In case you hadn’t noticed, employee wellness is a hot topic in the workplace these days. Businesses are focusing as never before on wellness programs that include activities to get the heart pumping and also distribute information. These programs can help employees improve their overall health by educating them about nutrition, healthy food choices, and other strategies. Of course that information also helps hold down healthcare costs for everyone in the company.
But employee wellness can really encompass so much more when you think about it.
One way of looking at workplace wellness is as a gateway to larger employee well-being. That’s really the end goal that companies are aiming for—helping to ensure that their employees remain happy and motivated at work.
But what does it take to keep employees happy and fully engaged at work? Over the next few months we will be covering a four-part series that takes a deep dive into why company culture, professional development, strong leadership, and mental breaks are key factors contributing to overall employee happiness in the workplace. In part 1, we’ll start by breaking down why company culture is so essential to this process.
Culture as the Core of a Company’s Success
A company’s culture arises from its organizational beliefs and shared values. It’s more than the mere written mission statement, but the sum total of how it actually operates every day with customers, suppliers and internally, with each other. As legendary GE CEO Jack Welch once put it, “It goes without saying that no company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.”
As the chief economist for the job site Glassdoor recently wrote in the Harvard Business Review, “It appears that employees who see clear career paths for themselves and who feel committed to a company with a positive value system are statistically less likely to leave for their next role.”
Eleanor Estes, CEO of TPI, Inc., an engineering and IT recruiting firm, noted in Inc Magazine that, “employees want to work for companies with a great culture that they can be a part of. Something that aligns with their values…We spend a significant part of our lives at our jobs, and the effort by companies to make it an engaging and meaningful place to be is on the rise.”
A Culture of Giving Back
Most Americans have an innate charitable nature. Six out of ten American households donate a whopping $400 billion to charity. Surprisingly, those with the least financial resources actually tend to give a higher percentage away, by some measures.
So it only stands to reason that most people would want to work for a company that similarly tries to give back to their community.
Starbucks is a fine example of a company with that kind of culture. The Starbucks Foundation gave $6.9 million to nonprofit organizations in 2015, including $1.5 million for social development grants and $3 million to Starbucks Opportunity for Youth.
As with many companies, that culture is rooted in the beliefs of the founder. Growing up in a public housing project, Howard Schultz developed a social conscience along with a fierce will to succeed. Early in the company’s life, he decided to offer health coverage even to part-time employees. And the company has always had a penchant for getting involved in social causes.
A Culture of Career Advancement
Employee retention is critical to the long-term success of any organization. How can you retain top talent and help these employees grow? Because without meaningful avenues of advancement, the best employees will leave.
This isn’t merely educated intuition; it’s actually borne out by research. In a study of 34,000 exit interviews, the Work Institute and the American Psychological Association found that a lack of career advancement opportunities was the number one factor cited for employees who had left their jobs, nearly doubling the number two reason, work-life balance.
The Chicago–based protein bar company RXBAR is an example of a successful company that takes career advancement quite seriously. Begun in a kitchen in 2013 by a couple of friends, the company has put training and career advancement at the center of its strategy since its founding. Team members’ roles and responsibilities are intentionally designed to grow along with the company’s fortunes.
A Culture of Flexibility
The age of the rigid but successful organization is mostly over. Today, companies that succeed tend to be fast and flexible, and open to new styles of thinking and operating.
We’ve seen repeatedly in our work that clients are more open than ever to flexible work arrangements, including allowing talented new recruits to work from home and/or have more time off and more flexible leave policies than in the past.
One need look no further than GE for an example. Once one of the more rigidly-managed corporations in the world, it has since fundamentally rethought its employee practices in order to recruit fresh talent. Among the options it offers certain salaried employees:
- Time off for community service
- Part-time, flex-time and remote work arrangements
- Compressed work weeks
- Unlimited vacation
A Culture of Recognition
Companies also need to systematically recognize productive employees as part of their overall retention strategy. Why? As Mary Kay Ash, the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, once put it, “There are two things people want more than sex and money–recognition and praise.”
These employee rewards can take many forms–from cash rewards and team lunches to extra paid time off or performance-based rewards. However your company chooses to publicly recognize good work, just make sure you’re doing something.
Finding the Perfect Fit
As talent consultants and hiring partners, taking the time to understand workplace culture for our clients is part of our client on-boarding process. Before we can begin sourcing a candidate, we need to get an in-depth understanding of the business and company culture in order to align with the right candidate. Our role in the search process is to help clients dig deeper into the minds of candidates and reveal their true motivations through our competency- and values-based behavioral interviewing process. By closely communicating with each client and investing the time to learn about the organization, its people and culture, we’re able to successfully find A PERFECT FIT™.
Where is your organization today, in terms of well-being? Are you nurturing your employees? Do you bring in talent from the outside, or do you choose to grow the talent you already have in the organization? What’s your recipe for finding top talent that’s a cultural fit? We’d love to hear about it. Drop us a message at email@example.com.
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- Posted by Cassandra Greaves
- On September 25, 2019
- 0 Comments