By Sarah Schleicher Princehorn, Business Performance Advisor, Insperity
In my role, I sit down with at least 10-12 business executives every month to learn about their business. I’ve always been fascinated by the entrepreneurial mind—a person who typically risks just about everything to pour their heart and soul into an idea, with the hope that it will take off – but no certainty.
I’ve had this position for three years, but recently the way I listen to executives has undergone a dramatic shift. In January, I went through a personal crisis and instead of penalizing me for letting my personal life affect my professional persona; my company chose to INVEST in me.
I was given the month of January off to focus on my family and myself. While every company has to honor the regulations of FMLA, what Insperity did for me is unheard of.
I explained my situation to our Community Involvement team via an electronic application. I explained that over the course of the previous six months, I’d had two surgeries and been hit hard with a bout of postpartum depression. I felt like I was falling apart.
Within 24 hours, I’d been put in touch with a third-party non-profit organization, scanned over copies of all our bills for not only the month of January, but also for February, and checks were en route to my home via FedEx. My husband and I were both stunned. We were both shocked and humbled that my employer would take care of me in such a manner.
When I returned to work mid-February, I came back with a changed attitude. Obviously my work performance had been affected by my post-partum depression, but the change was much deeper than that. I was altered fundamentally, in how I interacted with the executives and in every conversation I had with them about their people.
I am now a firm believer that Culture Trumps Strategy every day of the week. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what your company is all about. I can speak from personal experience that creating a culture of support and value for your employees is well worth the investment.
As an executive, it is your role to strategize and develop a plan of action that will achieve your revenue goals, growth plans, etc. for the future. There is only one way to act on those goals- through your people. Hence it’s vital to implement a solid people strategy. Personally, although I considered myself a highly engaged employee before my leave of absence, I discovered that I had uncovered an entire new level of effort. This is known as discretionary effort- management didn’t need to ask me to put in extra effort; it came naturally and willingly. The investment Insperity made in me had not only a professional impact, but also at home; having witnessed my experience, my husband is now Insperity’s biggest fan.