Built It and They Will Come….

It’s a job seeker’s market in many industries. Employees now have the leverage over employers as companies expand and hiring has rebounded from Covid lows last year. Employers are finding a lot of competition for talent and this isn’t going away anytime soon.

Sure, you can just open the check book and keep raising compensation, but the best people want more than just money (assuming they are being paid competitively). Plus, we all know this tactic is unsustainable.

So now what?

It’s time to consider what people really want from their workplace:

1. Friendship

We spend so much time at work/working; we want to do it with people we like and enjoy spending time with. Having a good friend at work makes people much more likely to stay with a company, even in tough times.

How can you set up an environment that helps your employees make friends at work?

2. Psychological safety

People want to know they can speak up without facing negative consequences and they will be accepted for who they are at work. Coming back to a post-covid (post-George Floyd, post-Jan 6th) workplace makes psychological safety even more important – people no longer want to pretend to be someone else in order to fit in.

How can we show our employees: (i) we value authenticity, and (ii) we will support them for showing up as their true authentic selves

3. Belonging and Connection

We all want to be part of something special – a group, a tribe, a team, a movement. We also want to be seen and acknowledged for our unique contributions to our group.

Encourage your teams to create identities and to celebrate these identities. How will you ensure no one is left behind?

4. Meaning and Purpose

It’s not just for millennials and Zoomers. We all want our work to have meaning and to be contributing to something greater than ourselves.

What are your team’s aspirations? We don’t have to be curing cancer or solving world poverty to create purpose in our work. What does your team stand for?

5. Autonomy and Trust

Belonging and purpose is great, but we also need our space – freedom to make choices and to learn from consequences. This requires managers, leaders and team members to trust that their colleagues:

  • Are doing their best
  • Are working to achieve the best possible outcome(s)
  • Can take on a challenge, even if they haven’t done it before

How can we visibly extend trust to our colleagues? We need to talk about how our teams balance autonomy versus oversight

Admittedly, this doesn’t get built in a day, but it’s time to start. It’s not enough to talk about values on your careers site. You need to demonstrate this with behaviors people can see and experience on a day-to-day basis. Leaders need to walk the walk and applaud those who do it as well, even if they’re just getting started.

A company’s culture is all about how an organization (and the people in it) show up in the world.

When you act in an intentional way that supports your desired culture, you’re creating a workplace people want to be a part of. Overwhelmed? Start with one or two or contact me if you want more help.

You’ll know it’s working when your employee referrals go through the roof and your top talent isn’t interested (meh) when recruiters call.

Hey culture champions: we know there are more than five ways to create a great culture. Let me know what has worked really well at your organization!

Paulina Caprio
Paulina is the Founder of Chrysalis, a culture change consultancy helping companies build and sustain their desired culture. Chrysalis is for people and organizations who value culture as a critical business priority.

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