Gut Check for Leaders: Do you value the lives of your employees?

Last week, my team and I celebrated the fifth anniversary of our company. We also celebrated Carole Clarke, a critical team member and employee number two. She has spent five years with LCI and has been a critical member of the team since almost day one.

It’s an opportune moment for all leaders to recognize a fundamental truth that often escapes us amidst the hustle and bustle of business life: our employees give us their lives.

Not just their time or their skills, but the invaluable hours of their lives that they could spend elsewhere. They choose to be with us, to grow with us, and to commit to our shared vision.

And so, we must ask ourselves – as leaders, are we honoring that profound commitment?

A great workplace culture isn’t just a perk; it’s a necessity for the lifeblood of any organization.

When employees feel they are part of something special, when they feel valued, when they sense that their leaders are genuinely invested in their well-being and professional growth, they don’t just work – they thrive, and not just as employees but as human beings. They become better people, better parents, better sons and daughters, better friends. And as they thrive personally, so does our company.

I believe, as leaders, we all have an accountability and obligation to cultivate an environment where our employees can live rich lives at work.

How do we achieve this? It begins with a deliberate and sustained effort to create a culture that resonates with purpose, connection, and growth.

Here are five steps to doing so:

  • Make Work Matter. Employees need to feel that their work is meaningful. As leaders, we must embed a sense of purpose in our company’s DNA. This means being clear about our vision and strategy, and demonstrating how everyone’s work contributes to the greater goal. When employees see the bigger picture and understand their role in it, their work becomes more than just a job where they exchange time for a paycheck.
  • Foster Connection and Community. If you are familiar with my work, you know I write a lot about the need for leaders to build community. I believe human beings are wired that way. We must build communities within our workplaces where employees feel supported and recognized. It’s about creating networks of collaboration, celebrating milestones, and ensuring everyone knows they are part of a team that values their contribution. This sense of belonging is the glue that keeps our employees engaged and committed.
  • Invest in Growth. As a high-growth company, it’s important to realize the company can’t grow if its people don’t grow. A company that values employee growth is one that values its future. As leaders we need to be open to be mentors – leaders who take an active role in developing the potential of our employees. This means providing opportunities for learning, challenging our teams with new responsibilities, and enabling them to stretch their capabilities. When we invest in our employees’ development, we signal that we are invested in their futures. In turn, they will be invested in ours.
  • Cultivate Well-being. To live rich lives at work, our employees must also have rich lives outside of it. As a leader, I’ve never conflicted with the relationship between work and family – to me, family always comes first, and my team knows that. As leaders, we must respect the importance of mental and physical well-being and provide the resources and flexibility required to maintain it. This way employees feel empowered to bring their best selves to work.
  • Lead with Gratitude and Recognition. Finally, we must never underestimate the power of a simple “thank you.” Recognition goes a long way in validating the sacrifices our employees make. Regular, genuine expressions of gratitude remind our teams that their dedication does not go unnoticed. It reinforces the value of their contribution and encourages continued commitment.

As I reflect on Carole’s five years of extraordinary service and commitment to LCI, I am reminded that the strength of any company lies in the hearts and minds of those who have chosen to walk this path with us as founders and CEOs.

It’s a sobering and humbling realization that, as leaders, we have the responsibility – and the privilege – to create a workplace where our employees can lead rich and fulfilling lives.

So let us honor the lives given to our companies by being the leaders who are committed to making those lives as rewarding as possible.

It is not just good business; it is a profound duty that we must embrace with conviction and passion.

Gut Check for Leaders:
Do you value the lives of your employees?

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