#71 A Free Benefit That Will Brighten Employees Lives: Live Your Maps

The economy is sailing along, which means the labor market is tight.

So, more than ever, you need to hang on to your best employees.

And I have a zero cost idea to help you do that.

But before I share it, I want to draw you a purposefully dark picture of your staff's mental state as they walk through your door each day.

THE STRESSES OF EVERYDAY LIFE

Some number of folks on your payroll are dealing with these stressors. (Don't take the numbers I quote below as gospel. I'm trying to make a general point so I didn't take the time to look behind each study.)

Relationship Stress:  Every list of life stressors I found ranked this one number one. The experts peg the divorce rate somewhere between 33% and 50% - suggesting that lots of folks aren't getting along. And I’ll assume that unmarried couples aren’t guaranteed permanent bliss either. Furthermore, even ultra-compatible couples and friends get sideways occasionally. So some number of folks likely walk through your door each day feeling relationship stress.

Money Stress: Almost 30 percent of college-educated young adults say they've used payday loans, pawn shops, or other short-term financial fixes in the past five years. And this study from a couple years ago says 72% of Americans are living in financial stress. With 20% experiencing “extreme stress” over money. Don't accept these numbers as law, but realize that someone likely walked in your door this morning feeling financial stress.

AND THE LIST GOES ON...

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I don’t want to overdo the doom and gloom so here’s an incomplete list of a few more stressors. Dig into the detail if you like.  Note that the stats I’ve linked below are for incidences of these conditions. If you realize that many folks will be stressed when a single friend or loved one faces these issues, the number of stressed people skyrockets.

But what if there was something you could do to improve the mental state of your employees?

What if you created an environment where folks felt like…

They mattered.
They belonged.
They were heard.
They were challenged and growing.
They could make healthy connections.

Concerning that last point - healthy connections - let me throw one more stressor out there that wasn't on my radar. One that experts are starting to point out as a real problem.

LONELINESS

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I'm breaking my flow here and giving this one it's own paragraph because it's prevalence and severe consequences shocked me. Here’s a quote from a study covered in the June 2016 issue of Fortune Magazine.

“We know loneliness makes you feel terrible. It’s bad for your mental health: well-being goes down, depressive symptoms go up, your likelihood of developing mental and affective disorders increases. It’s also bad for your physical health. In a meta-analysis of 3 million people, which controlled for confounding factors such as demographics and objective isolation, loneliness increased odds of an early death by 26%.”

The standard explanation is that we’re tribespeople by nature. Grouping is how we survived in pre-modern times, so our mind and body react poorly when we’re isolated. And social media postings don’t make up for lost face-to-face interactions. 

But don’t overreact to this information. It doesn’t mean we should never be alone - as a devoted introvert, I can attest that some solitude is good for us. But it does mean that it's also important that we face-to-face connect and feel like we’re part of something.

WORK AS SANCTUARY

To get back on track let’s revisit the workplace sanctuary I described earlier. 

What if you created an environment where folks felt like…

They mattered.
They belonged.
They were heard.
They were challenged and growing.
They could make healthy connections.

This would be a boon for retention. Would provide better mental health for everyone in the building, including yourself. And would positively impact your productivity, creativity, and bottom line.

And all you have to do to create this sanctuary is figure out who you are and what you stand for. And then consistently apply that rare insight across your business. 

And you don't have to worry about competitors copying your methods because the work is too hard. They'd rather do the easy me-too stuff like pumping free Starbucks into folks. Or schedule another beer bash and call it culture-building.

THE MAP

(This site is all about building a Map that will help me do work and life better. So at the end of each post I check in to see if any changes / insights come to mind.)

This week is another no brainer for you folks that are following the idea of building Maps. Get vulnerable by CONFRONTing your WRONG STORIES (see posts 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 3368 for more info on WRONG STORIES). And once you have all that garbage under control you can build your SELF Map. Then build your WORK Map in alignment with the SELF Map.

This clarity and consistency will feel like a warm embrace for your employees that FIT

And it’ll feel like an ice pick to the forehead for folks that don’t FIT. They’ll leave you, rather than you having to go through the costly and stressful process of leaving them.

And with the squad that remains, you can take off the straight jackets. Give them the FREEDOM to do their work in a way that respects the many stressors in their lives.

Sounds like an awesome retention strategy to me. And, as we'll discuss next time, it'll also make your recruiting simpler and more effective.

***Note: This site works best when you read the posts in order. So please head to the ARCHIVE to get started.