Managing life while working remains a tough balancing act for many of us. Our jobs demand most of our time and energy, leaving little of these valued currencies for personal and family matters. Ultimately, our workplace culture determines how much we dread, accept or embrace this reality.
As I watched the “Father’s Day” documentary, recently released by Grammy-award-winning gospel artist Kirk Franklin, I was struck by how Kirk’s team buoyed him during a tumultuous time in his life. Within a few weeks of beginning work on his new album, Kirk unexpectedly learns the identity of his biological father, which shook the 53-year-old successful entrepreneur to his core. Rather than halt the project, he invited his team to “hear and see what he’s going through” as a part of their journey together as his extended family.
As the CEO and project leader, Kirk tearfully shared his immediate family’s plight with his team, signaling how much he trusts, values and honors their support. His vulnerability empowered the team to bring their A-Game and their “A-Heart” to make the project a reality as Kirk navigated the dark family discovery.
Like Kirk, what if RIA leaders rejected the notion that team members should leave their personal lives behind when they walk through the office door or turn on their computers? What if these leaders extended space in the workplace when “life be lifein’” and trusted that the work would get done with the right support and encouragement?
Although it is certainly easier said than done, here are some strategies to welcome the family spirit into your workplace.
Hold One-on-One Meetings With Teammates For an Open Discussion
At 2050 Wealth Partners, we dedicate one-on-one time weekly or bi-weekly where each team member shares their thoughts while the lead manager serves as an encouraging ear and sounding board. This dedicated time is not designed to discuss work duties; it’s an opportunity to get to know teammates better and help them design a path that aligns with their goals, values, needs and interests.
Be Intentional With Sharing in Team Meetings
We start our team huddles with an “energy check” and follow-up question, “Are you in a stretch period?” This consistent checking in allows leaders and team members to acknowledge and share their feelings and situations, whether fleeting or lingering. The information helps us navigate team capacity and shift responsibilities without judgment and shame.
Encourage Leave in the Form of Flex-Time or Paid Personal Time Off to Address Family Matters and Mental Health
According to 2023 Pew Research, four out of 10 employees use less than their allotted paid time off for sick, vacation or medical appointments. For participants who underutilized their leave, 49% shared that they fear getting behind on their work, and 46% felt guilty about colleagues assuming their work during their absence. A larger percentage of Black respondents (21%) versus White respondents (13%) feared losing their jobs due to their absence. These statistics indicate that leaders must proactively demonstrate that they value their employees and recognize the importance of taking time to improve their overall well-being, even if it pertains to mental health and family matters.
By investing in your employees' well-being, you are investing in the future of your company. When employees feel supported and valued, they are more likely to be productive, engaged and loyal. If you’re committed to building a successful RIA of the future, make sure you're creating a workplace where employees feel that it’s more than just a job—it's a family.