Welcome to another edition of the Small Business Show. Take a moment to think about what kind of work environment you are creating. Is your only focus the bottom line, or does your mission create value in your organization? Joining us today to talk about the difference in company cultures and how you can increase productivity by making a few simple changes is CEO of Advancing Wellness, and author, Mari Ryan.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Hi Mari, and thank you for joining us on the ASBN show.
Mari Ryan: I’m delighted to be here, thanks.
Jim Fitzpatrick: In your most recent book, The Thriving Hive, you questioned business leaders to ask themselves as to what kind of work environment they are cultivating. Why is this question important?
Mari Ryan: Well, fundamentally, it’s important for three reasons. As every business owner knows, you really need to be able to attract the kind of workforce that’s going to allow you to be competitive in your field or your business, you’re going to need to be able to engage them once you get them there, and then finally you need to retain them. You need to keep them there because turnover, as we know, is very costly. The elements about the whole employee experience are actually what you’re impacting when you create a culture that attracts, engages and retains your workforce.
Jim Fitzpatrick: What are a few of the key components employees look for in a well balanced work environment?
Mari Ryan: Well, it’s interesting. There’s a lot of things. It’s not just a simple one or two things. Employees really are looking for a place where they feel that there’s a sense of purpose or a sense of belonging, that they can feel connected to the mission and vision of the organization.
They also want to feel like they want to be making a difference and that they are challenged, so the work that they’re doing needs to challenge them. They need to feel that they’re making a contribution towards that larger purpose.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure. A recent study shows that 54% of employees who are proud of their company’s impact were shown to be more engaged in their work. What are three culture driven practices every company can adopt?
Mari Ryan: So, their values are a really key foundational element. I’m also a firm believer that communications is another key element, and then the last piece of this is really giving employees voice, so making sure that you’re asking employees what they want, what’s working, what’s not working, what can we do differently and having the appropriate methods to be able to collect this information.
By giving people a voice, what you really do is you say to them, “We care about your feelings, we care about what will work for you here,” and you have to then take action on that of course, but being able to create that kind of culture where employees know that they have the opportunity to really have a say and that their feelings and thoughts are being heard.
Jim Fitzpatrick: You categorize a workplace as one of two things, a dive hive or an alive hive. Can you explain the difference?
Mari Ryan: Well, the book is a business parable, and it’s set in a beehive, and what I’m trying to do here is using the bees’ hive metaphor is really to be able to demonstrate rather dramatically. There’s a little more gray. This is rather black and white in the way I described it.
The dive hive is really focused on what we might consider to be some old style, old school type of business practices; command and control where all the power is at the top of a hierarchic structure, where the entire focus of the business is on profit and that profit is the purpose of the business.
In the alive hive, by contrast, purpose driven organization. It’s based on values, so they have a purpose that’s bigger than just themselves. It has impact in the world. So, having that higher purpose, again, communications, which we’ve already talked about, and transparency in those communications and really demonstrating that you’re caring for your people and care for their wellbeing, and that’s a core element of really … Every business owner knows that you can’t meet your business objectives if you don’t have happy, healthy people, and you create a thriving hive by looking after those people because then they will look after the business, they’ll look after your customers, and that’s when your business will thrive.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Before I let you leave today, and thanks again for all your time that you’ve given us, tell our viewers a little bit about your new book, The Thriving Hive, and what are some of the other takeaways?
Mari Ryan: So The Thriving Hive, the subtitle of which is How People-Centric Workplaces Ignite Engagement and Fuel Results. So, results is the outcome, but engagement is a big piece of this. When we’ve got a connected workforce, then indeed they will be able to meet business objectives, and the book is now available on Amazon in an E format. In two weeks we’ll have the paperback out, and by the end of the month we’ll have the audiobook available.
Jim Fitzpatrick: Awesome. Well, Mari Ryan, I want to thank you very much for all your time here today. We really appreciate it. I know our viewers will get a lot out of today’s discussion, so thanks again for joining us on the Atlanta Small Business Show. We very much appreciate it.
Mari Ryan: My pleasure.
ASBN, Atlanta’s Small Business Network. Part of JBF Business Media.