Most companies want employees that are motivated, creative and intelligent. As it turns out, most workers want jobs that make them feel that way. Millennials in particular are looking not just for a fair wage, but also, and just as importantly, meaning in their work. Organizations that can create such a culture are likely to have greater morale and better results than those that do not. The key to success is to embrace an environment in which trust is paramount.
Such values matter, especially in the workplace. Trust, integrity and understanding are important because of how our mind works, says Eltropy’s Chief Talent Officer Chandra Bhople. Finding an employer that’s a great fit is like building any other sort of relationship.
“Why can’t we just give people challenging work? Why not just more money or entertainment? Why do a company’s values matter?” asks Bhople. “Well, how do we make friends? We don’t make friends necessarily with the smartest person, the one who makes the most money, the one who does the best in school, etc. Many times, we make friends with the person who is genuinely honest, someone we can trust. That is a deeper way of making a connection.”
Honesty and integrity are core character values, which create a solid business foundation. “Integrity is doing what you said you would do,” Bhople explains. “And honesty requires that I share what I do; in other words, even if I do something wrong, I tell.”
How can you cultivate that type of honesty and integrity in employees? Here are four ways to start.
1. Promote a “fearless” work culture.
Employees want to succeed in their jobs, and employers are responsible for creating an environment that helps workers achieve that goal. Setting the stage so employees are fearless frees employees to reach their potential and go beyond. However simple that may sound, it is not easy to achieve.
People are afraid of their management: They are scared to admit mistakes because they fear making their bosses unhappy, getting a bad reputation or losing their jobs. But “fessing up,” or giving bad news is important—and all the higher ups need to encourage truthfulness, especially as it relates to bad news. This must be reiterated from top down so that there is no hesitation in sharing problems; managers must then respond in a positive manner and tackle the issue head on.
“We find it encouraging to know the truth; half the problem is solved once you know what has happened,” Bhople says. “If team members openly share the challenges they may have, mistakes they made then it’s a lot easier for the team to work together. It is always best to see things just the way they are, not the way we want them or the way we expect them. And sometimes we need help to do that.”
2. Be transparent.
Seeing and understanding the core values of the business, as well as how each employee contributes is vital. Such “transparency” is closely aligned with honesty and integrity. For employees, transparency includes understanding how his or her role impacts customers, which helps ensure that employees are secure in their roles.
“Confusion, doubts, lack of clarity are like cancer,” Bhople says. “They don’t show up early but are continuously damaging. Eltropy’s transparency makes all employees a part of celebrations as well part of company challenges; it promotes a sense of collective responsibility because team members come to know how important their work is.”
Eltropy emphasizes this sense of connectivity through weekly all-hands meetings at which important information is shared and each employee is encouraged to participate. The purpose-driven employee is nurtured and rewarded.
A recent study by Gallup found that Millennials don’t just work for a paycheck — they want a purpose. Compensation is important and must be fair, but it’s no longer the top consideration for this demographic. Bhople agrees, “That is what our mind is always looking for: a sense of value, purpose.”
Transparency helps employees understand the impact they are making not only on their team members but also on the customers’ experience.
3. Work hard.
A culture that values honesty, integrity and transparency is naturally results driven. To that, Bhople notes, successful managers add inspiration: “Nothing is impossible. That belief inspires employees to go for higher goals, and to not be afraid of trying beyond their current capacity.”
Supporting employees as they become more capable in their areas of competency helps them evolve from being activity centric to result centric. As a result, employees become more confident in their abilities, so they accomplish more in less time, meeting deadlines more often and generating more business value.
4. Put the customer first.
By building a culture in which admitting mistakes — similar to “failing fast” — and pivoting to a solution is encouraged, organizations inherently create customer value, because they are well-equipped to handle conflicts and confusion. Partners that are true assets to their customers continue to work at providing value.
“Eltropy exists because of and for its customers,” Bhople says, “Customer success is directly derived from the value the Eltropy team creates for its customers.”
Leading an organization requires clarity of vision and courage. Every member of the organization should be supported by the idea that he or she can achieve. All that’s needed is a plan, a work ethic and a commitment.