By Georgina Barrick
A quote attributed to Confucius says “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” I recently celebrated my second year with ADvTECH – and it really was a celebration in the true sense of the word. It also gave me pause to reflect on why this is such a happy place for me.
I have worked for six other companies during the course of my career. At various junctures, I’ve experienced periods of great satisfaction and joy, as well as frustration and dissatisfaction. Thinking back on my career, I reflected on a variety of factors that make me realise the kind of culture that suits me best – and why I really love my job today.
Firstly, when work really doesn’t feel like work in the traditional sense and feels more like contribution or collaboration, it is no longer a chore that must be completed. For this to happen, a company requires a team that is actively creating something fulfilling; where each member sees the bigger picture – the end goals – and knows that it is greater than all of them.
Contracts: So much more than a legal document
Starting a new job requires that an employee and the company sign a legal contract that give the parameters within which the employee is expected to operate. However, the “perfect fit” employee doesn’t just take a job – they enter into a relationship with the organisation. On a much deeper level, this relationship is born out of the shared belief that together they can achieve common objectives – and both succeed.
Achieving these objectives, no matter how big or small they are, is as important to the right employee as it is to the company. The company therefore has a duty, as an equal partner in the relationship, to foster the environment and provide the tools for the employee to thrive and excel. This is not a 50/50 relationship, but rather a relationship where each party brings 100%
As the other committed partner in the relationship, the employee has a duty to be conscious, agile and focused on achieving the common objectives. It’s like dating – when organisations and employees commit exclusively to each other, they need to humble themselves to ensure they are always communicating, getting feedback, compromising, adjusting and growing.
The value of the individual to the team
The feeling of being a true partner and a valued part of the bigger picture creates a shift in both personal and organisational attitude that comes as a sort of “awakening”; knowing that participation in a team of like-minded individuals with shared values and behaviours is key in achieving goals. When each member of the team strives for collective objectives, putting in equal energy on every project they undertake, their success becomes the company’s success and vice-versa.
Becoming that “perfect fit” and thriving in a specific company culture requires mental agility and flexibility, and the understanding that the company’s well-being depends on the totality of individual efforts. So, how does leadership achieve this?
The famed entrepreneur and businessman Richard Branson once suggested that in any company, both leadership and employees just want to know, ‘Am I being listened to, or am I a cog in the wheel?’ “People really need to feel wanted,” he added.
Not only is it essential that leadership and other team members listen, it’s important that everyone feels as if they have been heard, which in turn translates into “wanted”. Work becomes a mutual exchange of ideas and values in an environment of respect. This is a cost-free solution to a problem that can keep teams from working together cohesively and impact negatively on an organisation’s bottom line.
When building a team that needs to really hear what your clients are saying, your team must feel heard. In return, you’ll get a group of people who hear you and your clients, while understanding the effort they must put in to maintain their 100% of the relationship.
Company leaders who encourage bonds between individuals largely end up with team members who work together like finely-tuned clocks. The energy generated becomes not only company culture, but client service culture too. This is where the bells ring! The cycle is perpetuated, not because customers know how many tiny parts make up the delicate machinery they are engaging with, but because customers feel the effects of a group of people who are not so much “at work” as “serving”.
Having a team filled with people who want to get up and go to work every day; who are determined to shine; who know how to give their best and have the desire to do so takes a melding of attitudes between leadership and employees. Being heard, feeling “part of” and not “apart from” and hearing that you are valued is the key to any successful marriage – not least the marriage between the happy staff member and the successful company.
About the writer: Georgina Barrick is the MD of Brent Personnel, Insource / IT Edge and Cassel&Co, all divisions of ADvTECH Resourcing. She has over 20 years of recruitment and executive search experience.