The business world has spent a lot of time agonising over diversity and equality, but it’s missing out on a fundamental truth.
Metrics on gender, ethnicity, or sexuality are helpful, but everyone should feel comfortable being themselves in the workplace.
After all, we spend a significant portion of our time at work and having to hide behind a corporate mask is fundamentally stressful.
It goes without saying then, that if a business wants to engender loyalty in its employees, it needs to embrace the individual. That means giving people permission to be who they are.
Many companies – particularly within the media sector – are trying to appear less corporate.
However, what’s really key is to look deeper, and to create safe emotional environments where people can feel confident enough to be themselves.
This isn’t about being touchy-feely for the sake of it. In fact, encouraging individuality within a work culture can offer concrete benefits.
We are finding that it makes good business sense to better connect with staff, to understand their aspirations, accept their vulnerabilities, and celebrate their side-hustle talents.
As such, workplaces must embrace people’s weaknesses as well as their strengths. This may sound obvious but we still hear about businesses shunning individuals for having particular concerns and issues (mental illness being one of them).
The outcome of accepting difference is reduced churn. If you keep quality people for longer, then you’ll save on recruitment fees and allow teams to develop together.
Every happy employee is a brand ambassador, right? Which is why you should want to create more of them.
More and more, we’re seeing clients ask suppliers like us how we create a positive culture for the agency teams that they work with. This makes perfect sense, because it pays to be associated with businesses that have positive word-of-mouth, and therefore generate good publicity.
Your staff are the most important assets to your business. And your customers are all too aware of that. Your clients want to work with happy, clever, and interesting people.
This is why we should aspire to attract, not only the most talented people, but also the most memorable personalities in the room.
These are the people that others want to work with, because they’re truly authentic in character.
The authenticity-centric approach to running a business is also a generational thing, with younger people looking for different stimuli in the workplace. They want to be learning every day. This doesn’t mean that they aren’t focused on their jobs – quite the opposite. And it leads to a more vibrant culture for everyone.
While it’s clear why businesses traditionally seek people who “live to work”, it’s the individuals with a more balanced approach to work that we want to speak to. They bring the most to the table in terms of skills, interests, and talents that are well nurtured.
As such, you should look for staff who are multi-dimensional. Their extra-curricular activities show clients that your team is interesting, has transferable skills, and lots of enthusiasm.
These personality traits can easily be redirected into the business.