If it seems there’s an epidemic of uncaring Americans, it’s because there is. Employees fail to care about their own job performance, and customer service suffers. Automation has taken human contact out of just about every interaction and adds to our frustration, and we make it worse with the unhealthy attachment we have to our mobile devices.
The caring deficit in the American workplace and marketplace has devastating consequences. Uncaring employees show lackluster job performance, don’t work well in teams, and fail to provide quality customer service. Customers will choose to do business with companies that at least appear to care, but without relationships and social connections, the consequence is slow economic growth and the unraveling of the American social fabric.
Clearly, we must turn this trend around. We’re not doomed to slide into total apathy. Caring can be resurrected, and your organization can lead the charge; but first let’s get clear on the reason why it’s in such short supply. Most of us live very busy, very stressful lives, and under those conditions, our primal reptilian brains take over. The way we live keeps us in permanent physiological and psychological survival mode, where we are solely focused on looking out for number one.
This reality isn’t changing anytime soon, which means caring isn’t going to magically make a comeback. We can bring it back, but it has to be a choice. Companies that make the choice have a lot to gain, because caring is one of the greatest success strategies of all time. It has been a key strategy for companies like Apple, Southwest Airlines, Defender Direct, Gallagher Bassett, Facebook, and more.
The more you care, the more you stand out in a world where many don’t…and the more customer and employee loyalty you earn. Best of all, you make a positive contribution to the world.
Make caring a priority, and you’ll find a million easy ways to connect meaningfully with others. Here are 11 strategies to help create a caring culture in your organization:
1. Start with a strong vision.
You may have heard about Facebook’s recent shift in culture. Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants his maturing company to start focusing on “loving the people we serve.” Those are much more than admirable words; they represent a strong vision that has the power to guide and shape Facebook as it continues to grow.
To create your vision, ask yourself powerful questions like: What does this company look like when it’s at its strongest and best? Do I ignore the people on my team, or do I make time for and develop them? What priorities drive us? What do we want to accomplish? What do we want our partners and clients to say about us?
2. Find and communicate your company’s purpose.
In the midst of the day-in, day-out workday grind, it can be easy for you and your employees to see your jobs as a series of boxes to be checked, or as a way to put money in the bank. But no matter what industry you’re in, your jobs, and your company as a whole, are so much more than that. In some ways, your work helps people, makes their lives easier, or makes the world a better place.
Connections that improve people’s lives will inspire everyone in your company to care about the work you do and the people you serve. It’s easy to have a great mission statement, but it’s pointless unless your people are on a mission.