How Leading Companies Create Thriving Workplaces
Updated: May 9
When I work with a corporate client, I teach them how to use Stop & Shift, how to create human-centered cultures, and how to lead with a growth attitude. But before we can teach, we have to listen first, and every time a group asks me to talk to their team, I learn a lot.
My clients come from completely different industries—from healthcare to aerospace engineering to food services. The people in the room come from all levels of the organization—the board, the C-suite, the managers, the people out working in the field.
Seeing employers offer this message to their people gives me a lot of hope for the direction we’re headed. These are companies that show they care by creating workplaces that help their people thrive.
Because that’s how your business succeeds.
What I know to be true, and what I’ve seen again and again with my clients, is that when you support your team’s well-being and growth, it will only make your business more successful.
If you’re in this community, I know that you’re invested in building a human-centric culture at your organization. So here are four lessons I’ve learned from some of the companies I’ve partnered with recently.
Successful leaders keep looking for ways to innovate.
The executives and board members I met while working with Ovation Healthcare were so warm and loving. People who work in healthcare have deeply compassionate hearts; they truly care about the people they serve.
Ovation (formerly Quorum Health Resources) helps make sure that independent community hospitals have all of the supplies and resources they need to thrive. Those community hospitals often aren’t getting a lot of funding, but they’re the lifeblood of our healthcare system. In rural areas, especially, sometimes a community hospital is the only medical support for a hundred miles.
All of the leaders at Ovation are deeply connected to their communities, so they’re personally dedicated to making sure the business side of the independent hospital system doesn’t grind down our healthcare heroes.
When you know your job and your industry that well, it can be easy to get stuck in your ways. But the leaders at Ovation were all so open to learning new ways of thriving together. They understood that as soon as you stop learning, you’ll fall behind. Leading with a growth mindset means creating a culture of trust, where your team feels empowered to innovate because they know it’s not win or lose, it’s win or learn.
If you care about performance, you also need to care about the well-being of your team.
I spoke with Transit Wireless during their wellness week, which included learning about mental wellness. Their focus on managing stress, regulating emotions, and working mindfully starts with the CEO and a vibrant culture that incorporates wellness into their operating strategy.
Transit is a communications company; it’s a data-driven industry. In fact, 70% of their team members are engineers. But the company encourages their people not to lose sight of the humans behind those stats, and everyone at Transit is committed to caring for their people by giving them tools to thrive.
That investment in their people helps them build an environment where their team feels valued and can stay connected to the bigger mission because they have time to rest, reset, and choose self-care. That’s the kind of rhythm that supports long-term productivity.
Give leaders the autonomy to take care of their people.
Anyone who has ever worked on the front lines of the service industry knows that it is challenging, especially if you don’t work for a company that’s truly committed to supporting their employees.
I was absolutely blown away by the stories I heard about the way Chik-fil-A takes care of their people. It’s not just that they’ve committed to that kind of culture at a corporate level. They empower their franchise operators—the people who are closest to their team members, who know their goals, their challenges, their families—to create their own culture of caring at each location.
Because those leaders know their teams, they’re able to support their people as individuals. That gives them the flexibility to innovate and create initiatives that address their teams’ needs, like an operator in Miami who revamped his team’s schedules to create three-day workweeks for his employees.
When you empower leaders to connect to the unique needs of their teams and focus on creating environments where employees can flourish, you can truly create a human-centric culture.
You are not a business leader—you’re a leader of people.
Since 2020, there has been unprecedented employee turnover in almost every industry. Whether you call it the Great Resignation, the Great Reshuffle, the Big Quit, or (my personal favorite) the Great Reset, finding and retaining talent has become a major topic of discussion at organizations of all sizes, worldwide.
At Woodmont Real Estate Services, which specializes in property management and commercial real estate, I met mission-driven people who have been with the organization for a decade or more. In fact, if you’ve only been there for six years, you’re still considered a newbie!
What’s their secret? The leaders I spoke with consistently told me that the company has created a community that feels like a family. People feel seen, valued, and supported, which keeps them connected to each other and to the larger goals in a beautiful, organic way.
Your people are the heart of your business. When you take care of each other like family, you create deeper connections and loyalty that transcend retention trends.
Teaching mindfulness, positive psychology, and mental strength training to these different communities, all with the goal of making their company culture more human-centric, is a true honor.
The fact that my message resonates in all of these different rooms tells me something that I always believed would prove true:
This is a human message, and everyone needs to hear it.
After I speak—when I hear people’s personal stories, when they ask questions, when they share what resonated with them—it fills me with gratitude that this exercise that saved my life is now making a positive impact on others, providing them with the tools they need to effect meaningful change in their own lives.
Seeing that life-changing shift help other people? It’s a blessing I’ll never take for granted.
It is a testament to the human capacity for growth and change, and I am honored to be a part of this journey towards self-improvement with all of you.
Here’s to growing and being better together, my friends.