During the past year a great deal of my time has been spent teaching organizations around the world how to improve their culture, as many organizations (both large and small) are now realizing that Culture =Cash! They have finally accepted that if getting, growing and keeping top talent is a strategic objective (and it should be!!!), then having a superior culture is one of the main ways to attract that top talent. So to me, there are two sides to the culture coin… what employees look for, which is a Winning Culture, a place that’s fun to work at, with a family atmosphere, where they are treated fairly , have the freedom to do their without micro management and an organization that has created a culture of catching people doing things right! However, there is also the other side of the culture coin that the employer looks for, which is highly engaged employees who have an Ownership Mentality…that is they show dedication, passion, creativity, pro-activity, a sense of urgency and high levels of both personal and mutual accountability .
These are all important factors, and there are several more key factors to creating a winning culture , but a few years ago I was talking to a good friend of mine who is a leading psychologist and he pointed out that a great deal of what I was talking about was exactly the same things that everyone looks for in the most important relationships in their lives … and when you think about it, your relationship to your job and the people there is absolutely one of the most important relationships in your life . According to my friend, here are the three factors that everyone looks for in the key relationships in their life :
Safety: employees need to feel physically safe at their job, that they’re not going to get hurt by machinery or that it’s safe to walk out to the parking lot late in the evening. They also need to feel emotionally safe, that no one is going to yell at them, embarrass them and their job will not be simply yanked out from underneath their feet with no reason. Lastly, they need to feel psychologically safe, that they can express their opinion, share their ideas or disagree with a superior … without the fear of retribution, bullying or embarrassment.
Belongingness: people want to feel that they are part of the team, part of the group, part of the tribe. They want to know that the people at work like them, like having them around and feel they are an important part of the organization. No one wants to feel like an outcast or that no one cares about them.
Appreciation: employees want to know that they are appreciated not only for the work they do, but also who they are as an individual, what they contribute to the team, and the ideas and diversity that they bring to the organization.
Safety Belongingness Appreciation
It is my strong belief that if you flood your organization with safety, belongingness and appreciation that you will build a framework for creating a truly a winning culture. And, as with many of the other factors, these three are mostly what I call atmosphere issues…they cost no extra money to implement – it is simply the way you treat your people, the way you engage them, and the respect you show all of your employees that make them feel safe, that they belong and that they are genuinely appreciated.
So my question to you is: What can you do TODAY to create more safety, belongingness and appreciation across your entire organization?