I was once questioned at an interview – “What’s the most important thing for you when you evaluate a new job opportunity”. I did not have to think much as I always knew what would make me happy. I answered, “ An environment that gives me the flexibility to do and try things differently resulting in learning and adding true value to the job I’m assigned”. I’m not denying that money is not important – but having a job where you look forward to each day has its own thrill – And I’m blessed to have both.
Covid has changed the way we look at what a good work culture should look like. With most employees continuing to work from home, having a fancy office with a game room and food/coffee on the house is no longer a lucrative aspect to sell to get the best talent join your organization. Rewards and Recognition , perks and benefits is definitely what keeps people motivated to give their best, but is there anything more to it?
A culture of an organization is built with the little pieces of fabric all sewed together to create an environment that is conducive to both – employee happiness and growth of the company – which are interlinked. I have listed a few of these things which will play an important factor in how would the future of work culture be defined as
1. Hiring Business Partners not Employees – In simple words, every person who joins your organization should have a clear understanding on how they are contributing towards the larger vision. Strategic decision making should not be restricted to boardroom discussions but an open conversation where opinions are taken. While KRAs are based on individual performance, add common goals to it. For eg: In one of the companies that I worked at, the CEO made it mandatory, for every employee regardless of your role to have atleast 1 customer interaction asking for feedback on our products. This exercise resulted in collaborative problem solving, new product ideas and efficient processes which would have not been thought of otherwise.
2. Making workplace a second family – People spend 8-10 working, it’s almost a second home for them. With remote working becoming more common, it’s important we help people built those connections not just within their departments. A team member reported to me for almost a year and I never got to know she and I both had a common love for photography – because we never discussed anything beyond work. Making “FUN” an important part of work culture is an important element towards mental-wellbeing. Creating groups of common interest to bring people together is a simple and cost-effective way of employee engagement and creating a sense of belonging.
3. Changing the way we look at Rewards and Recognition – Public appreciation, certificates, cash rewards, trophies, paid vacations – There is no doubt that all these drive motivation. But how about we think of R&R beyond just being monetary. With a little creative, we can achieve this. Your Employee of the Month can be offered a “Lunch with the CEO” or a seat at one of your strategic meetings with the leadership team. An opportunity to work in a different department for a week, or represent the company at a conference. The idea is to give the employee the “choice” of choosing their rewards rather than we deciding what’s best for them.
Work culture is built by the decisions and whom do you involve in the process, it is made by how you communicate with your employees. Every organization has a vision – a mission but how you want to get there is determined by your values and your values determine the culture.
The Future of Work Culture is quite simple yet complex – Create an environment where there are no Monday Blues and people look forward to each day – to learn, to contribute, to grow, to be better than what they were yesterday.