This is a short post and a concept I’m sure I’ll be revisiting in more depth but I am compelled to get the thought down on paper before it slips into that “good intentions black hole.”
Each Monday here at Symbolist we have a quick company “meeting” where we talk about out weekend, our plans for the week, potential roadblocks to success, goals, dreams, etc. In other words we have a conversation about our lives and about the work we do to make a living.
As we chatted (it is more of a dinner conversation than a “let’s go around the table and tell us what is going on” forced update) Tom Miller (the company Pres…) said something to the effect:
We make a living so we can have a life.
I wrote that down.
We then we started talking about how providing employees with non-traditional opportunities to enjoy life helps employees create sustainability in their jobs and their chosen profession. In other words – a company has a responsibility to find ways to impact employee lives outside the job description if they want to have a long-term, contributing employee.
That led us to a discussion of one of our staff who is down in Brazil (more to come on this) working with some disadvantaged families – helping those people make the best of their tough lot in life. Tom’s point was that by allowing our teammate to take time to help out in Brazil we, as a company, were helping him stay engaged with the company.
We were helping create a sustainable employment contract between the employee and Symbolist by building a human, emotional connection that transcends the typical transactions of employment (the check, the benefits, the 2-week vacation.)
This discussion then led me to add another line to my previous note:
Change a Life.
So now, on my notepad it reads…
We want a place we can contribute and get paid – but we also want a place that allows us to have a real, fulfilled life. An ultimately – we want to change someone else’s life.
We need to be valued AND add value.
That, in my mind is the definition of being human.
I know I want to hear that I had impact when I’m on my death bed. I firmly believe it is not about what you give people when you die – it’s about what you gave people when you lived.
How are you helping your employees be sustainable in their lives?
How are you contributing to their ability to be valuable and add value at your company and in their life?