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Building a culture of connectedness in the workplace

by Ana Lopez
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Geoffrey M. RocheMPA, Senior Vice President, National Health Care Practice, Core Education PBC.

With all the talk around the Great Resignation and quiet stopping, it was encouraging to see more leaders talking about culture as well. The culture of an organization is important, and it really is a key element when it comes to recruitment and retention. Moreover, when we think about career mobility, the right organizational culture can make all the difference whether someone starts in the organization and progresses to other positions in the same organization.

There is currently talk of another personnel trend: “career dampening”, a trend where employees search for “plan B” jobs, scan networks and job sites as safety precautions against possible future layoffs. research by Bluecrew in September found that “two-thirds of workers plan to look for a new job in the coming year to fight inflation”.

This idea of ​​career buffering also speaks to culture because if the organization is truly committed to career mobility, there are ways to move an individual into a different role to help them succeed. Now I also recognize that organizations sometimes need to cut features as part of various restructuring efforts; however, the way they do that work still speaks to their organizational culture. When you consider all the different generations in today’s workforce, the phenomenon of quiet retirement and career dampening becomes even more intriguing. A recent report from the social media company Snap Inc. shared how “Generation-Z will compose 30% of the working population in 2030 — and their after-tax income is expected to reach $2 trillion in the same time frame.

As a millennial, I felt it was critical to really consider all the different generations in the workforce. For example, many Gen-Z employees grew up in a digital age, so the way they communicate may be very different from other generations. In addition, during the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw the world move rapidly towards online communication, particularly in education and the workplace. Many other societal changes and challenges were also occurring at the same time, including significant economic, social, and racial situations that could literally be seen on the internet. As you can imagine, all of this has affected the number of Gen-Z review their education and career path. Leaders should not judge, but find a way to build community and generate a culture of belonging.

It is important to look at these factors because it makes clear why organizations need to invest in their culture and ensure that there is a deliberate effort in every facet of the organization to create a sense of belonging for everyone. Many organizations do this by developing affinity groups for employees or organizing cultural discussions and meals. However, given all the different generations in today’s workforce, I think it’s crucial that all leaders understand how and what it’s like to interact with different generations. As leaders, we cannot simply expect others to follow us and our models. We must be willing to adapt to the needs of others, because that way we can continue to build a community that recognizes and values ​​the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

To help leaders address these issues in their workplace, I encourage them to consider the following steps:

• Create a work environment that ensures responsibility for physical and psychological safety for everyone.

• Foster connection and build community with a focus on coaching, mentoring, networking and belonging.

• Make sure employees feel empowered and have the flexibility that helps them connect best with their work and life.

• Create a foundation where all employees feel they matter, meaning they feel valued and respected, regardless of their role.

• Ensure there is an equitable system in which each employee is supported as a person and professional and is recognized as an essential contributor to the mission and vision.

When you consider that the statistics of our personnel crisis today in many industries it is a moral imperative to build a culture of connectedness in the workplace. Also consider that a large percentage of our workforce is retiring and will be retiring in the next few years. In industries such as healthcare, it is critical that we build pathways that move new hires into both clinical and non-clinical roles. However, if leaders and organizations fail to invest in their culture and work to build and maintain a sense of belonging, their retention rates will continue to deteriorate and it will become a struggle to fill important and necessary roles. That’s why I believe that when organizations talk about hiring, retention, the big layoff, quietly quitting, career coaching or other workforce trends, it’s imperative that they always look at their culture and make sure they’re doing everything possible to create one. maintain values ​​that are of paramount importance. and holds others accountable for diversity, equality, inclusion and belonging.

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