Because people spend a great amount of their time and energy at work, they long to belong to a company that makes them feel better about themselves and makes them feel that they do more than just earn a paycheck — they want to feel like they have a purpose and make a difference.
In addition to the lives they have at home and in their churches and communities, people want to feel and believe that they belong to a community at work. Although they may come from different backgrounds, beliefs, and lifestyles, when they come to work they must all believe in the same thing and strive for the same purpose and goals — and they do that together, with a group of co-workers, eight hours a day, forty hours a week.
Employees don’t just work for a company, they join a company. Customers don’t just spend money with a company, they join a company. One example of this would be a company such as Harley Davidson. Customers don’t just buy Harley Davidson’s motorcycles, they join Harley Davidson. They buy the logo wear and some even have the logo tattooed on their bodies. For many, Harley Davidson has become a way of life, a sort of church, a community to belong to.
How many would agree that Disney has a culture? To define Disney’s culture, you’d probably use adjectives like magical, fun, animated, happy, clean, and even expensive. If you own any type of business, producing any type of product or service, how would you enjoy having your employees and your customers define your product and service by using adjectives like those?
More than fifty thousand employees work for Disney. Do you think Disney was able to find fifty thousand people who naturally had the skills and know-how to create a magical, fun, animated, happy, and clean experience for their guests? Hardly. In fact, according to John DiJulius, a good friend and admired businessman who has studied successful businesses for his book Secret Service, perhaps only 5 percent of the people in our society naturally possess those skills.
Disney created a culture, and then they trained people within their culture to provide the magical, fun, animated, happy, clean experience that Disney guests have come to expect and want to be a part of. People want to belong to Disney, be included in the Disney family, and feel that a Disney park is “home.”
I remember years ago, whenever someone asked me what I looked for in hiring someone for my company, I’d ramble this big, long list: They need this much experience, this type of education, and these degrees. Now I just say that I want people who are nice and who have desire. I’ve hired people with amazing resumes, amazing education, and amazing experience, but if they were a bit mean-spirited or bitter, I couldn’t work with them. Not only did I not want to be around that type of person, I also wasn’t willing to expose the rest of my staff to that mean, bitter person for eight hours a day.
You’ll attract positive employees to your company and business by building an environment and culture that acknowledges, supports, appreciates, develops, and retains that type of person. Build it and they will come. A company that does not build it will eventually lose wonderful, positive employees.
Winn Claybaugh, author of Be Nice (Or Else!) with foreword by CNN’s Larry King, has worked in the beauty industry since 1983. He is the National Motivational Expert for John Paul Mitchell Systems and the founder of Paul Mitchell The School, with several locations throughout the U.S. Visit Winn at www.BeNiceOrElse.com and sign up for the free monthly Be Nice (Or Else!) Newsletter.