Subscribe to get updates sent to your inbox!
Picture this: you have a well-paying job, good benefits and solid workload; all at a company with a decent-to-favorable reputation in its industry.
But you wake up every morning to your alarm, and your first thoughts give you a feeling of dread. You cannot bear the thought of going into work each day, and your time there is spent watching the clock; waiting for quitting time to come. The work isn’t necessarily the problem, but the environment seemingly sucks every bit of life out of you before you even get to your car.
Sounds terrible – and possibly too-familiar, right?
You’re not alone: a 2014 Gallup Poll found that even with engagement at its highest level since 2000, fully 51 percent of employees were still not engaged at their jobs – with 17.5 percent of respondents classifying themselves as “actively disengaged.”
Not so at Standing Partnership.
Since starting at Standing Partnership late last year, I’ve seen this all first-hand. Gone are the days of sitting in a windowless office under the stairs (not joking – and I know some of you have been there, too). I now find myself in a position where I see conscious effort to create an office culture that is inviting, engaging and attracts employees based on their fit with that environment; one which evolves with the workforce. In my experience, that goes a long way to preventing disengagement in the first place.
Here at Standing Partnership, company culture is considered in everything that we do – but it’s not all ping-pong tables and catered lunches like you’ll find in some types of companies (though the communal fridge and daily food truck rotation isn’t bad … except for our wallets and waistlines!).
A focus on a collaborative workplace where people can be themselves while actively helping achieve clear business goals is central to the success of the company, and our employees as a whole.
Established, Visible Core Values
Culture, as defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization.” At Standing Partnership, the core values of Collaboration, Innovation, Integrity and Passion are posted visibly and sincerely. It’s not just talk, it reminds us all that we are accountable for everything we do – so we’d better be working toward a happy environment together!
The also serves as a visible sign that these goals are everyone’s to achieve, not just the highest-ranking employees. Everyone has something to contribute, and demonstrating commitment to those values is important – whether an intern, senior vice president or everyone in-between.
Investing in Employee Success
Much has been made of the apparent entitlement of the millennial generation, but regardless of varied opinions, millennials are now the largest generation in the American workforce, so there’s no turning back.
A pessimist might say “that’s a lot of participation awards to give out,” but contrary to what you may have heard, it’s not meaningless rewards that motivate millennials – it’s the ability to pursue things passionately and with meaning. It’s especially helpful to provide millennials – and all employees – with opportunities to constantly improve themselves.
Standing Partnership knows we can’t achieve goals without our employees, so we make a concerted effort to help build employees’ skills and experience. Want to learn to code? Tell us! Want to attend a conference? Find one that fits with your personal goals, and hop on that registration list! Want to spend two months travelling the world to study how Norwegian salmon fisherman can teach us a lot about sustainability? … Well, that may have to wait for a sabbatical year, but it’s on the map!
The benefits seen from investment in employee development are two-fold. First, it shows the employee that they’re not just another worker ant; they possess skills and the desire to continually improve – and their motivation to do so is rewardable. Second, these investments help employees in their personal growth, which in-turn helps us provide better insight, enhanced results and more quality services to clients. Win-Win.
It’s hardly news that working somewhere you just don’t like being at is terrible for productivity. Toiling all day under fluorescent lighting doesn’t top anyone’s list of “things I’m looking for in an office.” While work needs to be done well and to clients’ exacting standards, there’s always a way to enliven the daily routine.
Our clean, bright office, open doors and breakout rooms allow us to change it up every day. Need to snag a meeting room for a quick discussion? Grab a soda from the fridge on your way, and get it done! Have a standing desk? That works, bring it on in! Need a spot for some quick collaboration? Take a seat at one of the open area collaboration stations and bounce some ideas off your co-workers without a formal meeting.
It’s “Nature vs. Nurture” on a micro scale. Providing options to nurture a collaborative, collegial environment breaks up the monotony that all-too-often plagues offices. It’s a simple step towards a robust, enjoyable company culture.
But Can We Do It All?
Your industry may not allow for institution of every productivity-and-morale-raising policy, but giving attention to the biggest pain points your staff experiences on a daily basis is definitely time well spent. Whether that takes the form of “fixing the big one” to shake things up completely, or picking the small, instantly achievable problem to demonstrate commitment to fixing in-house problems over time, progress is progress and your office will be better for it!
There will be good days and bad days at every job, but with a company culture built around enjoying the time spent at work as much as possible – while adhering to incredibly high quality standards – sets everyone up for success, less burnout and good-old-fashioned fun in the office.