I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a company’s responsibility to its team members. Here in the US, most employers understand the importance of helping employees maintain their health, providing health insurance plans and more often these days, wellness programs. I call this the “What if?” What if my employee, her spouse or kids gets sick? How can I help them stay healthy or pay for costly medical expenses?
Most employers also help their employees prepare for retirement, providing pensions and programs that often include an employer match. I call this the “What next?” What will my team members do next? How will they support themselves when they retire? How can I help?
But “What about now?”
Sure, I want to alleviate some of life’s worries from my team members, but I also want to inspire them to be fully realized, fully engaged human beings today. And every day! I want them to come to work happy, fulfilled, engaged and inspired. I want this because I care about them. And I want this because if we’re going to ask our team members to help us grow our businesses and commit themselves fully to our goals, then I think we owe some consideration to the “what about now?”
In my company, we do this by encouraging team members to set personal goals and assisting them in achieving those goals. We do this by hiring people who are passionate about life outside the walls of work. And we do this more formally through a new program called the “40 Hour Sabbatical.”
Look, I’m willing to pay for my employees’ health insurance premiums and I’m willing to contribute to their 401k plans, but I’m a lot more excited about encouraging them to learn to play the guitar, take scuba lessons, travel or work on a personal art project.
If we consciously help team members feel happier and more fulfilled, just think of all the ways the team as a whole will benefit when each is bringing their happiness, energy and passion for life into the office.