Employees, we’re told, are even more unhappy now than they were during the pandemic. Not the best tune to bring along with us as we step into 2024, is it?

The Wall Street Journal article linked above describes a handful of possible sources for the continuing decline in employee satisfaction—inflation’s impact on paychecks, the return to the office for some, the isolating effects of remote work for others, the cooling job market, constant job-hopping.

The key takeaway, regardless of the origins of the problem, is that many organizations are still struggling to build (or rebuild) purposeful, healthy corporate cultures. Trust is low, there’s no strong sense of community, communication is a struggle, and frustration is rampant. Overall, employees across the country are starting this new year with a frown.


How true does this feel for your organization?

Are your teams in a negative spiral at the moment? Or are you finding your people and culture surprisingly resilient in spite of it all? A recent HBR article points to a few key areas to focus on in order to foster your employees’ overall satisfaction: flexibility, community, and purpose. Maybe you’ve got those three down pat, and didn’t even realize what a difference it was making!

We’d like to add one more key step to the list. If you want your employees to be able to come to work excited, motivated, and intent on being their best selves, you as the business owner or CEO need to focus on attaining that for yourself first.

Monkey see, monkey do

Think back to the best boss, coach, or teacher you ever had. (If no one springs to mind, take a minute to visualize Ted Lasso instead.) Chances are, you experienced moments when you wanted to be “just like them.” At the very least, their example inspired you to do the best you could, and kept you going when things got tough. Whether it was their positivity, their resilience, their hard skills, their values or their purpose-driven intentionality, it’s unlikely you would have shown up to the class or game or meeting without their example spurring you on.

We’re all monkeys here. Give your team members something good to imitate.

Of course, that’s easier said than done.

The power of peer groups

Not sure where to start to ensure you’re showing up every day modeling the joy and purpose you’d love your employees to experience as well? There is very little that can spark learning, untangle knots, and readjust your relationship with your work like joining a peer group can. When our Acumen partners are asked to reflect on what they’ve gotten out of their time in the program, they almost always point immediately to the power of the deep, impactful learning that can only happen in a tight, values-driven community. They talk about how the meeting rhythms keep them centered on what really matters; how involvement with a caring community supports their own wellbeing, allowing them to better pour into others; and how the sense of being stuck plowing new roads alone every day is lifted when you have others to problem solve and share stories with.

Want to start inspiring your employees with your own genuine passion and energy for the work? Spend some time in community so you can be replenished, sharpened, and reminded of why you do what you do.

Pass it along

Only then can you let that learning and purpose pour out to those you lead and serve! Once that capacity has opened up, and you’re inspiring your teams with your diligence and excitement, you’ll find yourself more able to: