We spend a lot of time at work. Even if we are working remotely, we are connected by the hardware and software that keeps us interacting with colleagues about tasks continuously. Employers use technology to keep their employees engaged in the work. Yet, employers must be mindful that employees have purpose and activities outside of work.
Human resource thought leaders have been calling for workplaces to be more attentive to human needs. The increase in burnout and mental fatigue is characteristic of our modern work experience. How can companies live up to the values they proudly post…” people are our greatest asset”?
Recently I attended an office baby shower. I was amazed at the enthusiasm and care the Team and Company Leadership brought to the planning of a non-work related event during work hours. There was a planning event for the baby shower that brought people together to learn and hand make the decorations. Several people worked on a pom pom streamer, others decorated the walls and table with kraft paper cut outs, and another crafted a wreath made with coffee basket filters. The baby shower itself, boasted beautifully arranged sandwiches and signature desserts homemade by the foodies on the Team. And what is a baby shower without games?! The games of this shower suited a diverse Team, and it encouraged people to learn and interact with one another. A bingo sheet distributed to all participants with questions to find out fun facts about each other.
I could not help but reflect that previously (or still) a pregnant staff person was seen as someone that presented a problem. It was thought that people of childbearing age were not committed to their profession or job. Not only would they need to be replaced for long periods of time it was believed they would not return to their position. Due to those beliefs, company leadership did not invest much in this cohort.
By contrast this company has all but guaranteed the continuing commitment and loyalty of this person. And it speaks volumes to all Team members that personal life events, unrelated to work, is a matter to be recognized, celebrated or grieved.
In a tight job market, companies need good people and moreover, need to keep good people. This is the kind of workplace culture that demonstrates, not just says, that people are their greatest asset. People have options and are looking for workplaces that are places to learn, grow and contribute to the organization, places that are worthy of their time and effort. The pandemic has shifted people to think about why and for whom they work. It is no longer enough to work for a paycheck, the new work force wants a positive human experience.