Recent conversations with colleagues at some of the Best Companies to Work for have gotten me thinking about what it is that we really want from our workplaces.
On the one end of the spectrum, we see people working for the money, but even more for the benefits, and if they are lucky, a modicum of respect from their co-workers and managers. On the other end of the spectrum, we see people working for a sense of belonging to something greater than themselves, an ability to grow not just as professionals but as people, and opportunities to express their passions and talents.
Whether at a horrific workplace or a great workplace, we work so that we can lead the lives we want to live. We work so that we can provide for ourselves, so we can raise our children, care for our families, contribute to our communities, and be able to enjoy ourselves along the way.
The recent conversations that led me to this conclusion went something like this:
- An HR executive from a healthcare organization called to let me know that she would be unavailable for the next 4 weeks. Her employer had granted her a four week leave of absence so that she could be with her only daughter at the birth of her first grandchild.
- A Communications Director for a national retail chain asked me to call her on home telephone number. She’d been working from home that day so that she could attend her daughter’s kindergarten orientation.
- A District Manager with a national food service chain told me how great it was to have a job that let him live near his family, and work early on in the day, so he could pick his sons up from school and attend their baseball games.
My guess is that these folks love their jobs. Actually, I know they love their jobs because they’ve told me they do. They weren’t bragging about high salaries or flashy benefits. Their perception of their jobs was not based on incentive trips to Hawaii or onsite laundry facilities. Rather, they felt respected as people. People with lives and families. To them, their workplaces are great because their workplaces respect their priorities outside of work, probably knowing that it will lead to better performance by those people at work.
What does your workplace do to support you in living your life?
Leslie Caccamese is an Interim Program Director at Great Place to Work® Institute.