In parts 1 and 2 we covered two of the three elements you need to focus on that will help you become an employer of choice, and give you the power to hold on to the talent in your company. Those were Environment and Development.
In this final episode of the series, let’s focus on Wellbeing. And don’t make the mistake of thinking Wellbeing is just an add on, something to think about only when someone brings it up.
Oh no. Remember I mentioned in a prior episode that this is the YOLO Generation – the You Only Live Once Generation. Well, that’s because people are taking a pause, looking at their daily existence with a critical eye, and making decisions based on how they think their lives will or won’t be improved.
Gone are the days of pay your dues now, for great success later. They want, if not wild success, at least fulfilment and joy – now. They aren’t willing to wait. Their perspective is – if this recent year has taught me anything, it’s that life is, in fact, too short – and you can’t just assume that tomorrow will bring you joy, or in fact that tomorrow will come. So make the very most of today. Make sure you’re happy – today. Make sure you are being well – today.
And while I know all that can’t be just layered over on an employer’s shoulders – everyone spends a significant amount of their time at work, in fact almost 25% – and that’s assuming you’re only working 8 hours a day, 5 days a week – and we all know that mostly, we’re working a LOT longer hours than that. So, what your employer does, and how they do it, has a big impact on how that time is spent, and how you feel during that time.
“…Working for a company that takes social justice, equality and equity seriously; is a huge part of your employees being well. Workers aren’t just focused on how much they’re getting paid, they want to know that their company has integrity, solid core values and is, simply put – one of the good guy“
Don’t fool yourself, we as leaders really do have the accountability to do what we can to make that time – time well spent.
And that means, addressing the mental and emotional wellbeing of our teams.
Alright, enough of the life coaching language – here are some actual tactics you can implement to support your team’s wellbeing.
First up – time off. OK, OK – stop rolling your eyes. Actually, most of us already offer time off in the form of vacation days, or personal days, holidays, or even sick days. Well, think about enhancing them. And yes, there are lots of things you can do that won’t add to your vacation liability, and won’t gut your productivity levels.
Most of us have heard of, and may even have, some form of Summer Fridays – when the team can leave early on Fridays to get a jump start on their summer weekend. Well, why not look at making that year round. Now, you don’t have to make every Friday shortened for the whole year – open your mind to more creative possibilities. What about everyone gets 1 Friday a month when they can leave at noon or 3:00pm. Generally that won’t have a significant impact on getting the work done, and it can do wonders for your employee’s frame of mind. Make a rotating schedule, and call it something like Winter Hours.
And please make note of the fact that I’m not saying this should supplant Summer Hours if you have them. Don’t add a perk only to replace another perk. In the words of my grade school buddy – no take backies.
Another option – and this may be too rich for your blood – but LinkedIn recently announced that it was closing the whole company down for a week and giving its workers a paid week off. The strategy behind closing the company is to give the team time to recharge and avoid burnout, particularly in light of the burden everyone has been under during the pandemic. With everyone off at the same time, you don’t have to worry that your work world is going on without you, and as a result you come back to a pile of undone work and countless eMails.\
Of course, not every company has the model, or revenue stash, of LinkedIn. But let their example be a springboard for you – what (again creative) options could you put in place to acknowledge and thank everyone for hanging in there during VERY tough times.
And of course, no discussion about wellbeing would be complete without addressing the latest elephant in the room – remote working schedules. No matter if you’re of the, – we are going to get rid of the office and be fully remote all the time; or our business requires everyone to be in the office together, at least most of the time.
No matter which best describes your mindset – you might as well face the fact that most companies will need to implement some version of offsite working. It doesn’t matter if you call it remote, hybrid or telecommuting (wow, that’s a blast from the past) – some version of that is bound to exist in most companies going forward. So, if you want to be competitive in the talent wars, you’ll need to join the fray.
But again, be creative. Look at your business needs, talk to your employees and ask what they want, look at what other companies are doing, talk to your business owner friends and colleagues. Once you hear about all the variations out there in the marketplace, it’ll probably spur you on to the perfect solution for your business.
In an earlier episode I mentioned that you would have to take a good look at salaries and what the market is offering. Well, another perspective on that is equity. Working for a company that takes social justice, equality and equity seriously; is a huge part of your employees being well. Workers aren’t just focused on how much they’re getting paid, they want to know that their company has integrity, solid core values and is, simply put – one of the good guys. That means taking discrimination and harassment seriously. Being diligent about ongoing training and experiences to help employees, and the business, be more inclusive and engaging. And it means taking care of things like equity; both in terms of pay and opportunity.
When Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce realized his company had a pay equity problem, he took the painful, and expensive, step to solve it. When John Landgraf, the CEO of FX, found that his network had the worst record when it came to hiring female and non-white directors, he sent a clear message (and an actual letter) to all his showrunners, making it clear that things had to change, and quickly.
The result of this type of bold and decisive action, is that your employees become bonded to your company like never before. When you can visibly align with their feelings about doing the right thing and making a difference – well, that’s when you set yourself up to win the talent wars, all day long.
And finally, a bit more grounded in the personal day to day – how about getting everyone a subscription to an online meditation app, like the Calm app. Or, figuring out some way to subsidize a chore – like a discount with a meal delivery service, or dry cleaning pick up services, or a voucher for something like taskrabbit, so they can take care of household fix it chores.
And yes, there will be a budget outlay involved. But, to borrow a phrase – it’s the culture stupid. That’s where you have to focus. Besides, how much does it cost the company when a talented team member leaves?
So, pay a bit now, or pay a lot later.