The first sign you are still “culturing” like it’s 2019 is that you haven’t added ping pong tables and beer fridges to your office. No, I’m just kidding. That never was a driving factor. And I doubt that during this “work-at-home experiment,” people were like, “man, I can’t wait to get back to the office and play Ping-Pong.”
The truth is that, by now, we all know that workplace culture can either make or break your business—this is not a new discovery. And it consists of the things we see and don’t see, as well as spoken and unspoken elements. People have been researching and writing about organizational culture since the ’50s. We get that it’s essential, yet we often overlook how best to create it.
As we all navigated the pandemic together, we went through some similar experiences: i.e., shifting to remote work, schooling at home, and hanging out on Zoom with our families. And through these shared experiences, things surfaced that employees genuinely want in the workplace. These things have a deeper value to us as humans—they’re more valuable than a pingpong table—and can determine how we show up or don’t in our work.
The truth is: Employees crave purpose at work ... so much so that when they feel it, their intent to stay with the organization triples, according to research from Great Place To Work.
Purpose in the organization may feel fluffy to you. But, before you write it off as something that’s not applicable to your team, think again. Many of us want to be part of something bigger than ourselves, feel like we are making a difference in our work, and feel proud of the organization we are part of. This intrinsic motivator has an extrinsic impact. Not only does employees’ intent to stay triple, but 82% of consumers say the brands they buy from stand for a greater purpose, according to Razorfish/VICE Media Group research [via Business Wire].
The truth is: According to Grant Thornton, 80% of employees want freedom in where and when they get their work done.
If you can’t see them working, how do you know the work is getting done, right? Wrong. Writing that reminds me of the movie Office Space, where the boss would randomly show up to bark out orders and ruin the employees’ weekend plans.
I started working remotely five years ago when I joined Delivering Happiness. And, for me, there is no desire to go back to an office full time. But fully remote work is not for all, nor is there a one-size-fits-all culture approach. The key is to listen to what your employees want and give them the freedom to create the environment they desire. When you build purpose and values firmly within your culture, there is no reason not to trust your employees and no reason to micromanage them. And research covered in Fast Company shows that productivity actually increases when people feel in control of their work.
The truth is: When employees feel cared for, they are 3.2 times more likely to be happy at work and 3.7 times more likely to recommend their company to others, according to LinkedIn research.
We can’t expect employees to “be on” 24/7 or be chained to their laptops on vacation. The truth is that we are human beings. We feel emotions throughout the day, we stress over our increased workloads, and we feel guilty for not making it to our kids’ school programs in the middle of the day. The typical 9 to 5 doesn’t always work in this new world of work. During the pandemic [between October 2020 and October 2021], LinkedIn found that employee happiness actually declined by 3.5% globally, and Deloitte found that only 56% of employees think their company executives care about their well-being. Well-being isn’t just limited to step-counting incentives or wellness programs that no one uses. Employees should also receive flexibility, more work-life balance, and whole-being care.
Staying stuck in 2019 is not an option. We are now living in the era of people-focused, purpose-driven organizations, and many employees will jump ship to find it [and they’ll keep searching]. In fact, “57% of employees are seriously considering quitting for a more supportive job,” according to the Deloitte study.
Let’s start “culturing” like it’s 2022.