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It goes without saying that building a company where your employees feel like they belong is in everyone’s interest. Not only is your workforce happier, but it also becomes more permanent – you’ll experience far less turnover. But how do we build this kind of culture?
After two years of the pandemic, people are reassessing their purpose and their relationship to work. As a result, we are seeing valuable workers voluntarily quitting their jobs in droves. They choose to abandon toxic workplaces that perpetuate mental exhaustion and less than desirable environments. But it is important to understand that these workers are not leaving the workplace in general; they are leaving their work places. And they leave because of the culture. When we assess the reasons, it’s important to remember: all the things we have in place – the values, the practices – mean nothing if employees can’t look in the mirror and say, “I belong here”.
In years past, public companies typically reported metrics like revenue per employee to the SEC, and they really focused on the strong dollar elements. In this case, your company was highly valued if it had significant technology or had very good real estate. But over the past two years, SEC reports have shown that companies can have the best technology and the most amazing investments in locations, but it’s really people who determine success or failure when it’s about achieving your strategic goals. Today, companies must show how they are investing in the development of their people.
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This is particularly interesting at a time when companies are experiencing an extreme shortage of skills, both in the world of commerce and white collar workers. The focus now needs to be on skills development, and while we absolutely must continue to develop work skills because those aren’t going away, it’s really the soft skills that are the new motivators. People wonder if they can direct or turn analytical decisions into arguments that their staff can support.
Research shows that when people take on new jobs, it’s not just about the money. Yes, of course, money is important, and people should be paid fairly. But people want to know that they are supported in their professional growth. They seek skill development not only for themselves but also for their leaders.
The fact that people expect more from their employers reinforces this idea. For example, coders are no longer content to work around the clock and be celebrated with ping-pong tables and free beer. Employees no longer want to experience burnout at work. They want their employers to invest in them as much as they have invested their time and energy in this business. And in the wake of the pandemic and the Great Resignation, if employees are not satisfied, they will choose to leave. Given the shortages in the workplace, the power now belongs to the employee and no longer to the employer.
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For companies with eroded cultures and startups looking to build something new, this means creating a new culture. It’s the only thing that will keep someone in your business and attract new people to work with your brand. Ultimately, if people don’t want to work for you, your brand doesn’t matter.
When people invest in a company, they invest in the totality of that vision: efficiency, effectiveness and equality. More importantly, they invest in people. You need to have the right team in place to execute your vision. A team that feels empowered by the culture has a sense of belonging within the company. And it’s that beautiful, all-encompassing vision that gets people to invest in you.
To build a company where employees want to stay, we need to build a culture of belonging – a culture that embraces individual values and worth.