We don’t question enough. As a majority, we like to follow the trusted path in life, and do things generations before us, have done. Our professional journey commences when we first start going to school, as our aspirations are to then, go to college, find our liking, get a job or start a business, earn money and spend the money to live our lives & take care of the people around us. Billions of us have taken this same journey, and with fair assumption, billions will follow the same journey in the future. But, do we have to?
Let’s dive deeper. Taking Maslow’s help, it is understood that our basic needs of food, shelter, clothing, and security need money, but then what about our psychological and self-fulfillment needs? These do not necessarily need money, but unfortunately many of us do not realize this until much later in our lives, and as we have already traversed the known path, it makes sense to continue. In this world of disruption, it is surprising how often we find comfort in the known evil.
Enterprises are no different. They have understood the need to treat their employees well so that they can transfer the same to their customers. Taglines of ‘putting our employees first’, ‘we care about our people’ and being ‘employee-first’ drown out the few who raise their hands to question not the message, but its intent. These lines become quotable quotes and signs of true care but treating a team member better to keep your customers happy seems opportunistic, and far from empathy.
Keeping employees at the core of our business needs to extend from being a mere strategy to a way of life and a common measuring stick for how great enterprises function. Treating employees as our customers, ensuring desirable workplaces, focusing on superb employee experience, and creating avenues for learning & development should come naturally and not because of a published value statement.
The key is not just ensuring employees are happy but getting them to fall in love with what they do, the people they work with and the organization they represent. And reciprocally, falling in love with them. This will transcend any tagline, strategy or value statement, and employee engagement will happen naturally. If we are able to create this environment, teams will be promoted to be themselves, organizations will invest in communication, and build transparent, open, and truly empathetic relationships with one another.
This will lead to the most important reason we stay back even when times are tough, extend our support even if it’s not our core work, and work in line with a meaningful purpose the organization has defined: Comfort. A working environment with open lines of feedback, inclusivity and cultural acceptance of individuality will create a place we are comfortable, and for an environment we spend more time in than any other, this is of paramount importance.
If falling in love professionally was difficult before, now organizations may need to do it in a long distance, digital environment in the post-pandemic world. This is the new challenge ahead of enterprises in the new normal. The challenge gets even more magnified when dealing with large teams in omnipresent environments, but just like in all of our relationships, love has to be built with small incremental actions by each. As long as enterprises continue to court their employees with small, yet meaningful actions, love is bound to happen. And when enterprises and teams fall in love, your customers will follow suit. In this age of abundant choice, only love can keep us together to navigate the dynamic business challenges that are put in front of us everyday.