By Curt Sardeson, November 21, 2018
Caring – the Third Core Value
In continuing the discussion of core values, let’s focus on caring. We define this core value as “Eager to help others, attention to detail, consistency, protecting the brand, willing to take ownership of issues.”
On the road consulting in the very early days of Open Sky Group, one of my favorite customers told me she just wanted to work with people who cared. She believed that if people cared, they would pay attention to the details, protect the company and take ownership of issues. Unfortunately she saw firsthand the negative results of people who did not care and was often the one cleaning up the mess. I value her perspective. It made me realize that caring about clients, co-workers and company was going to be critical in creating a company that was adored.
Fast forward a decade later and we see examples of caring every week. The way our people care about our customers and about each other. Our customers notice this behavior too. In fact, it’s often reciprocated by our customers, caring about us more like a partner than just a vendor.
What do our employees say about caring?
When we survey our employees, we always hear about how willing our people are to help each other. There are a handful of folks who always receive special recognition, but the willingness to jump in and help fellow employees is practiced consistently by everyone. When someone raises their hand for help, it does not go unanswered. I’ve even seen people ask questions on the weekend and answers come in.
New employees are assigned a supervisor and mentor; this doesn’t limit an employee to asking only those people for help. We show them how the internal tools for raising their hand when help is needed. From the conversation history in those tools, it’s clear that it’s an effective approach. Based on feedback, we know this was not common in their prior work experiences. For us this is hard to comprehend as we believe learning from one other is one of the best ways to get better.
Do you want to make caring part of your organization?
If you want to enjoy all the benefits of caring, it must be practiced at all levels. No exceptions. Encourage this with the right tools and praise it when it happens. Have some kind of solution available to all where questions can be posted and answered. Incentivize people to answer those questions with genuine praise and approbation. Try having your newer people be mentors of the newest people. Then watch the pride that comes with sharing what was learned.