I was listening to a podcast this morning about the importance of teaching children how to cook. When you can break lessons down into manageable, repetitive, learning opportunities, they’ll get it. In this story a mother is teaching her son kitchen basics at age 4. He learns how to carry a plate of food to the table (without spilling anything), how to properly crack eggs, and knife skills. Understandably, his mother found teaching him how to use a knife to be the scariest but most important tool in this wheelhouse.
With him now trained to chop vegetables, she was able to save hours every week in food prep (they were a family of 6). At the age of 11, he was able to prepare and make a meal for his 3 siblings. While his mother found it challenging to let go and trust her son to complete the task, he completed it with flying colors and the confidence he gained and lessons he learned were immeasurable.
Much like teaching her son early on, setting proper expectations during an employee onboarding is crucial. There are constant learning opportunities to display company values and to reinforce what success looks like. New employees who went through a structured onboarding program were 58% more likely to be with the organization after three years (source).
Companies are slowly shifting into the mindset of empowering employees to make decisions in the best interest of the client. Studies show that companies that invest in the employee experience benefit on Wall Street. So why not let employees self-guide their culture? It’s time companies start providing teaching opportunities and tools for employees to shape the culture they want to build. An employee driven focus by a business will ensure a successful culture. It will help build bridges amongst departments, create professional development opportunities, and to increase employee lifecycles. It’s the idea of allowing employees to extend each other’s lifecycles versus relying on HR and management to do so. Let your team upgrade from the butter knife to the chef’s knife.
Additionally, the act of serving others feels good. When her son served the meal he cooked for his siblings, she was instilling the act of service and letting him experience what it feels to do something for others. Employees want that. Research from the University of Georgia Terry College of Business shows that employee volunteering is linked to greater workplace productivity and satisfaction.
Employees should not be underestimated. If given the support, tools, and space to make decisions in the best interest of the client, you’re halfway there. Take the next leap of faith and expand that same trust and apply it to your company culture. Put the knife down (and give it to someone else).