Take for example "Starbucks". They have many employees who, and as far as I understand, work for minimum wage.
Do they really have a "sense of belonging"? Is it possible to have one when working for a big corporation at minimum wage? If so, how does a big organization implement that?
This is a great question and one that I work on every single day in my role as CEO.
I've run and worked for many companies great and small as CEO, minimum wager, and everything in between. I've run business units for global companies like Goldman Sachs, consulted with other highly-engaged companies like Honda, and have been CEO for small companies and start-ups you've probably never heard of.
The lessons I've learned about world class employee engagement seem to transcend industries and size of firm. As a CEO, I do my best to practice these lessons every day with just about every decision I make and every conversation I have with my employees. It takes a combination of leadership style, operating culture, and good supporting systems. I work hard at employee engagement and hopefully get it more right than wrong each day.
It's a big topic so please set-up a call if you want to learn more. I'd be more than happy to share what I've learned and the real life stories that go with those learnings.
All the best.
The answer lies in creating an aspirational culture, or a culture of opportunity. Organizations owe their employees pathways for recognition and upward mobility, with inbuilt mechanisms for mentorship and skill augmentation. In a sense, organizations promote their brand to a customer and employees alike -" this is what we stand for, this is who we are, trust us, we will take care of you!"
McJobs being devoid of these qualities are then high turnover, whereas the Starbucks job is a pathway to learning customer service and management skills under middle class values.
But yes, creating this ethos takes enormous concerted effort! Complicating matters are trends of talent poaching and paypacket competition between industry rivals (this affects mid level and up more).
Great question - happy to help you create a strategy of belonging!
With a company like Starbucks sure lots of them work for minimum wage, most jobs like Starbucks supplement low pay with store vs store competitions, store self chosen nicknames, and lots of discounts from partner organizations with huge discounts. Some other larger organizations will do monthly reviews with some sort of results based bonuses etc. If you are looking for more information feel free to give me a call.
Creating a sense of belonging is not only possible, it is critical. My research indicates that there are five key ingredients necessary for a business to scale. A sense of belonging or purpose is one of them.
A lot of research supported the fact that that salary has little impact on developing a sense of belong. As long as people are receiving what they deem to be "fair," adding additional salary or bonus-based incentives have little effect on engagement.
The key, I believe, is purpose. If you can create a compelling purpose that your employees want to believe in and if you authentically live for that purpose from the CEO and board level all the way down, you will create the "soft power" or "moral force" that enables great organizations to succeed.
My advice would be to develop regular communications to employees using whatever communications channels fit your company's culture. The smaller the organization, the easier it is to check in and evaluate whether employees feel valued. The larger the organization, the more challenging it becomes. But, don't let anything stop you from moving forward. A first step is always a positive step and you can get valuable feedback from your employees if you end the message by asking if the information presented was valuable to them and their roles in the company. You can also poll employees with this question as well to learn if they'd also like to engage in team building events, community service projects or town hall-style meetings. Hang in there and remember to take the first step and ask / engage your employees every step of the way.