Major life events reveal your company culture.

You’ve heard it said that people don’t quit jobs – they quit people. There’s a lot of truth in that. I brushed the dust off of this vintage post from my Inc. magazine column, because company culture is a vital component of any business, and major life events are a big metric for measuring how healthy that culture is. When life happens, how you react reveals all you need to know about the work environment that you’ve created for your company. As I noted in my original column:

“Whenever your business is disrupted by a major event in the life of an employee–such as the birth of a child–don’t make the mistake of treating it as a problem and a headache. Instead, recognize it as a chance for the company to shine.”

Here at Birthing of Giants, we call it stakeholder capitalism – the implementation and measurement of how invested a company’s “stakeholders” are. Employees are one kind of stakeholder, and company culture plays a hefty role in how empowered your employees feel. Major life events don’t come up very often, so take advantage of the opportunity to show how much you care about your employees. How to do that?

“The general rule is: Come up with something outside the norm.”

For example, consider how you might offer work from home days, or flexible hours to a worker with a new baby or dealing with a loss in the family. Perhaps you and your employees can rally around a coworker in need, and temporarily take on some of their workload as a gift to them.

“To be sure, the employees’ participation has to be voluntary. It’s not a gift if people are required to do it. Most will probably be happy to chip in. If they aren’t, you’ll know something is amiss with your culture, and you’ll need to address it.”

The point is to think creatively about how to best serve your employees as they do the day-to-day work of growing your business. Company culture is an easy thing to ignore (Just ask Matt Manero, who had to do a hard reset to change his company’s toxic culture.), but if you want empowered employees who don’t quit on you, take full advantage of those opportunities to have a positive impact on both the work environment and your employees’ lives.

You can read my article in its original form at Inc. magazine’s website.