These top three priorities are the foundation to a great company culture.

Top performers look for the gaps at work and seek to fill them, either through their own efforts or through the efforts and talents of others. Since so many people are underutilized at work, they know that so many talents sadly go unused at work. They’re curious about people. They want to know what people really want to be working on. They want to know whether people are a good fit for particular roles. They want to know where else they might be better fit or where else their talents may take them. Where do they want to go? Where do they see themselves going? Most workplaces are short on talent and resource thin, so they have to do with what they’ve got. But it doesn’t mean that people cannot grow into other positions or learn the skills to get there. It simply takes dedication and drive and initiative to get them there.

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Great company cultures require respect, appreciation and turn-taking. Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

The Service Focus.

Ask: What is required to be of service here? Focus on service. Even when it is hard. Default to service. How can you best help? Your focus on service sets the standard for others to follow. It shows you’re selfless, willing to put others first. You’re a servant leader, always looking to see what needs to be done / where the gaps are. You ask where are we weak? And then you fill in those weaknesses. When you’re service-minded, you’re not thinking about the how. You’re thinking about the who. Who do we got that can help us with this? Who can we put on it? Who’s talent can we leverage here? Who is with us? Who is underutilized? Who’s the best fit here? Who wants to stretch themselves to take this on? And then act accordingly.

While not everyone will be eager to take on more assignments, there are those few who are. It seems that everything they touch gets done. They develop a reputation as the go-to person for important projects. They lead and see them through to completion. They’re on it. These are extremely valuable people to the organization. They’re dedicated, driven, focused and fierce. Assigning work to them means you’ll get it back on time and well executed. You can’t pay these people enough. They’re the hard workers and willing talent stretchers. They’ll take on projects out of their comfort zone just to stretch themselves. They seek excitement in it. Unfortunately, they’re rare. If you are lucky enough to have them inside your organization, do everything you can to keep them engaged. They love the challenge of new projects and stretch goals. They relish them, in fact. Take advantage of this and create opportunities for them to shine. Nothing will make them happier.

What keeps people coming back to work?

What do you think will be the most important reason to keep people coming back to work? Pay? Engagement? Contribution? Appreciation? Most people would say pay because that one seems the most obvious. But studies prove that the #1 reason people show up to work is to be respected & appreciated. That’s the reason. With this being the reason, you would think it would be more of a priority to people to push workplace respect and appreciation. And you would be wrong. Toxic workplaces still abound. They are damn near everywhere. Why? No particular reason. Even when creating a great place to work isn’t all that hard, toxic workplaces ooze away.

The #2 most important reason people show up to work is engagement. People want to have their head in the game. They also want to have skin in the game. The skin can be in the form of ideas, effort, contribution or money. We need to know we’re all in, that we’re to make things happen. That we are actively contributing to the company’s success. That we are making a difference. That we are in it to win it. An engaged worker is a happy worker. The legendary Disney characters whistling while they work is a real thing. It happens, just maybe not at your workplace.

The #3 most important reason people show up to work is pay. Do not skimp here! Sure, not every company can afford to pay well, but employee comp ought to be a top priority, too. You must pay up for talent. There is no other option. If you cannot pay for talent, the talent goes to your competition. Pay is a component of the aforementioned respect. Low pay = low respect. This will never change. If you don’t pay enough to prove to people you care about their contribution and what they’re doing for you on a daily basis, they equate this to low respect for what you want them to do. The only way to correct this is to have a good comp plan and to stick to it and respect your people’s hard earned money! Nothing messes with a person like messing with their pay. Good pay is the support structure for employee engagement, appreciation and respect. Never forget this.

These three top priorities are the foundation to a great company culture. Respect. Appreciation. Engagement. Comp. With respect to order, these are the things people look for in a wonderful company to work for. This is what keeps people around, engaged, and happy with their work. And this is what employers want: engaged, happy workers who stick around and don’t leave the organization. It becomes a virtuous circle. Create your virtuous circle today and watch employee engagement soar.

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