Didn’t Work Then, Won’t Work Now

High retention, genuine engagement, great productivity, and constant innovation—these are business goals all employers want but few know to achieve.

Brandon Peele, Co-Founder of Unity Lab, believes all those aspirations can be reached, and he’s willing to share the secret to attaining them. It starts with activating purpose and creating a sense of belonging, but that’s only the beginning. You’ll learn the other key components to building a working environment where people buy into and are ready to stay for the long haul.

Truth You Can Act On

1. Eliminate Silo Efforts

The status quo for learning and development, for wellness, for diversity and inclusion doesn’t work. What’s happening right now is more of the same. They’re taking live trainings and just moving them to zoom and folks are bored. And because of the forgetting curve, most L&D is still like a one-time training thing, “Oh, you’re gonna go learn about emotional intelligence for 45 minutes.” Within seven days, each employee has forgotten 90% of everything that happened in that room. Similarly, with diversity equity inclusion initiatives, it’s oftentimes a one-time training around systemic racism or unconscious bias. And what they find is even if folks have a powerful experience in those trainings, they revert to their beliefs and behaviors within 24 hours. We’re not creating these sustained connections, these sustained social learning environments for folks to develop relationships. So we create the structure for folks to have transformative experiences over time with each other, and also take new actions at work and be held accountable by their small groups.

2. Prioritize Purpose and Belonging

90% of us want purpose-aligned work, but only 15% of us think it’s possible in our current roles and jobs. So there’s this huge purpose gap, this giant talent risk, because people want to be fulfilled but they don’t think it’s possible. So the companies who are winning are the ones who are saying, “You can be fulfilled here. We’re going to hire you a purpose coach or put you in a purpose program.” They’re creating opportunities for employees to activate their purpose at work and build relationships with each other. Those are the two key liberating aspects of a post COVID culture, there has to be purpose and belonging on board. And when we create the conditions for that folks like what they do, they like who they work with, and they stay.

3. Take an Individual Approach to Culture

Companies with mandate culture historically do two things, they either mandate culture by not paying attention to it and therefore it just arises based on our internal biases and all sorts of systemic inequities. White folks build relationships with white folks, folks who aren’t white build relationships with themselves, women create their own insular networks. And you end up having essentially one company with multiple different cultures across departments, sexuality, gender, and race. The other version is usually an office space type thing where it’s like, “Friday’s Hawaiian shirt day.” And everyone’s like, “We don’t respect you. We don’t like you. You’ve never taken two seconds to get to know us. We’re not gonna put on a Hawaiian shirt.” The flip side of that is actually standing for and creating the space for each person to bring their fullness, their purpose and values, their creativity, their wild ideas, their dissenting opinions, and have the culture be informed by the whole person that’s in the room.

Book Recommendation:

Listen to the full episode: Episode 152: Didn’t Work Then, Won’t Work Now with Brandon Peele

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