How do you build a company that reflects happiness, resilience, and confidence?

The workplace.

How do you build a workplace that reflects happiness, resilience, and confidence? 

By hiring employees that are happy, resilient, and confident. Duh. 

Except. You don’t just get that off the street (sorry, we wish life were that easy, too!)

Adopting a team culture that emulates the company’s authentic values will foster a workplace that inspires its team to hold the company to its values.  When an employee is happy, they are more likely to commit long term and be more productive and engaged.  

Though in today’s world, the “workplace” is not necessarily a “place,” but rather a “space” for a team to collaborate, the same ingredients to success hold true. And honestly, it’s not so easy to establish a team culture in a digital space, but many companies that have pivoted to a remote style of work are grappling with this (including us!)  

Sure, there are many pluses to being remote – I mean, it is the future of work.  

  • Flexibility (maybe you don’t have to hire that nanny that doubles as the dog walker anymore) 
  • Affordability (you just saved a couple of bucks on gas. Bingo. And your company doesn’t have to pay for your chair at the office anymore. Double bingo!) 
  • Work-life integration (ah, so this is what it feels like to have time for work AND me) 

But how does a business ensure its people are getting their work done and communicating effectively behind the keyboard, while still maintaining their sanity? 

Andrea Kinney, our director of global events, shared her experience from Destination California by Northstar Meetings Group. Something really stood out to her. That something was Eric Termuende’s educational session, co-founder of NoW of Work, author of the bestselling book Rethink Work, and a globally-recognized keynote speaker.  

As a once-aspiring jobseeker, you were told your resume had to stand out from everyone else. What sets you apart from the millions of others that are submitting their resume for review? Well, same goes for the employer. What sets you apart from the millions of others that are offering the same thing – a job? 

Over the course of the year and in part, due to the pandemic, the U.S. has been experiencing a much used phrase, the “Great Resignation”. Businesses are struggling to find enough workers to provide the same services – and to merely survive. Why is this happening? 

Termuende cleverly coins it “The Great Reconfiguration” – “with 11 million jobs and 5.5 million people to fill them, companies need to be great places to work – a place people want to be a part of.”  

How do you become a place people want to be a part of?  

  1. Knowledge.  

This is the first time in history that there are four generations in the workforce.  One size (work environment) doesn’t fit all to be sure.  Baby boomers want stability, security, and self-gratification.  Generation X is entrepreneurial and works to live, not lives to work. Millennials seek out companies that value collaboration, innovation, and an investment in professional development and the employee experience – and they are willing to move to a company for less pay if they can get it! And then there’s GenZ, which as a result of its own diversity is intent on working with companies that take DIEB (diversity, inclusion, equity, and belonging) very seriously.  Our CEO, Margaret Launzel-Pennes just attended the stellar MPI Thought Leadership Summit and the entire focus of the event was on the Future of Work.  Her take on the topic: “Our industry is not typically one to embrace change but we’re being forced to – and that is a great thing. The values and motivation emerging out of new generations entering the workplace are truly awe-inspiring.  We are a company with all four generations equally represented and what we learn from one another is incredible – and doesn’t just apply to our work day but our life in general. I’m very confident as years go by that we will all be in very good hands.” 

  1. Trust and understanding 

Learn about your people.  Discover their “heroes, heartbreaks, and hopes.” What do they dream of and how can they get there? What are they most excited for today? Termuende’s research highlighted two key teams that stood out to him: the Cleveland Browns and a particular Best Buy location whose performance outshined the rest of the nation.  The Browns coach, Kevin Stefansky, took the time to learn about each of his players. And each of his players heard and learned about one another. Such a simple act off the field created a profound difference on the field. And no, it doesn’t take a literal field to do this. Life is a playing field after all! Best Buy’s General Manager’s pre-shift huddles proved to his employees that he “wanted them to win.” Building trust starts from the top down. Check in with your peeps.  

  1. Go slow to speed up. 

Focus on the small and the big will come. Make a small one-degree shift.  Perhaps ask “what can I do to make your job easier?”  Such a simple, seemingly meaningless question can reap major changes – and yes, good ones! And take the time to recognize and appreciate on a regular basis.  

  1. Reduce friction.  

With so much diversity in the workplace, it’s natural that not everyone will always agree on approach and solutions. Transparency is key here. Everyone needs to be heard, valued, and empathized with.  What is going on from another’s perspective, not just your own.  And as a leader in your organization, find the root of the problem and address it. Don’t sweep it under the rug – it’ll find its way out again. Trust us. Toxic behaviors lead to toxic team culture and that is a big no no. Open, honest, collaborative discussions go a long way to establishing loyalty and exhibiting true concern. 

  1. Create a culture of experimentation.  

Encourage autonomy. Ultimately, the decision might come down to the coach/manager/your boss, but hey, your voice matters! Even if you’re the nobody-even-knows-who-I-am intern. Build an intentional culture. Ask: 

  • What should we start doing? 
  • What should we stop doing? 
  • What should we continue doing? 

You’ve probably heard of the cereal, “Shreddies”, right? Well, nobody wanted to eat it when it was a portrayed as a square of shredded wheat. 26-year-old intern (yes, intern!) shared his voice, suggested that square make a slight adjustment – turn it to a diamond and call it “Shreddies” – and there you have it. A one-degree shift in perspective (or in this case, 180-degrees) was the gamechanger. Mic drop.  

After analyzing all of this, it seems that it comes down to communication. Behind the keyboard or not. Hmmm. Surprised? Because I’m certainly not. Communication will make or break you.  

How is your team culture? What can you start doing? What should you stop doing? What do you think you should continue doing because it’s really working out for ya?  

See what I did there? The ball is in YOUR court and your perspective is very valued. 

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