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We live in a time of cynicism. This is a time when Dilbert—a comic strip about office politics, corporate bureaucracy, and incompetence—is often cut out and posted in the very offices it parodies, a testament to our collective cynicism about our work.
Cynicism is contagious in a company, but so too is compassion. You have the power to choose a positive attitude and help it spread. If it can spread through your organization, then even a single small choice to choose a good attitude can become part of the company culture.
In Hallelujah! An Anthem for Purposeful Work, we’ve outlined these key principles for developing a culture of caring for employees.
- You don’t hire workers. You hire people who work. Everyone, including you, has a story and some emotional baggage, and you won’t find those stories in personnel files.
- Home life and work life affect one another. Face it, acknowledge it, and view it as an opportunity for creating purposeful work, not a barrier to it. A family-friendly corporate culture will support the Why and improve the How and What.
- Respecting the pain and problems of others is a good thing; helping them resolve issues when possible is even better. If your company does not provide resources for assisting employees with their problems, your local community might. Seek and provide referrals to the appropriate agencies whenever appropriate.
- Caring about others and helping with their problems does not mean that you must become an enabler or a victim. Co-dependency helps no one. A purposeful message for your organization can be translated as a purposeful message for an employee: Just as we, as a company, have the choice to become better and more focused on values, so too can you exercise the choice to become better and more focused on values.
- When you hear disgruntled, cynical naysayers around you, say: “We all have two options: to continue to be depressed and cynical, or to help find solutions for making things better. What do you choose?”
- Any job important enough to be allocated a budget for salary is worthy of respect, regardless of the absolute dollar value of that salary. Everyone on your payroll deserves to be treated with respect, no matter whether that person holds a GED or Ph.D. No one on your payroll is or should be “just an employee.”
- If you say that “people are our most important resource,” start proving it every day, one employee at a time. It can be as simple and as powerful as listening for a two-minute conversation. Employees should be both appreciated as people and (literally) appreciating as valued assets to the company.
- The simplest solution for turning your bad day into a good day: put down your emotional baggage and help co-workers do the same.
- We all need a plate of cookies now and again.
How would you know if you had a caring culture? The answer is simple. The people you cared about would repay you by choosing to be creative, motivated, and productive. Even though they are on payroll they have decided to become volunteers for your mission.