Everyone loves delicious foods and shies away from food that is not tasty to their palette. Often, we enjoy a dish so much that we seek out the “secret ingredients” in order to recreate that satisfying taste.
People and culture professionals do likewise, as our goal is to stay abreast of the secret sauce of an award-winning workplace culture for our people. With that in mind, here are seven key ingredients to a thriving environment that will attract new talent, satisfy your current team and produce solid retention.
1. Create an Atmosphere That Values Individuality
We all have different faces, fingerprints and DNA, so why do some leaders try to clone their people to be exactly like themselves? This type of behavior will stifle your people and cause counterproductivity. Instead, executives, mid-level managers and supervisors must foster and celebrate the individuality of each person on their team. Each person is different, special and unique! As a matter of fact, the individuality each team member brings is a secret sauce that cannot be duplicated and should be celebrated and valued.
2. Empower Everyone to Have a Voice
Every employee has a voice of his or her own, which, when empowered, can reveal so much hidden treasure. Instead of spending thousands of dollars for consultants to conduct a SWOT analysis, organizations can save money by empowering their people to exercise their voice. After all, they should be able to provide great solutions, since they are invested in the company. Leaders can hear their opinions through an open-door policy, monthly rallies, roundtables or quarterly surveys. This “listening” should be organic and regular, not begrudging or annual.
3. Grow and Groom Talent From Within
There is nothing worse than training your own, new supervisor, who is clueless about his or her role and responsibilities. Yet, this problem happens time and time again and is cause for turnover. Coaching, mentoring and grooming employees to grow into their next supervisory or managerial role will increase their loyalty to the organization, create opportunities for employee referrals and boost retention. Before you go to offer the job out, grow and groom from within!
4. Handle Conflict Based on Facts, Not Emotions
At some point, you will come across a co-worker who rubs you the wrong way. When they handle conflict poorly, leaders can make it so uncomfortable for the other person that he or she will start looking for another job. Avoid creating “cliques” at work. When faced with conflict, leaders should focus on the facts and not their emotions. By doing so, they can achieve a win-win solution and prevent unnecessary turnover.
5. Progressive-discipline the Antagonist(s) out
There are some leaders who, upon hearing that an employee or group of employees bullying or harassing someone and creating a toxic environment, do nothing, allowing these destructive behaviors to continue. This lack of a response will cause the team to lose trust in the leader and, ultimately, leave.
Organizations owe their people a hostile-free workplace environment and can create such a culture using strategies such as coaching and counseling; “writing up”; providing a final warning; and, finally, terminating the toxic employee, supervisor, manager, executive, or even senior vice president or chief executive officer (CEO).
Poor behavior should never be tolerated, regardless of the person’s position. As people and culture professionals, we must be strategic and wise in our decision-making. We cannot be a part of the problem but must stand up in the midst of adversity to tell the truth and do the right thing — even if it means having tough conversations. They are never a waste of time but, rather, an opportunity for that leader or leaders to grow.
6. Allow Autonomy and Freedom
I have never met anyone who likes a micromanager; have you? It’s crucial to give employees the autonomy and freedom to think, do and be. Organizations that trust their people to do the right thing achieve tremendous results in return. They enable their people to shape customer service or products, cultivate an employee experience that is second to none, and are involved in community causes and sustainability efforts. Everyone loves being a part of a positive cause, and having the liberty to do so, whether it be serving at a homeless shelter or providing school supplies to neighboring schools, can aid in your recruitment and retention efforts.
7. Provide Relevant Benefits
Employees want to thrive at work and at home. As a result, benefits should be innovative and functional. Many organizations now offer wellness programs that provide discounts on monthly premiums for a healthy lifestyle, allow employees to bring pets to work and provide paid parental leave. These types of benefits are attractive and can skyrocket employee retention.
It would be great if you could add all these tasty ingredients to your workplace culture, but starting with just a few will produce a delicious return. Shine on!