Companies who have built great cultures are winning the battle for top talent.
A great culture is not created by luck, or wins, or an HR person. It is the cumulative, human impact of how your leaders show up everyday – and if you believe that everyone is a leader to someone, that means we all contribute to culture.
In part-three of Culture is Queen we are taking it back to the basics of culture building: creating a sense of connection and belonging with your people.
According to EY’s Belonging Barometer study, thirty-nine percent of respondents said that when colleagues check in with them about how they are doing both personally and professionally, they feel the greatest sense of belonging at work. In fact, people appear to value check-ins more than public recognition, receiving invitations to events outside the office, and being invited to meet with top leaders.
Building connection with another person can be hard. Some people seem to do it more easily than others. The pandemic was a bit of a level-setter that made building connection harder for us all. We need connection; we are social animals. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that almost every person I know is going through some sort of existential crisis at the moment – be it one of a job, relationship, friendship, faith, or their general mental and physical health. It is hard to build connection when everyone around you is freaking out either obviously or worse, inwardly. This is the environment we are supposed to build connections in? Sometimes it feels impossible. But you already know I am going to tell you that it is not.
If you care about culture and you are feeling the disconnection at work, I invite you to consider sharing more of yourself with others. This is the place to start – being a little more real. And when I say ‘being real’ it’s not in a ‘finally I can really tell Phil off’ kind of way. NOT like Ricky Jervais in Afterlife. I mean choosing to share something more about yourself and being the one who goes first to do it. There isn’t connection without understanding and part of that is helping others understand you, too.
Doing this sort of ‘share something’ thing with someone does not feel comfortable the first time. And I don’t think it ever gets totally comfortable. Downer, I know. Connecting with people is a vulnerable choice; there’s just no getting around it. But when we do, very cool things happen.
I have seen many people speak and act with vulnerability during this pandemic and the ripple it causes is a good one. Even across the screen, I can see the energy shift in the other framed faces when someone demonstrates vulnerability in a safe space. It is one of the only times I can really see what others are thinking and feeling on a screen. And it is powerful.
If you are already an ace at opening up, take the next step by inviting others to do the same. Ask gentle questions, be curious, and trust you have created a safe space for people to share a little more, like you have. If you can deepen your understanding of others and their understanding of you it will strengthen your culture
Will I feel compelled to write a follow up piece to this titled How to Deal with Oversharers? I doubt it. For every oversharer there are way more people that don’t share much of anything at all.
This is the last instalment of our three-part Culture Is Queen series. Here are the key take aways from each article:
- The burn out is real. How to address capacity so you can put more focus on culture.
- Cloning yourself could lead to other possibilities.
- Having psychological safety is the foundation for building a great culture.
- This author has scored on her own goaltender.
- Connection is created through mutual understanding. Try sharing a bit more about yourself. Go first.
- This is not permission to act like a jerk.
Good luck finding the capacity to spend more time on your people, fostering an environment that allows them to open up, and opening up yourself while inviting others to do the same. These are small but powerful intentions that go a long way to building a strong culture made up of mutually understood and respected humans. And as with most things in life, it starts with you.