At Pacesetter, we say that our associates are family, and we mean it.
By we, I don’t mean just me, although I do have an advantage in that the company was founded by my parents, Steve and Bobbi Leebow.
Still, you don’t have to be a Leebow or a Wolmer to be treated like family at Pacesetter. It’s the base of our corporate culture; it’s what we do, every day.
There’s good reason to make sure that the workplace treats associates like family. First, it combats the outdated notion that there are clear delineations between work life and home life. As I’ve written about previously, between advances in technology and the need for flexibility around schedules (not 9 to 5 thinking) it’s better to think of each day in terms of work-life integration.
That means companies must bring “life” into work. At Pacesetter, we do this in ways large and small. It starts with celebrations. Think about it, even the most fractious family can usually come together at holidays, or to celebrate a birthday.
So we try to celebrate something every month. We’ve given out roses to all our mothers on Mother’s Day, provided doughnuts and played silly games on National Doughnut Day, and of course there’s an annual holiday party.
Sound too frivolous for a workplace? Consider this: most people spend at least 40 hours a week at their job, with the same people, sharing space and common experiences. How is that not similar to a family structure? So why not capitalize on the best of what families offer us, and integrate it into the workplace?
Another example is shared meals. Our Steel City diner gives team members a place to get together and get to know each other, or hang out with work-friends, over lunch or a quick snack. Also, this is where we have our monthly Associate Recognition. We may not go as far as having “My Pacesetter Team Made the Honor Roll” bumper stickers, but we do recognize those who go above and beyond.
Still not convinced that creating a family culture isn’t business-like enough? How about this statistic: according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, by 2030 Millennials will make up 75 percent of the workforce.
In 2014, a survey from Payscale, led by Dan Schawbel of Millennial Branding, found that Millennials, or Gen Y when the birthdate is in the 1970s, rather than the 1980s, found that this younger generation expects to spend, on average, less than one year in a job before looking elsewhere.
Turnover is expensive, and the opposite of what any solid business needs. How to combat that? Treat everyone like they’re family.
He then goes on to explain that socializing from happy hours to volunteering opportunities (Pacesetter does that too, we have a team that participates in the Susan G. Koman 3-Day Walk every year, along with other activities) makes the cost of quitting more than just a paycheck. The former employee will feel as though they’ve lost a family, and a culture they enjoy.
Which brings up the final point. Our associates do have lives, and families. We know that and part of treating associates like family is including their families. Since the 90s we’ve given out turkeys at Thanksgiving, this past spring we hosted prom photos, and we had our first-ever Leprechaun Trap contest on St. Patrick’s Day.
The last, by the way, was a suggestion made to us by a new associate. Growing and changing as our work family grows, and changes, will help us stay family-focused, and keep our work family happy, thriving, and, hopefully, part of Pacesetter for years to come.