by Angela Kambouris | Featured Contributor
People are the engine that keeps companies growing, improving and innovating. Given the nature of today’s workplace, environments demand collaboration, the ability to tap into deep thinking and the embodiment of mentorship. When people blend these skills, they become their own inspiration and maximize opportunities where both people and business thrive.
Harvard Business Review article “Creating the best workplace on earth” highlighted that your business is operating at its fullest potential by creating environments where individual differences are nurtured, where companies add value to employees rather than suck the energy out of people, when information is not suppressed and when business stands for something meaningful.
Here are 8 ways that a workplace operates at its fullest potential by allowing people to do their best work, bringing their whole selves to work, and never wanting to leave.
Development and progression are your own business
When people can express their full selves at work, they exhibit higher levels of organizational commitment, individual performance and a burning desire to help others. By allowing people to tap into their fullest potential, they engage in discussions, debate ideas and bring their perspective to conversations that enable a richness for innovation and growth.
Managers make their expectations clear, but individuals decide how to meet them. Self-determination means delineating your path and being accountable for your success. Facebook, the largest social media network, deeply invests in the professional development and well-being of its people through delivering quality training, employees having the flexibility to set personalized work schedules as their progress is measured by impact not hours and unites global employees for team connection.
Thriving culture club
Gallup released their State of the American Workplace report highlighting that 70 percent of the American works are disengaged at work. Employees are checking out because of the lack of growth and opportunity within the company.
Wayne Dyer said, “There is no scarcity of opportunity to make a living at what you love; there’s only scarcity of resolve to make it happen”. When professional and personal development program opportunities knock at your door, identify what elevates your profession, skills, status, and circumstances. There is no progress without taking a risk.
Forbes partnered with Statista to identify companies specific to ranking America’s best employers for women. Principal Financial Group, Iowa ranked number one spot with a workforce containing 59% of whom are women, support flexible work schedules, prenatal care programs, and onsite childcare center. Career development became a priority to elevate women however investment in how both men and women can support each other in the workplace was deemed paramount.
Business leaders today invest in personal development for themselves as it helps you improve as a leader, so what do you think it will do for your people?
Let the water flow – create a culture of honesty
Companies must not deceive, distort or spin information, challenges or celebrations. In a digital world where all is posted, swiped or filtered, telling people the truth must be a core business value. Respecting your people’s need to know what is really going on about their jobs or workplace, demonstrates the greatest level of respect.
Leaders must eliminate the need to put a positive spin on even the most negative situations. They mustn’t strangle the flow of information because of not wanting to be the bearer of bad news.
There will be times where critical information requires confidentiality and sensitivity. Honesty won’t necessarily stop problems from arising, however, senior leaders must err on the side of transparency.
When trust levels amongst the workforce are low and background noise is high, companies must work hard to communicate what is going on if they are to be heard and believed. Complete, transparent and timely communication is vital.
Stand for something bigger
People want to live brands. By making the environment more meaningful, people choose to stay. People want to do good work, to feel they matter in an organization that makes a difference. They want to work is an environment that amplifies strengths, where autonomy is promoted, and transparency is not negotiable.
Forging powerful connections between personal and business values fosters individuality and a strong culture at the same time. Great Place to Work surveyed employees working for companies around the globe. Salesforce, a global CRM leader, hit the number one spot again as a company that works to deliver success as a team for customers while giving back to communities. Salesforce demonstrated its commitment to their people through the quest to provide a healthy workspace that limits its impact on the environment through having installed filtered water taps in all its offices. On a global scale a positive impact through volunteer efforts such as having launched “CoderDojo” in Kenya for the visually impaired, providing opportunities for every child to learn how to code.
If you don’t have a mentoring program in your business, it’s time to implement one. In a workforce management insights report, Adecco advised that 61% of companies believe mentorship is essential to employee happiness. Chronus reported that 25% of employees who took part in a company’s mentoring program had a salary grade change, compared with 5% of employees who didn’t participate in the program. Mentors were promoted six times more often than those not in the program; mentees were promoted five times more often than those not in the program.
Great companies use both coaching and mentoring to develop strong, efficient teams while identifying the next group of company leaders to mentor. Giving people a chance to succeed and grow, supports companies to recruit and keep talent.
Promoting from within
If you are not investing in your people, you are not investing in the future of your business. When your people feel like they are stagnant, employees will look for employment opportunities elsewhere. Setting up an individual development plan creates a conversation to identify both short-term and long-term goals. Individuals empower themselves to ask quality questions about how they can close the gap to where they are and to where they want to be. Using this as a platform for monthly check-ins creates opportunities for both the individual to progress and creates collective growth for them and the business.
A culture of friendship and inclusion
Women and men having a best friend at work leads to better performance. Gallup stated that “employee engagement shows that two out of 10 U.S. employees strongly agree they have a best friend at work and by moving that ratio to six in 10, organizations could realize: 36% fewer safety incidents; 7% more engaged customers; and 12% higher profit.”
Forcing connections is indeed not the message, and investment in creating spaces where a human connection can be fostered and nurtured is worth the investment. Yearly team retreats, attending conferences as a collective group, or hosting team building activities is another way to invest in the workforce. Another alternative may be implementing a mentorship program, identifying a specific project for the team and incentivizing such as a bonus-based opportunity on the achievement of the goal.
A caterpillar must come out of the pupa to fly away like a butterfly
Expanding your unfamiliar zone is critical if you are committed to investing in your development. Breaking through your fear, insecurity or lack of self-confidence allows you to prioritize your potential and open doors to possibilities. You know that is it easy to go with the flow rather than swim upstream.
When your business is operating at its fullest potential, you have achieved an inclusive environment where work can be liberating, where the human potential at work is fully realized and your workplace remains the exception rather than the norm. A place where people dare to lead, live their dreams every day and will never want to leave.