By Liz Bentley
I was recently flying out to San Diego on a business trip when the person next to me eagerly told me about her work. She lit up as she talked about the medical instrument company she worked for and described in detail how they were creating a new device that would save lives. Her energy was contagious. She was thrilled by the importance of the work she was doing and the possibility of its impact on so many people. Most leaders want their employees to describe their work with the same exuberance as my plane mate. And even more, they hope that their employees are committed to giving 110% when no one is looking…meaning they do their best at all times no matter the circumstance or the reward. They want their employees to feel the same level of commitment that they do as the leader – to be “all in.” But the reality is, this is not easy to achieve. In a world where we need to be connected to work 24/7, employees feel exhausted and overworked. Add in the lack of promise for a bonus, raise or promotion and people can feel stuck and frustrated. Leaders who are also under tremendous pressure to perform and drive results can over focus on goals, sales objectives, process improvement and growth at the expense of the people. This leaves people feeling stressed and underappreciated. This can result in negative attitudes and slowed productivity. Our TrendSpotter Alert is this: If you want to improve employee loyalty and drive better results in your company, you need to focus on the employee experience. The new cash card for companies looking to build a great culture where people want to work rests on creating a sense of meaning and connectedness. Now more than ever people want to come to work and feel meaning. They want to feel like their work matters and understand how their individual contributions help to make a difference on their team, in the company, and sometimes in the world. They also want to feel connected to and cared about – whether that means knowing the name of their dog or truly appreciating how hard they work and how their unique strengths bring value to the team. They do not want to just be a string of digits. And here is an extra tip: meaning and connectedness are especially important to the Millennials. They will not leave your company if they feel valued. And it’s important to make this shift now because by 2025 the Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. And guess what? All the other age groups like feeling valued too so it will work for everyone. People give 110% when they feel purpose. It doesn’t matter if you sell diapers or widgets. We all want to feel like we matter and are making a difference. Build a company culture on meaning and connectedness and you will see your results rise.