When companies use the word ‘family’ in referring to their employees, the results are rarely positive. The implication is to push for ‘family-type’ levels of commitment, which can cause conflict, dysfunction and damage morale. Andrew Smith, Director and Co-founder at Haylo explains why companies are not a family, and should never try to be one.
We all know the benefits of a healthy work-life balance, both in terms of productivity, employee retention and personal wellbeing. But by emphasising (corporate) family we blur the lines between work and life. There’s an expectation to be always available and guilt for potentially letting the others down when we’re not
We wrote previously about the importance of Celebrating Departures. Literally wishing ex employees well on their career journey and recognising their contribution to your firm. A family corporate culture rarely does this. Let’s be clear I’m sure that corporate leaders had the best intentions when using the family metaphor, it’s just in the practical application that it falls down. But there are ways to turn this around.
Don’t Be A Family, Be A Team!
“Most employees don’t want to be part of another family. Instead, they want to be part of a team that is bonded by a common purpose and built on trust and respect”. David Burkus PhD.
Having a strong corporate culture is good and if the top level goal is to increase productivity, then simply labelling your employees a ‘team’ is a great start. Words are important and the implication of working as a team toward a common goal will resonate with employees and lead to more positive collaboration. By dropping ‘family’ you drop the guilt and replace it with something far more empowering.
Establishing Healthy Boundaries
Pretty much the only way to ensure that employees stay focussed and productive in the long term is to make sure they are able to enjoy their time away from work. Forward thinking companies implement strategies that reinforce work-life boundaries rather than blur them. This includes stopping after-hours work emails, moving to flexible working arrangements, encouraging holidays and accommodating personal life commitments.
The Haylo ‘Team’
At Haylo, we’ve seen it for ourselves. Time away from work increases productivity, employee retention and team moral. We’re not a family, but we are a supportive and inclusive team.
- On 11/08/2022