[Editor’s note: This content comes from Ragan Training, the go-to video library resource for communications professionals. Learn more at www.ragantraining.com]
The workplace is in flux communicators scramble to re-engage employees returning to the office.
Here are three quick tips to inspire, empower and retain your employees amid the “Great Resignation.” They were shared by Josh Levine, founder of Great Mondays and author of “Great Mondays: How to Design a Company Culture Employees Love” in a Ragan Training Roundtable for members last week.
1. Focus on the three F’s. “The future of work is still very much up in the air,” says Levine in the roundtable. “This is scary to some, but it’s also a historic moment and an opportunity to transform your workplace for the better.”
His advice: “Accept that the balance of power has shifted and that employees have the upper hand.” “
“They have a hierarchy of needs and pay is no longer at the top,” Levine says. “More kombucha, ping-pong and free coffee won’t cut it [anymore].”
Instead, “Folks want a deeper connection to their work,” he says. “Freedom, flexibility and fulfillment are what they’re after.”
2. Try the Obituary Exercise. How can you help employees find that fulfillment? “Focus on the ‘why’ of what you do—focus on meaning and purpose,” suggests Levin.
To crystallize your company’s purpose, he recommends the Obituary Exercise.
Here’s how it works: “If your company had to close in 20 years, what would the obituary say—or what would you want it to say? What would it not say? What are the most important things your company did and will be remembered for? Beyond making money, why did your company exist? That’s how you home in on purpose,” he says.
Your answer to these questions can form the basis of your company’s purpose statement.
“Use the most important words or phrases from the obituary,” Levine says. “It should be written in 25 words or less and start with the phrase, ‘To.’”
He shares this example from pet accessories supplier Petcha:
“To help more people have better lives by becoming great pet owners.”
3. Embrace rituals and cues. Companies must do more than craft and demonstrate a compelling purpose to create a culture employees love.
“The biggest problem with remote work is finding a way to deepen relationships,” says Levine. “Collaborative work and culture go down the toilet without relationships—and ritual is what helps build them. You have to offer connections beyond work and get to know people.”
Messaging apps, virtual watercoolers and tools such as Donut can help.
“Donut is a Slack plug-in that creates collisions and assigns connections in the app,” Levine explains. “That way people who wouldn’t usually interact can team up for things like virtual trivia.”
Demo days, lunch-and-learns and even virtual happy hours with mixologists can go a long way toward cementing culture and creating deeper connections. But even that’s not enough.
“Culture just isn’t something that’s top of mind as you’re hitting deadlines,” says Levine. “Cues are how you keep that story about your purpose and aspirations in front as you work.”
Of course, the classic cue is the mission statement on the lunchroom wall.
“But in today’s hybrid workplace, that might be something more like a screen saver sharing your purpose statement,” Levine says.