7 Powerful Words to Say to Your Employees

Work Life Balance & Supportive Work Environments

Positive culture generates a lot of talk in today's people practices. But what does it really mean?

One good illustration goes back to a conversation I had a couple of days ago with an employee about a recent moment involving work. Her daughter had been hospitalized the week before and the woman was unable to come to the office. She knew her place was with her child, but she felt terrible about potentially letting down her coworkers. So she tried keeping up with assignments in the hospital while her daughter slept. Her boss's response was unequivocal. "Please do not work," she told her. And, "What can we do to support you?"

Delivering on Positive Culture

In the glossary of boss words, "What can we do to support you?" ranks up there with "Congratulations on your promotion" and "We're giving you a raise."

What's the big deal? The words, "What can we do to support you?" speak to - and deliver on - that positive culture we're always talking about. It says that all that talk about work/life balance and well-being isn't just a big "yada, yada."

If employee supports are the engine of a company, the culture is the fuel that drives it. The most well-designed benefits in the world are doomed to fall flat if the infrastructure isn't built in to let employees, you know...use them. If you want to talk return on investment, those seven words are super fuel that drives engagement, commitment, loyalty, productivity. The catch is it has to be consistent, and you have to mean it.

The Fuel that Drives Positive Culture - and Business Results

How do I know? Ask the employee with the sick child. She laughed as she recalled a long-ago boss who threatened to fire her if she didn't cancel that day's urgently-scheduled wisdom-tooth surgery and come in pronto because the boss didn't know how to work the fax machine (no, it was not Miranda Priestly. And yes, the woman quit). So, how did her Bright Horizons boss affect her?

"The short story?" she said. "I knew I could take the time I needed.

"But I also knew when I got back, I wanted to return the favor by making sure I got the job done."

Written by: Bright Horizons Blog Editor

About the Author

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The Bright Horizons Blog Editor frequently posts on the real solutions that meaningfully support employees, advance careers, and drive the world’s leading brands. The Editor curates the latest news, trends, and challenges facing HR pros because your time is scarce. Follow the Bright Horizons Blog to receive this insight in your inbox.