About seven years ago, I had an epiphany about my leadership style that changed the course of my life and business forever. In short, I realized that it was time to shift my definition of success away from the money I was making and towards the positive impact I have on other people.
Years of practice and mistakes later, I've found that one of the best ways to set my employees on the path to success is to give them default opportunities to do good for themselves. It's not all about paychecks (although we do our best to make those joy-inducing too); it's more about providing the infrastructure to make positive life decisions easily.
Here are a few ways that I try to impact my employees' positive behavior:
Make wellness an everyday word.
It is old news that a healthy workforce is productive, profitable, and highly desirable. But hitting the gym isn't everybody's favorite thing and it's only part of the wellness picture, so we hired a wellness director to ensure that employee health initiatives stay relevant and top of mind.
In addition to gym membership reimbursement (with twice weekly required attendance), we try to influence positive behavior by offering healthy snacks, free onsite group exercise classes, and weight loss support programs.
But our offering that has the most impact for employees' health is our "Continuous Improvement" white board where employees share their personal fitness and life goals each month. We publicly celebrate inches lost, cholesterol points dropped, and smoking habits dropped--making healthy life choices an easier decision for all.
Help build bright financial futures.
I've said before that one of the greatest joys I experience as a CEO is watching my employees buy homes, cars, save for their children's college education and other major financial life events. Financial health is an important part of life.
As a CEO, I have the ability to offer a lot of different ways to offer a healthy financial future for employees. While many businesses offer 401k matching (so do we), we push hard to encourage financial literacy and smart saving, and we have programs in place to provide a little extra help when needed.
Performance incentives, while not always groundbreaking, are interesting to incorporate, too. Our Blinds.com call center recently grew our performance compensation program to include our post-purchase Customer Service folks, after developing a unique algorithm to measure customer satisfaction within our service department (instead of focusing on quantitative measurements alone).
Encourage living fearlessly.
One of our most discussed company values is "Experiment Without Fear of Failure." Everything we do (and I do mean everything) is done with the explicit desire to do it better than we did it before. We talk about it in meetings, measure it at performance reviews, and sometimes even make a game of it.
This cultural hallmark spills into employees' personal lives too in terms of time spent with family, workouts at the gym, home organization, book club discussions, meal cooking. It's incredible to hear the ways employees take office expectations of continuous improvement into every aspect of their lives.
Every day, we all arrive at the office from totally different worlds. No matter our diverse family situations or morning routines, I want to help every employee walk out the door at the end of the day feeling empowered to make the most of the world around them.
What positive behaviors do you attempt to drive in your organization? Do you think that a management team should be concerned not only with whether or not their employees make smart choices, but providing templates and programs to ensure that they do?