Gone are the days when offering strong health care benefits, a generous match on a retirement plan, or a fun work/life balance experience (think: standing desks, work from home flexibility) are enough to convince top talent to join and stay at an organization. Those are table stakes now.
Certainly, a company can give a valued employee something material — a health benefits stipend, a raise, office “perks” as rewards for efficiency and hard work. Yet any reward revolving around money or material goods curiously falls short. The sugar rush reaction to a monetary reward doesn’t last because that raise simply readjusts the person’s outlook to their new baseline. Paying your outstanding team members well and providing an engaging culture are important but ultimately lacking.
The new narrative needs to be creating an environment centered upon cultivating personal growth to see transformational change in your team member’s lives.
As leaders, we all earnestly hope that our team comes to work eager and energized, finishing each day feeling fulfilled and genuinely proud of the impact they’ve made. This utopian idea always seems to be within grasp but never obtainable on a consistent basis. This is no truer for an employer than it is for each of us individually in our own lives. Life’s constant list of to-do’s tends to mask real fulfillment. Our daily work, striving to be good parents, spouses, and a force for good in our communities, constantly needs our attention. In this environment it is easy to mistake “busy” for “purpose.”
The problem is that when the hectic season of our life passes and we retire from work … all of a sudden that ecosystem of readily available stimuli vanishes. If we haven’t integrated critical disciplines into our lives and been intentional about pursuing a purposeful life ahead of time, we can become lost.
Interestingly enough, if we put fulfillment at the forefront of our employees’ plans for the future, we can help them avoid painful disappointment later in life — and we can slowly mold them in the present toward that desired vision. This provides an intangible benefit: They start to see their employer as a force for personal growth and transformation, not just a boss. We as leaders can be integral in this process for our team members, nourishing their present and future simultaneously.
This approach can take many forms. At our company, we undertake a multitude of initiatives to see this standard become a reality. Here are a few examples:
• Host a recurring morning inspiration devotional given by a guest speaker or a team member.
• Periodically read and discuss stirring books together.
• Attend the Global Leadership Summit together (see https://globalleadership.org/global-leadership-summit).
• Employ giving-back initiatives that help us constantly receive that drip of needed perspective. Paid time off for volunteering and company paid support of organizations that the team is passionate about are a few examples.
Notice that these have absolutely nothing to do with the bottom line, growth or profitability, which is what many business leaders focus on. Instead, they are purely intangible processes that produce organic personal growth for each unique team member. None of the traditional “performance” metrics, such as profitability, will be as great as you hoped they would be unless your entire team is growing personally and feeling inspired.
We wrote the new book titled afterwork to aid in this process for those who want to pursue purpose in their lives and the lives of the people they are closely connected with. The book’s message lays out 10 keys that hold the power to advance transformational change in your life, so that the years ahead, regardless of your age or situation, can be your most impactful, purposeful season yet.
An organization’s long-term success hinges upon the growth of the individuals who comprise it. Instead of leaving the office drained, your team can leave for the day personally fulfilled while constantly pursuing the best version of themselves. An entirely new fruitful era for you and your organization can begin. It’s time to think beyond a cool culture. It’s time to leap headlong into transformation.
Alex Lippert is a partner at Steadfast Wealth Co. in Colorado Springs. For more information about his book afterwork: An honest discussion about the retirement lie and how to live a future worthy of dreams (co-authored with Joel Malick), go to theafterwork.net.