An Opportunity to Care for Employees

Jill Going | Chief People Officer – Point B (retired).

Jill's picture for the blog

Last year I retired from a job I loved – leading the “People Team” for a national consulting firm. The firm is not an overtly faith-based organization but was built on biblical values which included “doing the right thing” for our workforce. The firm’s guiding principles gave leaders permission to live into a higher calling of caring for people. In Colossians 3:23, Paul encourages us to think about our work as if we were working for the Lord. I was able to heed this advice in my work, which involved shaping organizational culture in ways that put people first. I learned plenty while building a large firm over 23 years and I’d like to share a few lessons that can be implemented within any team:

Set a Standard That Serves a Bigger Purpose (Titus 2:7-8)

Shared values are the building blocks that shape how an organization operates and the culture that results. Values set standards and drive decision-making. Creative, Christlike values can also transcend how work gets done by identifying expectations, respecting differences, caring for others, and living unselfishly – gently guiding teams, perhaps unknowingly, towards God’s design for life. It’s no secret that we become like the people we do life with, and a workplace that consistently sets a bold standard will also positively influence the daily habits of those who take part in it.

Invest in Time to Be Actively Curious About People. (I John 5:4)

Jesus may have famously wept, but he spent far more time listening. He knew all things, and yet took time to ask questions and listen – to hear stories and requests before responding. Active curiosity builds connections, unlocks emotions, makes people feel known and inspires them to move forward. A supportive and caring culture creates time for managers to know the whole person before the employee, to understand their today and guide them to make plans for tomorrow. These cultures offer forums to listen and learn from employees, creating opportunities for the organization to adapt and strengthen itself. A curious culture honors diverse employees by asking them to share their life stories so that others can gain from their unique strengths, experiences, and trials. Finally, such cultures are perpetuated by rewarding managers and others who are adept at building it.

Build the Power of Small Acts as Examples of Love (Matthew 6:25-34; Acts 28:2)

God cares about our whole lives and even seemingly trivial issues matter to Him. Sometimes it is in the small moments where we see the depth of His love and commitment to us. Similarly, the power of small acts in supporting employees tends to have a bigger impact than the effort required. A knowledgeable internal employee (not a call center) tracking down a lost paycheck or answering a benefits question can fundamentally change an employer-employee relationship. Empowering employees to own these small acts on behalf of others builds trust across the organization to ‘do the right thing’. Sharing these stories motivates others to do the same.

Lean into Hard Stuff with Honesty (John 16:33, Proverbs 10:9)

Sometimes bad things happen that hit close to home: Projects go wrong, financial results turn out poorly, unexpected outcomes happen, and mistakes are made. Strong cultures lean into the hard stuff with honesty. No spin or false narrative is offered – just the facts with enough care to build understanding. Jesus navigated issues by consistently returning focus to what mattered. He cared for people who were hurting by drawing them closer to Him. When we lead with heart through hard times, we have an opportunity to care for employees, strengthen cultural ties with each other, and building enduring organizations.

Center for Faithful Business

Seattle Pacific University

Dr. JoAnn Flett, Executive Director

Email

cfb@spu.edu

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