I always thought that employers are afraid of remote working, because their full time employees would work less. There’s no trust in self-organization and the fact that we cannot see what they are doing form 9 to 5. (What if they are sleeping or doing laundry?! A nightmare!)
When I lost my last job and didn’t find myself diving into a new one straight away, I spent few months “in between” and promised myself that once its over I’ll write about it, so i don’t forget what this time meant to me.
Not having an employment contract, monthly salary and daily routine is only one side of losing your job. Finding yourself on the edge of vulnerability, learning how to ask for and accept the help of others, having to deal with change, expectations, uncertainty, reinventing yourself and going far outside your comfort zone is what you really get. Here are few things I’ve (re)learned during this time and why it was worth not having a job to do so.
How to retain people through learning to let go and why company-centric cultures are not any longer working.
In between restructurings, talent upgrading and performance management we seems to have lost the art of building long-lasting relationships – although it is so simple and all it needs is a little bit of an attitude change.
When I was in the University I was involved in an amazing non-for-profit organization. I was engaged, committed, worked day and nights simply because I believed in my work and shared the values of the organization. In fact, 5 years later, I still feel I am a part of it – because it united more than people currently working there – it united people sharing the same values and vision. 5 years after my last project with them, I would still gladly support, help and get involved if needed. How many people would gladly do that with the past companies on their CV? That is when the concept of “loyalty” takes the whole new meaning.
There are few lessons I believe companies can learn here about building long-lasting relationships with their current/past employees:
- Build organization seen as community of shared values, vision, principles rather than an “employer”. Employers come and go. Values stay for a lifetime.
- Value employees for what they are and what they want to achieve in life, not only in your company. Allowing them to be honest and driven by their true passion, might cost you an employee in a short term (it would anyway), but would earn a future customer and informal promoter.
- Take pride in being a part of someone’s career on the way of unleashing their greatness. Of course you want talented people to stay and become the next CEO. But let’s be honest there’s only few roles of that level in the company, and we still want ambitious people with us – so maybe we should be ok with letting them continue reaching their ambition somewhere else.
- Be ok with people not staying with one company forever. It is not even healthy – we all need diverse experiences, different perspectives, change to continue growing. Since we love hiring externally, maybe we should be ok with people consciously deciding to leave.
- When employees leave – don’t slam the door in their faces, keep it open. Regardless of whether they decide to go or their manager decided to let them go, keep the good relationship, celebrate what they did while being here, wish them good luck in whatever they decide to do.
There are already quite a few organizations in the world that have Alumni networks. Just by having one companies state that they appreciate people that were there at some point of their careers, regardless how long they stayed, they were part of a shared experience. These companies recognize the changing world and celebrate themselves as those who were and keep attracting the brightest minds and support those in their aspirations.
Many companies see this change of attitude as a risky encouragement of people leaving and failing making a long-term talent investments. But in reality, treating and appreciating people in this way would result in higher engagement, increased retention, better reputation on the market and would attract diverse ambitious talented people you always wanted to hire.
It’s time to realize that organizations on their own are not the centre of the universe. We are: the people regardless of the position or role. Because we change working places, we grow, we have our reasons to engage, and if we decide, the organization would cease to exist and something new would be created.
We all have our own paths and our greatness to achieve. All the roles and positions are simply the steps and tools to deliver the greatness. Organizations should understand that and change. As so should we by consciously taking charge of our careers.
As organizations we all want to have people on board who believe they have a great job. Those are most motivated, committed, creative, productive people at work. As individuals we all wish we had a great job, as it would make us happier and more excited human beings. So what is a great job?
We learnt to believe that it’s not about only about the job content; that people don’t leave companies – they leave managers. I believe while bad managers can be a trigger for a final decision, there is more to work that makes it “great”, and not just “ok”. Here are some of the key parts of a Great Job:
- Job itself: what we do on every day basis, how much meaning we see in it and how much it inspires us. Let’s say, if it were your own business and if you didn’t need money, – would you still be doing this?
- The journey: are you supported in your journey with knowledge and development you need to be successful in your job? Do you know what ‘success’ means in your job? Are you clear on the direction you’re moving in? Are you recognised and appreciated for your work?
- Leadership: do you in heart support leadership decisions; do you feel ‘on board’ with the company’s direction? In day-to-day life, are you supported with the right type of leadership that helps you to be successful?
- Team environment: team spirit, team culture, team dynamics. If you could choose your own team, – would these be the people you’d surround yourself with?
- Working environment: does office culture encourage you to be yourself and appreciates your uniqueness? Are office traditions aligned with who you are and what you value?
- Working space: does your office physical space encourage development, innovation, exchange of ideas? Do you feel it’s a ‘playground’ for your every day work? Do you feel excited coming to office every day?
- The role of work in life: is your work an organic part of your life? Or does it stand on the way of living your life outside of office? Are conditions of your work flexible enough to accommodate your lifestyle and changes that might happen in your life?
Consciously or subconsciously, these are the key things that make you happy, excited about your work, motivated every morning to kick off yet another working day. And at some point these will be pros or cons for “should I stay or should I go” decision.
So these are the things I’m excited to explore further, write about, reflect on or challenge on! All with the belief that there’s a better way to work, and it is in our interest to find it.