The future of work recognises employees’ minds and hearts: The value of being valued

Considering we spend such a large portion of our lives at work, shouldn’t work be a place we love and a place we feel valued?

I’ll never forget my first job at a factory in town. My job was to do quality control on boxes of leather destined to become car seats. While I was grateful for the opportunity to make some money, this was overshadowed by the fact that it was a truly demoralising experience.

It wasn’t so much the type of work, but the way I was treated by the person managing me. I got the impression that I was nothing more than a disposable commodity, not worth any kind of attention.

At the time, I was working with my best friend (now Co-CEO with me and still my best friend). I’ll never forget looking up at one point and saying to Richard “This is the first and last job where we will work for someone. When we build a company one day let’s make it a place we would actually want to work.”

And this is the idea that has shaped the way we have built our company over the last 20 years.

The value in being valued

So often, as leaders, we focus on the end game. We want high-performance teams, great staff retention, collaboration, and teamwork. But we often don’t recognise the fundamental idea that people naturally deliver all of these things when they are valued.

All the programmes, incentives and strategies to achieve these outcomes will fail in the long term if we don’t first, and foremost, value people.

Twenty years after founding Rooftop, we employ around 70 phenomenally talented people. While most are based in South Africa, the team is also growing globally as we have opened up opportunities for hybrid and remote work.

Together with building a work environment that we love, we’ve also built strategic relationships with clients who employ us to do the kind of work we love. We’re privileged to work on campaigns and content for some of the world’s biggest multilateral organisations on critical issues facing humanity and our planet.

Attracting top talent means recognising people AND their skills

I believe the biggest driver of a business’s success is not strategy or marketing (although they are important) but the way you employ, grow, invest, and treat your team.

The future of work recognises employees’ minds and hearts. That’s how you attract top talent, and encourage them to stay.

The end game – delivering quality work, retaining staff, and generating a profit – happen naturally when we treat people well, pay fairly, show sympathy, value individuals and their uniqueness, build relationships, trust, and treat people in the same way we would want to be treated.

Focusing on people from a true place of empathy unlocks the most unbelievable results, it’s only achievable from an authentic belief that people will bring their best when they are people first and employees second.

No need for policing, stringent policies and micro-management.

I believe that by creating an environment that values people, we create a culture of excellence, and everyone wins.

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