong company culture means having strong values, goals, and direction that influence hiring practices, corporate strategy, brand, and company identity. Culture, depending on your industry, can uniquely define your business and set it apart from the competition. Furthermore, a company culture that shows the workplace as fun, engaging, and socially active is not only more likely to attract motivated employees, but it is more likely to retain them (and yes, this absolutely includes Millennials). A perfect example is Warby Parker, the prescription glasses company. To create a stronger sense of community among their employees, they established dedicated company event planners. These individuals ensured employees engaged with each other in new and exciting ways through different events like unique corporate outings, catered meals, and special events. Small cultural measures like these can pay dividends in team unity, employee satisfaction, and worker productivity, and, when these benefits are combined, the result is better performance across the board.
Reduce Employee BurnoutLet’s face it, employee burnout is a real and serious thing. And, no, I'm not referencing the Cheech an Chong variety. I'm talking about the one that affects millions of employees every year worldwide, and it is the culmination of extreme stress and exhaustion that can negatively impact worker health. Unfortunately, for even the best businesses, burnout can influence their strongest performers and their top talent. A recent HBR article states that 1 in 5 highly engaged employees will suffer burnout, leading to increased risks of employee departures. Reducing turnover and increasing employee satisfaction is a noble pursuit of many businesses today; therefore, finding ways to reduce burnout is essential. To that end, a recent discovery suggests that employees suffering from burnout feel consumed by their jobs and long hours, resulting in feelings of loneliness and isolation. So in addition to burnout remedies like reducing workload and promoting stress relief, managers and HR can combat burnout by identifying social activities that promote greater human connections. For instance, office parties, team-building events and corporate outings can arouse a sense of belonging among employees, both inside and outside of the workplace. Of course, these activities and events can be expensive; however, they should be seen as an investment in the business and its employees. If done effectively, this minor investment in employee retention will far exceed the real and hidden costs of trying to replace them.
Recent research suggests that 72% of U.S. workers lack a sense of purpose in their work. Upon reading this data, I could not avoid the haunting whispers of my business school professors, “remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.” Many companies appear to be traditionally focused on the two lowest and basic levels of the needs pyramid – the Physiological needs (ex. food, water, shelter) and Safety needs (ex. physical, financial, health). However, they often miss the boat on the other three higher levels, which are comprised of Social Belonging, Esteem, and Self-actualization. Although more PTO, raises, and bonuses are certainly welcomed by most employees, they rarely elicit a stronger senses of purpose. An effective way for managers to solve for this is to regularly explore opportunities to celebrate their team’s successes. Activities like throwing an offsite corporate party, or finding a unique location to have celebratory beers with the team, can bring about the three highest levels of Maslow’s Pyramid. Belonging is generated by bringing coworkers into a positive, social, and celebratory environment; Esteem is created by demonstrating respect and recognition of employee accomplishments; and, finally, Self-actualization is achieved because each member of the team is motivated to succeed and be rewarded again. Remember managers, failure to celebrate successes will not only kill morale, but, at a much deeper level, it may actually cause employees to question the purpose of their work because their higher needs aren't being addressed. A Jelly of The Month Club membership just won’t cut it, so it’s important to get creative and find unique activities that truly demonstrate your appreciation. If executed properly, you will find more passionate, creative and purpose-driven employees who are eager to work towards the benefits of all stakeholders.
Celebrate Team Successes
By: S. Kyle Spore, MBA, Co-owner of Tap The Triangle