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3 signs you’re working for a company that truly values its employees

Kathy Bloomgarden, CEO of Ruder FinnKathy Bloomgarden, CEO of Ruder Finn
Kathy Bloomgarden, CEO of Ruder FinnCourtesy of Ruder Finn, Inc.

MPW Insider is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for:What’s your biggest worry and how are you dealing with it? is written by Kathy Bloomgarden, CEO of Ruder Finn.

The heart and soul of every great company is its people and the most successful organizations are those in which the passions of its employees match the guiding principles of the business. One of the most important challenges leaders face when keeping an organization on its path to greatness is creating a culture that is fulfilling to its people, with limitless opportunities for them to grow and learn. It is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day needs of the business, focus on competition and changes in the external environment, but driving a fulfilling culture is a task leaders must not lose sight of. People change and their aspirations and interests evolve. Moreover, the world we live in is also changing at a more accelerated pace, which means businesses must adapt. But how can we maintain a business that offers opportunity for all and stays deeply rooted in the passions of its employees? This should be a top priority on the agendas of all leaders.

Create shared values
These values don’t have to hang on the wall as the company’s mission, but they should be engrained into the organization at the deepest level. This is how employees treat each other, the ethical standards by which you run your business, and the types of projects you decide to take on. I’m reminded how important this is for my business when I walk through the halls of our office and feel the sense of community among my staff. I’ll see dogs in the hallway, hear laughter coming from beanbag chairs and smell home-baked goodies that are brought in to share. Family values has always been an important part of my business and I’ve seen this seep into the relationships we have with our customers and the way our employees support each other.

Inspiration is critical
It’s the responsibility of every leader to understand what makes their employees tick. Leaders must touch the emotional core of employees and help them excel. I’ve found that the most memorable projects for anyone are those that allowed employees to try something new, by providing growth opportunities and expanding business at the same time. I’ve made sure my company invests in our staff’s natural curiosity, giving them time to create their own pet-projects or provide opportunities for hands-on experiences with the latest tech gadgets, like Oculus Rift or PS4. Leaders need to be the driving force cheering employees on, helping them accomplish their goals. It is truly amazing what can be accomplished when you have someone in your corner, and the inspiration cascades to others and builds momentum across an organization. It is crucial to find a way to bring this into the way you do business, and the culture of your organization.

Make learning a part of the job
A learning environment always encourages employees to try to look at a problem or solution through a new lens, looking for new skills to apply to a challenge and adopting best practices from those around them. It is not really about the training, but instead making learning a part of the everyday job. Leaders must create an environment in which knowledge is power and having an open mindset that enables fine tuning of skills in an exciting part of the fabric of the business.

Read all responses to the MPW Insider question: What’s your biggest worry and how are you dealing with it?

How CST Brands’ Kim Lubel is dealing with her biggest fear by Kim Lubel, CEO, chairman and president of CST Brands.

This is how top leaders in business overcome their fears by Sandra Peterson, group worldwide chairman at Johnson & Johnson.

How this company is appealing to millennials by Kathy Murphy, president of personal investing at Fidelity.

Why this CEO wants employees to speak up to leaders by Jane Fraser, CEO of Citigroup Latin America.