What commitment do you hold to your organization that keeps you there? If you’re like others who have answered that question in workshops over the past year, your answer would sound something like:
- I believe in what we do, the difference we make, and I want to be part of it, and
- I love the people I work with — I care about them, and they care about me, and
- I am paid well enough to take care of my family.
What do you suppose happened to people whose commitment is wavering, weakened, or gone altogether? When we’ve asked that question of mid-level leaders recently, we’ve heard emotionally packed answers like:
“I don’t even know what we do here anymore.”
“So many great people left. No one cares. They just shift the work to the rest of us.”
“My boss keeps canceling our 1:1 meeting – obviously, I’m not important until my projects go yellow or red – THEN I get a LOT of attention and no support.”
“There’s nothing to belong to here.”
“It’s just a paycheck now.”
Executives aren’t immune. Their stories of disengagement are personal.
“I am flailing. I’m not doing anything well. The skills that got me here aren’t helping me now.”
“What’s wrong with these people? I told them what to do, and I just spent 3 hours doing their work for them. They’re either setting me up, or they’re incompetent.”
“I’ve had it. This is just not worth it.”
People are wired to form groups, belong, and participate in community. It’s what feeds their souls and brings out their best work. Even people who prefer to work independently or are introverted in their information processing need to know that what they’re doing matters and that someone cares about it.
In a 2021 survey, McKinsey reported that employees prioritize feeling valued by their manager and their organization and having a sense of belonging as the most important factors when making career “stay or go” decisions. According to the same survey, employers still focusing on transactional elements as incentives are missing opportunities to retain top talent.
Ron Carucci interviewed human resource executives from companies that reported they were not experiencing the Great Resignation while many other companies were. What were the common retention element across the companies he interviewed? In his Harvard Business Review article, Carucci points to a blended sense of purpose and community — a culture of solidarity — as the differentiator.
Companies that build and protect a community-centered culture have
- 63% more successful product launches
- 20% higher returns to shareholders over a five-year period
and have employees who are
- 73% more enthusiastic about their work
- 69% more willing to navigate change, and
- 90% more likely to recommend their organizations to their colleagues and friends.
If you are concerned that a culture of solidarity means you have to give away the store, get caught up in a benefits war, or compromise your company mission, relax! We are NOT suggesting that you cave in and hope for the best. The truth is that without customer success, you don’t have a company, your employees don’t have jobs, and the question of culture is moot.
We ARE suggesting that the hard work you and your leaders must do to create a culture of solidarity takes courage and grit. It requires vulnerability and willingness to look at how aligned your culture is now to what employees need to do their best work so that your customers are wildly successful, and your business thrives. Everything starts there.
Your culture matters and creating a culture of solidarity is where you have to start if you want to build a foundation that will bulletproof your organization.
Identifying the right place to start can be difficult, but we can help you identify the best place to start for your organization.