This is Part Four in my series on Creating a Fiercely Loyal and Engaged Employee Culture. We’ve covered the ROI of creating this kind of culture, why your organization wants to create it, narrowing in on the Frame that will hold your community culture, and Finding Those who are interested in your frame. Hopefully, you’ve spent a lot of time listening. A lot of time. Because you’re about to put all that listening to work.
Building Block #3 Compelling Needs
Now that you’ve zeroed in on those who have some interest in your frame, it’s time to narrow that group down even more. And here is the most important thing for you to remember during this process: just because someone has indicated interest in your frame doesn’t necessarily mean they are good candidates for your community culture at this stage of the game.
So how do you tell the difference between those who are and those who aren’t? The people who want, even crave, the kind of community you want to build have three compelling needs. And if you listen closely, it’s like they are raising their hands and saying, “Pick Me!” They may overtly say “This is what I need.” Or they may hint around in a less overt way. In either case, the three needs you are listening for are:
~ The Need for Belonging. They want to be a part of something bigger than themselves.
~ The Need for Recognition. They want to be seen, heard, and acknowledged.
~ The Need for Safety. They want to feel secure among like-minded people.
If you’re thinking these sound a bit like a portion of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, you’re right. Most human beings have an internal drive to fill some basic emotional needs. According to much of the happiness research, we crave a sense of connection and engagement because it makes us feel truly happy. It’s natural that we seek out opportunities that will fill these cravings.
To drill down on this, here are a few things you can do:
1) Listen. And listen some more. Noticing a theme here? You are listening for specific indicators of the Compelling Needs listed above. Remember, they can be overtly expressed or more vaguely hinted at. Your job is to pay attention to either.
2) Stay out the convincing business. During all this listening, you will find people who share the common interest that is your frame, but who aren’t interested in your community. Don’t waste time and energy trying to convince them otherwise. Neither of you will be happy with the outcome. Instead, focus on finding those who are already so interested that they are raising their hands and saying “Pick me!”
3) Ask for referrals and recommendations. Once you’ve found a handful of ideal candidates for your new, engaged community, ask for referrals and recommendations from them. Chances are they hang out with people who have similar needs and/or know the co-workers who do.
Focus your time on finding people who are raising their hands and want to be a part of your community. In my next post, I’ll share what your community structure needs to include to give you the kind of success you and your community members are after.