In part 1 of this article, we explored why self-reported value among employees can’t really be relied upon without intervention. Instead, organizations need to empower employees to truly speak their mind. Here we’ll look at an example and offer some advice on how to get there with your employees.
Are all the voices in your business truly being heard? Do you have a culture where people are encouraged to be themselves and ask questions without judgment? Do you have forums for confidential and anonymous ideas, questions, and feedback?
I recently met a leader of a company whose ranking changed from 46th to 14th on a list of best places to work. He had been in the business for 20 years and said the last 12 months had been the most rewarding for him personally. When I asked him what had changed, he said they had created a culture where employees were encouraged to be themselves and have their voices heard.
This leader realized that while many companies have programs and policies, most treat it as just another item on the checklist. They pay lip service but rarely live by those values. It all started with the new CEO and his willingness to ask how they could build a culture that lives by values that are meaningful and relevant to all involved and from there, expand it out to the wider community.
Everyone has different values: some want more family time, some want their voices heard and to contribute ideas, some want schedule flexibility, and others care about having pride in their work and knowing their company is making an impact for the greater good in the world.
By relying on the voices of all people in the company to create something that works for everyone, you can also leverage their ideas, perspectives, and insights that would allow the company to stand out.
Be Willing to Throw Out Your Old Definitions of Business Needs
What is important to people constantly changes and develops. Ask yourself these questions:
- Are you rigid in your structures or do you have systems that allow you to move on from past and no-longer-relevant business needs and adapt and evolve?
- What are other organizations doing in this area?
- What is working for them?
- What components could work for you, and what other ideas could you add to enhance them for your organization?
Keep Sustainability Front of Mind
For businesses and their workforces to truly thrive, sustainability has to be included in the picture.
One very important question every business should be asking is: what systems can we put in place that allow the business to grow while still honoring your talent base?
Are the systems you are implementing sustainable and scalable so that they can handle the needs of the business and employees now and into the future, five to 25 years from now?
By looking at what you need to implement not only to retain the staff but also to add value to them over time, you are taking a more sustainable and scalable perspective.
Recruitment and retention are still the costliest areas of many organizations, so why not leverage your workforce as much as possible? Look from within, gather information about what is important to your people, and use their talent and insights in the creation of a business that values the talent and received the contribution of all.
Laleh Alemzadeh-Hancock is a life and communication coach, management and professional services consultant, and facilitator of several Access Consciousness® special programs, including Right Voice for You and Being You.