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The Value of Creating a Good-Comes-First Work-Culture

three sharing screenThe pandemic has slowed the economy significantly in the past three months. Your organization may be operating for months to come with some people in the center and some people working from home.

Effective leadership is more important today than ever. To attract and retain talented agents, we can learn from companies that thrive in an era of constant change. How is it that these organizations continue to operate work cultures where team members feel respected, valued, and validated day in and day out - and generate happy customers and profitable relationships?

I believe these companies thrive because company leaders understand that when their employees feel respected and validated – even in times of dramatic change and socially acceptable incivility – those employees serve customers and the company exceptionally well.

How can you shift your organization to being a great place to work? By making sure that good comes first. In other words: Good people doing good work in a good organization. It sounds simple - yet requires intention and attention every day from every leader.

It’s essential to ask employees about their daily experiences. Their perspective, monitored regularly, is the most reliable metric to establish whether good comes first in your workplace. In order to gain insights from your employees, companies must create safe and efficient channels for employees to share their perspectives. Such channels can include regular surveys (highly recommended), pulse surveys (one question a week to all company members), digital suggestion mailboxes (which works well for communicating concerns, as well), small group meet-ups with senior leaders, or some combination of these measures. Analyzing feedback gathered ensures that leaders understand exactly how well they are creating and sustaining a “good comes first” work culture that is purposeful, positive, and productive every day.

One dynamic which must be embraced is that every employee has a different interpretation of goodness. We humans are unique. We all have different hopes, fears, strengths, opportunities, and goals. We have different career experiences and different career aspirations. These differences are nuanced but important to address. True goodness will be slightly different for each person in your company. How do you “scratch” that unique itch and deliver good effectively for different people each day? Start with respect and validation, one of the foundations of a healthy work culture.

The problem is that many employees have been treated poorly by organizations and leaders for generations. Building a foundation of civil relationships based on respect and validation has a huge positive impact on employee goodness, which in turn generates confidence, creativity, proactive problem-solving, and results. Creating a good-comes-first work culture requires leaders to evolve beyond a pure focus on results. It requires new beliefs, new behaviors, and new degrees of engagement from leaders. It requires new skills of leaders, including listening, validating, mentoring, delegating, and celebrating.

The challenge is that leaders are human - and we humans don’t like change. We might learn new skills and behaviors, but not practice them – because practicing new skills is uncomfortable. Too few business leaders invest time in proactively growing and learning new skills to serve others better. Leaders spend most of their time reacting to problems that arise (“firefighting”). They are not typically asked to create and sustain an uncompromising company culture where good comes first. Leaders are typically expected to deliver results.

Yet in work cultures where good comes first, our research shows that employee engagement increases by 40%, customer service increases by 40%, and results and profits increase by 35%.

To learn more about this philosophy go to Positive Proof that Culture Works - Purposeful Culture Group.

Photo courtesy of wocintech.com