Give employees a sense of belonging with an organization than simple gestures like celebrating anniversaries, birthdays, and life events.
We’ve all seen the Hollywood cliché of the successful businessman who’s too busy with work to spend time with his family. In those films the businessman is usually confronted with a choice: Be a boss, or be a dad! This crisis inevitably sends the businessman on journey to reconnect with the important things in life. After all, what does it profit a man to inherit the Earth but lose his soul?
Well you can file this under “life imitating art” – the CEO of a $2 trillion dollar investment fund in California completely played into old clichés when he unexpectedly quit his job after his daughter presented him with a list of 22 important milestones in her life he had missed due to work commitments.
Daddy Doesn’t Live Here Anymore
The 56 year-old Mohamed El-Erian stepped down as CEO of PIMCO last January, calling it a “wake-up call”. The executive was arguing with his daughter over brushing her teeth when she presented him with the list, which prompted a statement that reads like a Hollywood ending:
“I felt awful and got defensive: I had a good excuse for each missed event! Travel, important meetings, an urgent phone call, [a] sudden to-do. But it dawned on me that I was missing an infinitely more important point … I was not making nearly enough time for [my daughter].”
After which he gracefully bowed out from the job, never to return. Mohamed El-Erian not only proved that this kind of stuff actually happens in real life, but that everyone else would do well to pay attention.
Road Map to Life
We talk about the importance of milestones in the workplace so much it’s easy to forget that every milestone in life matters, because at the end of the day our milestones define what our story is, telling us who we are. We look back on them to see how far we’ve come, and to gauge how far we’ll go. They’re the road map to our lives. So it’s no surprise that when those milestones go unrecognized, one can start to feel like they don’t exist.
Don’t Forget to Celebrate
This is why it’s imperative to never miss a chance to celebrate a milestone. Few things go further toward giving employees a sense of belonging with an organization than simple gestures like celebrating anniversaries, birthdays, and life events. But at the same time you have to make sure their work isn’t making them miss milestones outside of the office as well. Engagement is always a delicate balance, and it takes constant work. If you leave recognition unattended, you may just become another cliché.