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The Seven Habits of Organizations Who Truly Value People

05/04/2015 11:48 am ET | Updated May 04, 2016

Studies show that top organizations are successful because they make their employees feel valued. They forgo duplicitous words and actions in favor of taking deliberate steps to create and grow relationships. These organizations have transformed the prevailing corporate mindset from creating increase through reduction to creating growth by investing additional resources in people.

Thriving organizations make their people feel valued by practicing these seven habits.

1. They Hire Selectively

Hiring the right people for the job means hiring people who believe what you believe. Lazlo Bock (Godfather of People Operations at Google) says they hire the right people for the right job regardless of background. This subtle, yet profound, shift in mindset is critical. It implies they hire people whose passion, purpose, and beliefs align with Google's values. Google has learned to tap into a resource that is scarce in the American workplace today: intrinsic motivation. Google hires approximately one out of every 200 applicants who apply.

2. They Invest in People

An investment in people is equal to an investment in the organization. Employee happiness increases employee engagement and engaged employees cultivate interested customers. If you're worried about creating a return on investment and justifying costs to shareholders, take a step back, breathe deeply, and ask yourself one question, "What would the board say if we could increase business performance outcomes by 240 percent?" Now, the question becomes, "How can you afford not to invest in people?"

3. They Value Emotional Intelligence

The concept of emotional intelligence derives from a personal perspective. A person is emotionally intelligent when they recognize their emotions and understand how their emotions affect those around them. What about the organization? Organizations are emotionally intelligent when they cultivate a culture that values emotional intelligence. Influencers throughout the organization serve as living, breathing examples of emotional intelligence (or a lack of.)

Growing emotional intelligence from a holistic perspective creates synergy. Organizations that foster it can tap into emotional intelligence like an oil well. Emotional intelligence becomes a source of energy that (when continually refined) increases happiness and increases the bottom line.

4. They Empower

Empower or empowerment is a buzzword that countless gurus use today. It has become cliché and in particular instances evokes the level of interest that accompanies watching paint dry. Ultimately, the word is used to signify a transfer of authority. As opposed to being a cog in a wheel or a puppet, empowerment suggests the ability to take action under your power. As opposed to the puppet master controlling every move and every uttered syllable, empowerment encourages ownership and ownership ultimately leads to value. The exhilarating and awesome feeling of "I can and do make a difference."

5. Happiness is a Priority

The status-quo corporate culture has opined (for far too long) that happiness and business are exclusive of one another. This mindset fails to pass even the common sense test. Why would employee satisfaction (i.e. Happiness) be considered a natural enemy of business? It requires organizations to understand what makes people feel happy. This understanding takes time and often challenges the prevailing mindset. Which tends to be that, time is better spent improving the bottom line.

6. They Can Be Trusted

Hiring employees is tantamount to entering into a marriage. We want their exclusive attention and focus so the relationship can thrive. In order to do so firms must connect with employees on an emotional level. Communicating and connecting the firm's purpose with their team members grows a culture of trust. Our most precious resources must understand why we do what we do.

7. There're Flexible

Life is dynamic and as a result businesses must be prepared to change as well. Adopting policies and procedures that align with organizational and employee mores is a critical necessity. After realizing a 50 percent increase in attrition among new mothers, Google took action. Now, new mothers are authorized five full weeks of maternity leave. As a result, Google has reduced turnover (among new mothers) by 50 percent. They have also increased their bottom line by reducing the costs associated with employee turnover.

It is not enough for executives to believe they value their employees. There has to be a transference from the cognitive to the emotional. We have to stir them up by understanding what is important to them. Then and only then will a connection be made that allows employees to feel valued.