Create a culture of fulfillment

How many times have you heard a CEO say people are their most important asset? While the sentiment is admirable, how do we demonstrate to our people that we really believe this?

Having competitive pay, health insurance, vacation days and a 401k are great, and free snacks and air hockey are nice, but is that enough? To truly be successful, you need a unified team of engaged, fulfilled people who believe in the company and believe they are truly valued. Here are five ways to do that:

Respect. Show your people you respect them and, by example, teach them to respect their fellow team members and your clients. Communicate in a respectful manner at all times. Give your people a voice, and involve them in the direction of the company by making them a part of a collaborative strategic planning process.

Do this and you will receive the benefit of their knowledge and they will feel appreciated. If they view themselves as cogs in a wheel, accepting orders from on high, you will never get the performance you desire. Finally, give them regular feedback and thank them at every opportunity for a job well done.

Meaning. People want their work to mean something and to understand how they contribute to the accomplishments of the company. At my company, Sembler, we take a day and visit a nearly complete shopping center we are building. People from each department have the opportunity to see how they contributed. Understanding the big picture will help your people excel and see they are part of something important.

Philanthropy. Many studies show generous people are happier, healthier, more connected to society and more cooperative. Who doesn’t want that? Strive to find ways for your people to participate in charitable endeavors.

Find causes your people care about and give them several paid opportunities a year to help others by organizing a work day, fundraising event or time to mentor a child. Show them you care, build teamwork and work alongside them on something important to them. Sembler rewards its people by putting money in a bonus pool if greater than 90 percent of them participate in the program.

Integrity. Everyone wants to work for a company they can be proud of, a company that treats people well, keeps their word and acts in an honest and ethical manner. Do right by your people and do right by your clients. So much of long-term success in business is about relationships and reputation. Zealously guard both and your people will follow your lead.

Rewarding Teamwork. Everything above encourages people to break down internal silos and support each other. One way to further align everyone toward the overall goals of an enterprise is a team bonus pool. Celebrate your team’s accomplishments with them.

These are a few ways to build a great team and culture. Having a team of people who respect each other, find meaning in their work and value philanthropy and integrity will promote a culture of fulfillment and performance and success will inevitably follow.

Ron Wheeler is CEO of the Sembler Co., a 55-year-old retail real estate developer, investor and manager operating in the Southeast, based in St. Petersburg. Starting in January, he is founding RPW Advisory, a leadership and management advisory firm dedicated to the study and teaching of how to build and lead organizations with the highest level of success. RPW Advisory will use the innovative methodologies of leadership, management and operations Wheeler has developed over his 33-year business career. Wheeler serves on the board of the Alzheimer’s Association Florida Gulf Coast Chapter, is on the St. Petersburg Mayor’s Promise Committee and is a speaker and lecturer on the topics of business ethics and culture at the University of Florida and other industry and professional organizations

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