This week I received a text message from a co-worker. A simple act of kindness by someone else we work with turned their whole day around and they wanted to share this positive experience with me. The energy was clear. It was positive. One of our leadership team members had taken a moment to recognize that my co-worker was under additional stress and simply took some snacks to their desk and offered to listen. How simple is that? A few moments to connect with your people, and literally, the energy in the department changed for the better—instantly.
Energy can be both positive and negative, and both have equally strong impacts on people. When I read that text message, I knew exactly who the leader was. I’ve seen this leader perform simple acts of kindness and watched how that positive energy turned things around for others. Our organization is most definitely lucky to have people like this spreading their positive energy! This IS the corporate culture that organizations seek to build. Unfortunately, many companies are looking to build it with “stuff” instead of recognizing that YOUR PEOPLE ARE YOUR CULTURE. Build them up and they’ll build your organization up. Tear them down, and, well….you see where this is going, right?
Observing positive energy can have an impact on your mood, causing you to share that positivity with others, and they share it with even more people. Positive energy is contagious. Before you know it, your organization is fueling the company culture with positivity. Others are inviting their coworkers to join the Energy Bus and driving even more positive energy. Now people are happy. Now company culture has meaning. And now your organization is thriving. Side note: The Energy Bus is an excellent read.
The Harvard Business Review joined Forces with The Energy Project and determined that when four basic needs are met, employees were happy and organizations thrive.
The four basic core needs are:
- Spiritual Well-being
When people are well rested, have a balance to maintain good nutrition and exercise, are appreciated and valued at work and are given the space and autonomy to think creatively and be challenged, they experience a deeper sensation of being part of something worthwhile. The amazing thing about these core needs is that they don’t just apply to one working generation over another. All HUMANS desire to have a sense of belonging and value.
Sony worked with the Energy Project to address their disengaged company culture. Instead of pushing their people to work harder and perform better, they started fulfilling the four core needs and, despite the 2008 recession, Sony had its most profitable year. Other companies are recognizable for how their company culture drives their brand too. Just think about Apple, Zappos, Walt Disney, Southwest Airlines, Amazon, Walmart, United Airlines, McDonald’s, Costco, Whole Foods, UPS, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn…. and so on—they are all known—either positively or negatively, for their corporate culture. When we think about these organizations and how their employees project the energy of their culture, we make a decision to do business with them or not. We make a decision to consider working for them. We make a decision on their brand as it relates to their people and the energy that is shared…. whether it be positive or negative. Salespeople often say, “People buy from people,” and I’m a firm believer in this statement. I personally buy from the person representing the organization, not the organization itself.
Sounds simple, right? Of course it is! So why are organizations struggling to drive their company culture in the positive direction needed? Some might say that they’ve “dehumanized” their business. Focusing more on “the numbers” rather than the health of the people that drive their profits.
A few simple ideas to leverage technology to bring the human element into your culture:
- Encourage and display employee recognition comments
- Share pieces of your employees' personal life by displaying images of their pets, hobbies, families
- Connect an internal company hashtag to share social-media content on screens throughout your office
- Engage in more community events that your employees have interest in or personally support
- Surprise your people with small tokens of appreciation and encourage your employees to do so amongst themselves too
Company culture makes a difference! What are you doing to contribute to the positive energy and drive positive results?