The moment a manager or company starts measuring your time put in opposed to overall performance and impact, is the moment a company loses.
Let’s dive in...
In my young professional career I’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing people, wonderful brands and learn from some of the best in the business. I’ve been privileged to have a diverse background that has seasoned me to truly understand the importance of company culture, networking, sales and most importantly, leadership.
Companies miss the mark when they automatically assume people want to work for them. You have to continually inspire the people around you, and if you fail to engage, you get what I call a paycheck employee. I once had a CEO tell me, “you have to think profit, not paycheck.” And that’s the exact mentality that companies have to take on in today’s hiring frenzy world. No longer do people work for companies just because of brand name, job security, and to maintain a “corporate job title”. People now work for companies because they “want” to feel a part of. They want to have impact.
Of course, there will be few exceptions to this statement, but it doesn’t matter. The bottom line is this; if your company culture is bad, retentions of quality employees will be low. This is simple logic where way too many companies miss the mark.
People Work for People
I’ve had multiple jobs. Some good, some bad. I’ve had the great opportunity to work with great people at every place I’ve ever worked. One thing I’ve learned through my career thus far is there is a common denominator when it comes to employee retention and good company culture. When it’s all said and done, people work for people.
I recently read a great book called, Extreme Ownership. The book was written by two Navy Seals (Leif Babin, Jocko Willinick) who took their core values and lessons they learned through war and military philosophy and applied it to helping develop more leaders in our everyday business world. In this book, they have one of the best quotes I’ve ever heard and stand behind 100%.
“There is no such thing as bad teams, there are just bad leaders” - Extreme Ownership.
Think about that? How many times have you worked for a company that you were miserable at? Were you miserable because of your actual job description itself, or because of the person you worked for? If I were to bet, more often than not, professionals in today’s world are more than capable of being excellent performers but their overall performance lacks because they are unhappy with their current leadership and management.
Again, applying this theory to my career, this has always been the case. A few years back I learned a valuable career lesson. The lesson is one my grandmother always warned me about. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
I was young and stupid. I was two years into my first ever marketing job, and unbeknownst to me, I was surrounded in great company culture. To say the least, I was oblivious and thought that “there has to better than this?”
Well, once I took on that mentality, I already had one foot out the door. Of course, finding a new opportunity and job wasn’t a problem, but finding a new opportunity that lived up and gave me the current level of happiness I already had was a BIG challenge.
I left my first marketing job after two years, eager and ready to change the corporate marketing world. I was ready for “bigger and better”!
Long story short- I quit that big corporate marketing job 63 days after I started. Not because I wasn’t capable of doing the job at hand. I was actually overqualified. It was because I couldn’t stand the person I worked for and didn’t like the company culture.
They key takeaway here isn’t to bash a former employer who had horrible company culture. It’s to let you know that the grass isn’t always greener. Just because the money might be better, the brand might be bigger, and the job from the outside looking in has more bells and whistles doesn't mean anything. Again, at the end of the day, if you have bad leadership and culture, you will leave.
At the end of the day, people work for people.
People Need to Understand Their Impact
I’m a firm believer there are two types of professionals. The people who strive for security, consistent direction and routine, and then the ones who strive for impact, change and solution based challenges.
Both types of people are needed within companies big and small. You need your big picture thinkers, visionaries and problem solvers, and on the flip-side you need your everyday nut and bolt follow the direction doers. To keep it simple, you need the painter and the canvas.
Where companies struggle, especially bigger entities, is allowing their employees to fully understand the type of impact they have on the company.
People need to feel their work is important. If they don’t, they lose investment in what they are doing for you. Whether you’re the janitor or the CEO, you have a role and you have influence on the people and operations around you. The most successful companies take on this mentality. They validate. They make sure all their employees understand what type of impact they have. This not only sparks investment, it also sparks ambition for positive change and growth.
Don’t believe me. Let’s take Adobe for example. Outside of offering some kick ass job perks, they offer their employees patents for their ideas and are awarded certain bonuses for their creations.
Adobe lives and dies by creativity. Having this type of culture in place encourages employees to always be “thinking”. They are sparking ideas and action amongst their people. More than anything, they are validating their employees ideas by offering such great perks and support, like patents and product releases. High-five Adobe!
So ask yourself, especially if you’re a manager or in any type of leadership role. Does your team feel important and understand their impact? Are you inspiring action. There is a BIG difference between “directing” action and inspiring action.
Accountability and Encouragement
We have made a complete 180 degree turn as a society. Especially in the workforce. Back in the “good ol’ days” of corporate America you would hear stories of the high pressure jobs and the lunatic bosses that used fear mongering tactics to “motivate” large sales teams. Sadly, I can confirm this still exists in 2016. I’ve seen it first hand. Fear is rarely a motivator. Actually, more times than not it’s a de-motivator. If you’re “inspiring” your team with fear, odds are you probably aren’t inspiring at all. If I were to bet, you probably don’t have a true gage on how your team actually feels because they are constantly driven by fear.
There has to be a fine balance between accountability and encouragement. You have to inspire your team, but also hold your team accountable. Accountability is necessary. Accountability only works effectively, if the people around you respect you. If you can encourage, you will be surprised how much more effective your accountability moments become. It’s because your team understands you have the ability to do both.
There is never one side of the fence. Meaning, you should never give just “accountability” and likewise, it’s negative to always give “encouragement”. There always has to be a healthy balance. Once again - Validate your leadership. Be consistent and balanced.
At the end of the day, you create loyalty when you have the ability to truly inspire people. But before you inspire people, you must validate their importance. They have to understand “why” they are instrumental to your team.