Subtle shifts are taking place worldwide that are affecting the way we think, feel and perceive life. These shifts are slowly but steadily altering the business landscape. The future wave of business is to sustain a mindset that nurtures, supports and respects each and every person. We are moving from self-focus to focused service.
To “focus” translates in the business world as being fully engaged in your company, whether you are a solo entrepreneur, a CEO or an employee. It means being motivated to bring excellence to each task you perform. It means feeling good about going to work each morning.
An interesting study was conducted in 2007-08 among 90,000 employees in 18 countries to look at the relationship between employee engagement and organizational performance. The Towers Perrin Study found that companies with highly engaged employees had a 19 percent increase in operating income while those with the lowest levels had a 32 percent decline.
The study also found that only 20 percent of all employees were fully engaged. Forty percent were capable but not fully committed, and 40 percent were disengaged.
What is it that makes and keeps people engaged in their work — especially if it’s not their “dream job”?
Perks and benefits, for one thing. Large corporations and forward-thinking companies offer a diverse variety of benefits, ranging from providing on-site recreation facilities to offering profit-sharing plans, bereavement leave, elder-care subsidies and domestic-partner insurance coverage.
Intel offers online homework help for its employees’ children, subsidies for public transportation, access to wellness coaches and paid sabbaticals.
Merck offers many on-site day care and fitness centers as well as on-site banking services.
Google offers free gourmet food, on-site laundry, dry-cleaning and alterations, an outdoor sports complex and a star-studded lineup of speakers.
Not bad, but what if you’re a small business running without extra cash on hand to support such lavish perks? What can you offer your employees to have them singing your praises, engaged in their work and supporting your company’s vision?
The first thing that comes to mind is an experience I had years ago working for the CEO of a small company. He became my mentor and role model. Why? Simply stated, he cared. It wasn’t about “me” with him; it was about “us.”
First of all, he was down to earth and approached people as an equal. I remember a homeless man wandering into our building one day. Jerry took him up to his office and quietly listened to him — giving him as much time as he would have given to a prospect or client. You knew you were valued in his presence as he treated everyone with respect and thoughtfulness.
And believe me, it was felt, appreciated and reciprocated with dedication to his company. He was generous — often treating us to long lunches. He allowed me to leave early every day to honor other commitments, plus attend an outside meeting once a week. He trusted his employees and he earned our trust, loyalty and engagement.
Offering creative and individualized benefits are a powerful part of the new business mindset. Below are more concepts that reflect it.
» Taking good care of yourself and others.
» Being present, nonjudgmental, accepting, inclusive and welcoming.
» Meeting people at their level.
» Listening with empathy.
» Mobilizing, inspiring and valuing your employees.
»Establishing a foundation from which your business runs with integrity, trust and compassion.
These factors are a part of the new business model that will lead us from competiveness to cooperation, selfishness to selflessness, and from waste to wise stewardship.
It’s exciting to take part in today’s evolving business consciousness and to know that you are assuredly playing your part in helping to make it a better world.