Carl Chapman, associate & head of workplace health, Barnett Waddingham writes a blog series explaining what wellbeing really means
Barnett Waddingham's Carl Chapman is writing a blog series on Eudaimonia using the Greek alphabet as a reference point to give insight into how this old concept can significantly improve your business performance by maximising output from your greatest asset.
Ι ι – iota & Κ κ – kappa
When I think of iota and kappa my mind is instantly drawn towards some kind of American university fraternity and consequently to films starring Vince Vaughn or Will Ferrell.
For this reason I am going to pool iota and kappa into one bigger blog, this; and it saves me time and effort trying to come up with another link.
So what of the American fraternity? As far as I am aware (from watching these films) a fraternity is a social brotherhood or sisterhood in the case of a sorority (is that right?), that once you sign into is part of you for the rest of your life. I guess you see something similar in the UK when you see 30 somethings wandering around with a Nottingham Trent university hoodie on. I didn’t realise Nottingham or its second university was anything to shout about but then what do I know.
I suppose you could say that in the past a person’s career was similar to a fraternity or sorority in the sense that it was often something that was signed up to for life, or in this case working life.
These days this is obviously not the case, a job for life in most places and most industries is a thing of the past. I was once told that the average duration of a career in the city of London was 3 years, whether this is accurate or not I don’t know but it doesn’t feel far wrong. At this point it is worth mentioning my three year anniversary at Barnett Waddingham was yesterday, I’ll close Reed down and concentrate on this article!
The obvious reason people don’t stick around in London is that there is more opportunity to move around and that (and I’m sorry to say this) you are all broadly similar to one another and it makes little difference to the employee where they work, they will often chase the money.
I find it incredible that companies undertake so many benchmarking exercises to understand what their competitors are up to and either copy to bring themselves up to that level or maintain the status quo if they are already deemed ahead.
Should we not be trying to make ourselves different from our competitors to get and keep hold of the best talent? After all we don’t try and match up the products and services we offer to our clients with that of our competitors, instead we innovate, surely we should do the same for our people?
Very few people turn down money to stay at a company for reasons of engagement or work life balance and the reason is that we are all pretty poor at helping our employees feel engaged and have a good work life balance. Those that stay for these reasons will be at employers who care and are good at it. I bet Google have an amazing retention rate and an unprecedented number of applications per vacancy, the reason not being because they pay more than everyone else, they don’t; the reason being that people want to work in a fun environment, they want to have a job that feels less like a job and more like a hobby but more than all of that, they want to work for someone they feel cares about them. Do Google give the impression that they care about their people, absolutely!!!
I’m not suggesting we all reach for the chequebook and start building slides between floors and meeting rooms with grass instead of carpet, what I am suggesting is that we stop trying to be the same and start trying to be different or more accurately start trying to be what our employees need us to be to make them better versions of themselves and to make them want to stay with us. To start with (as I keep saying) you need to engage with them and ask them.
Recruitment costs a lot of money both in getting people through the door but also in ongoing training. Why not save that money by making yourselves different not the same. Want to know how, we can help with that.