In this latest installment of our core value spotlight series, we’re highlighting our agency’s foundational principle of caring about people as whole individuals.
It feels weird to tell people to care about people. It feels even weirder to tell companies to care about people. In our society, businesses are usually focused on profits and bottom lines first and their people are somewhere down the list. In ways this makes sense – if a company doesn’t focus on making money, they aren’t able to employ people. However, we at Statwax believe that caring about our people, and not just when they’re at work, is as critical to business success as the dollars we generate. And for us, the emphasis is on caring about an entire individual – not just the person we know from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Why you should focus on caring about your employees holistically
Your team members have an entire life outside of work. And that life can and does impact who they are and what they do for your business. It’s impossible as human beings to completely leave your “regular” life at the workplace door. And great companies won’t ask you to do that. They encourage you to bring all of it to work and use your unique perspectives to create better work and relationships. They value the authentic self that is created by a team member showing up who they are, not a version of themselves they think employers want to see. But getting people to be comfortable showing up authentically can be hard. One way to demonstrate that support is to take action that highlights that you care about people beyond metrics. Recognize and celebrate that they’re three dimensional. Here are a few ways we do just that at Statwax.
How we care about people as whole individuals at Statwax
Caring about whole individuals has been a core value of ours for some time. However, we’ve really focused on it in 2020 due to the pandemic, the fight for racial justice, and the new “normal” of working from home. Now, more than ever, people need to be supported, heard, and given grace to deal with these extraordinary situations. Caring about people this way is not only the right thing to do; it has a use case for positively impacting business operations as well. A few ways we have implemented this with our team include:
How one feels physically can have a profound impact on how they perform at work. Many people use physical wellness to deal with stress, clear their minds, and keep themselves in a state that they feel makes them operate optimally personally and professionally. To support this type of wellness, our offices have always offered a free gym, free trainer, and healthy snacks at our locations. Our people have been able to use any time they wish – outside of client calls – to take advantage of these offerings. Do your best if you have a 2 p.m. workout after a long call? Great, take the time!
During COVID-19, we shifted our physical wellness offerings to fit our team. We didn’t want to neglect this side of our people just because we were now in a stay-at-home-world. Some of the adjustments we made were:
- Having our trainer do live-streamed and filmed workouts available to all
- Put together a list of free online workouts for the team
- Compiled a list of healthy food delivery places and services
- Made physical wellness an item on our “work from home bingo” card
No matter the situation, we want our people to know that we care about how they physically feel. We believe that having this as a focus for our team not only helps them but helps us a business.
A focus on mental health has been growing in the professional world. In fact, 72% of employees want employers to champion mental health and wellness.
From offering more support services, to recognizing neurological diversity in the workplace, employers are figuring out that caring about employee’s mental health is key to a successful workplace. It can be hard. Many businesses are still trying to figure out what their role is in the emotional and mental health of employees. This can be difficult especially for C-Suite leaders to understand. Their goal is for the company to make money so everyone has jobs. So it can be a fight sometimes to get budget and resources for mental wellness initiatives when they are stacked up against more tangible business asks.
At Statwax we’ve taken the approach that to do the most efficient and effective business we have to care about employees beyond the work. Even as a small business, we’ve found ways to support the mental wellness of our team without straining resources. Some of the things we’ve done have included:
- Offered an employee assistance program that has several free resources for mental health
- Conducted lunch and learns on mental health topics like reducing stress, reducing anxiety, and emotional wellness
- Created an anonymous, crowd-sourced document of free mental health resources for our people
- Encouraged work-life balance by offering generous PTO, flexible work, and rewards for those that do mental self-care activities
How has this focus on mental wellness helped us as a business? We demonstrate to potential employees that they will have a caring environment. It also shows that we take care of our current employees in a way that helps them continue to do good work with real results.
To us, caring about people as whole individuals means caring about who they are and what they do outside the office. That means really getting to know your team members. It means putting in the work to find out what their interests are and who they really are as people. To some companies, this may seem like a waste of time or effort. As long as someone is doing their job, what does it matter if you know that they’ll stay up till midnight to be the first to hear a Taylor Swift album or that they enter their dachshund in weiner dog races? We’ve found that knowing these things about your team, and showing an interest in and recognition of them, actually means a lot. We’ve found that the most basic way to show care is to show interest.
In pre-COVID times, our team members showed this care by literally showing up. We’ve attended events from indoor wheelchair soccer to weddings, and yes, even the aforementioned weiner dog races (true story!).
In the post-COVID world, showing up looks a little different. Some of us haven’t physically seen each other in months outside of a Zoom call. So to continue to demonstrate our social caring we’ve had to get a little creative. Some of the things we have done have included:
- Online celebrations for birthdays, engagements, and new homes
- Created a dedicated hour each week for the team to get together. This time isn’t talk about work, but for people to share and receive support.
- Updated a match game in onboarding, where new team members have to talk to other employees to match a fact with a person
Social support has taken on a different meaning with less outward social activity going on. Our goal has been to provide safe spaces, yes even during work hours with work resources, for people to just talk and feel the virtual support that we normally would be physically giving. We believe that merely providing this forum has helped our employees continue to feel engaged and encouraged during a hard time.
How we care about our clients as whole individuals
Just as we think it’s important to care about our employees as whole people, we believe the same is true about our clients. Our goal is to establish a relationship with them where they feel comfortable letting us into their lives. Not all do, and that’s okay.
But for those that we make that connection with, we’ve celebrated and grieved along with them and established relationships that endure past a project, job, or company. This approach helps us to really support our client contact – both when campaigns are going well and when they aren’t. This type of relationship leads to a true partnership. It also enables us to do better work both for and with them and makes goals easier to achieve.