Career-oriented people must think about types of workplace cultures, values and leaders that they want in their lives – their business community.
Buying a house is a big decision. It’s often said that purchasing a home is our biggest single lifetime investment. It’s where we spend time with family, make neighborhood connections and send children off to school. “Location, location, location” is the rule of thumb when deciding on that big purchase and taking on debt.
Yet, it’s not the place where we will spend most of our waking hours! That place is WORK. Why is it that the standards we set for our weekday lives aren’t as high as those we seek in buying into a neighborhood for our nights and weekends? Isn’t the workplace another form of lifestyle investment?
When the Business Roundtable CEOs issued their renewed statement of purpose, citing that employees and community take a front seat over shareholders, it signaled that workplace and community peace-of-mind impact business performance. That means the laws of home buying now apply to the type of workplace community we buy into. Location, location, location translate into workplace colleagues, community and culture.
“The answer to finding better work/life balance is to find the right blend between all our life activities—regardless of where and when they occur,” shares author Michael Thomas Sunnarborg, Balancing Work, Relationships & Life in Three Simple Steps.
Career-oriented people must think about types of workplace cultures, values and leaders that they want in their lives – their business community. You wouldn’t move into a troubled township without a good reason. Or a village with a poorly performing town council. Why sign an employment agreement at a troubled or culturally challenged workplace? If your financial and emotional wellbeing matter, be sure to also prioritize your career health.
Here are some things to consider when buying into a satisfying career culture:
- Property value: Not every workplace is great – some enterprises are on the road to turnaround; others are start-ups where your very presence impacts corporate culture. Look at the “neighborhood.” Do future colleagues have voice? Do their points of view matter? Does the company embrace diversity and inclusion? Nothing is perfect – but does the workplace desire to raise the community bar and become a best place to work? Some towns grow into success even though they are not featured in the New York Times real estate sector as amazing neighborhoods initially. Is the vibe in your future workplace an environment that strives to become a “Best Place to Work?
- School system quality: Lots of people buy a starter home in a community with a great school system, because that can translate into future home-owner value! How about career-owner value? Employers want smart people among their ranks and senior talent excited about mentoring colleagues to build leaders of the future. In his bestselling book Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent, Sydney Finkelstein, Professor of Management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, points to how great bosses encourage the success of future waves of talent. If you’re looking at a place that is ripe for learning, it should offer a great “school system” of professional development and mentorship. Invest in your career!
- What lifestyle do you seek: Realtors say, “Imagine your ideal lifestyle, both today and a decade into the future and use this as the basis for choosing the features you’d like in -our home.” Career-savvy seekers look for a current and future lifestyle match, too. In service cultures, where you are “on-call” many hours, do your supervisors appreciate and respect your time? Are you part of the team or just a “worker?” Do you hear the stories of employees moving and working from remote locations, because their lives took them to Montana? If the company cherishes talent, values people and recognizes that life is an adventure, it will seek to accommodate.
- Community leadership: Beyond listening to what leaders say, watch what they do! Towns have mayors. Are your local leaders dedicated to community well-being? Business leaders are running communities too! Communication network head Peter Finn felt that personal and career interest should align – not be separated. In his desire to revitalize the Catskills Mountain community of Hunter, he combined his love of the arts, support for rural communities and business-building energy. The result was the Catskills Mountain Foundation and a corporate retreat center in Hunter, New York. Instead of separating work and community interests, he sought common ground. Are your company’s leaders taking actions that set an inspiring example for the workplace community?
Remember, buying into a workplace is the “other” big investment in your future. Look for potential value and return on investment. As you think about your career adventure, ponder the answer to the big question: Am I as focused on “colleagues, community, culture” in my job journey as I would be on location, location, location in assessing housing?!”