Daniel hated his old job. Working as an online support technician for a fortune 500 company, he enjoyed the task that he did, and he excelled at it, but he was miserable every minute he spent working there. Getting up in the morning became a chore as Daniel knew he would have to drag his tired soul into his work. His co-workers were friendly, his boss was pleasant most days, but still, the moment he stepped into work, Daniel shut down, emotionally and physically. His stress eventually leads to him taking up smoking as the small 15-minute break he was afforded were better served to chat with his buddies outside.
Eventually, Daniel mustered up enough courage to start looking for a new job. It was tough as he worked at this place for close to 10 years. He made friends with many people there, because of his experience, his pay and vacation time were pretty decent. Finding another job that would offer him the same comforts outside of work would be tough, but to him, he could no longer deal with the stress. Benefits or not, he had to move on.
Why would Daniel be so miserable working for a company who paid him well, gave him great benefits and surrounded him with friends? How could he be so drained just by walking into the door? And why would he ever take up a disgusting habit like smoking just to get outside?
Paychecks can't buy passion.
It all made sense when Daniel found himself a new job as a technician at a small software development company.
Daniel took a slight pay cut and lost a week's vacation working for a much smaller company. He had heard great things about this place, but it wasn't until he found himself on the inside that he found himself a "real" job. The emphasis of the company was about building stronger people, not only the customers that they served, but the people they employed. Daniel always thought company culture was a bunch of BS, but after working at his new job for a couple of months, he now knew what culture really means.
Upon arrival on his first day, he noticed a different air to the place, even though it was early Monday morning, everyone was welcoming and at ease. There were fresh fruit sitting in a bowl on a table and a library of books in the staff room available for anyone to take. It didn't take long before Daniel knew that he was not aligned with his old job. It wasn't about money, vacation or job security working for a huge company, it was about being able to be himself and growing. After three weeks of his new job, he even gave up smoking. He wasn't pressured to quit, he was just surrounded by so many healthy people that it made no sense for him to smoke anymore; besides, he had nobody to go outside with anymore!
If you want employees to feel appreciated, you need to celebrate their achievements.
Company culture is about enabling everyone within the team to grow from within. Once employees take root and develop within a safe culture, the byproduct of that growth is company growth. Far too many companies are fooled into believing more money, benefits and Friday afternoon pizza parties create amazing cultures. Some company leaders think that by giving the dogs more treats, they will become more obedient and loyal, but all they become is fat and lazy.
People at work just want to be treated fairly and be given inspiration and space to be better people. By setting the example of encouraging only healthy eating at the office, Daniel's new company offers fresh fruit and vegetables free of charge as snacks. To promote personal growth, they provide quality books to read and the opportunity to take online courses during work hours to enrich his knowledge. On top of it all, Daniel's new company encourages him to take personal days not only for sickness but to just unwind and recharge. They realize that personal growth on top of his regular work duties is exceptionally challenging and energy consuming.
Daniel has now worked at his new job for six months, and in those six months he has quit smoking, joined a gym, taken up a photography hobby and volunteers his time at a local soup kitchen. He has endured a lot of change both personally and professionally during this time, but now he has a purpose and this new exuberance in leading him to be a star technician.
In today's working world, people do not work for money anymore, they work for a purpose. Salary and benefits are no longer the currency in which to satisfy an employee's value. Employees need to feel that the work they do is making an impact both personally or professionally. If they don't get that feeling, they will keep searching until they find it. Employees need to be empowered to choose their own destiny in life and feel comfortable enough to fail. If an employee feels insecure about failure, then they will never be daring enough to try. Companies with a team that is not willing to try because they are afraid to fail have already failed.
Is your company failing?