How does “Love” show up in the workplace?

Feb. 14, 2024

This is February and love is in the air…. Typically during this time of year we think of romantic love with Cupid shooting arrows and lovers gazing deeply into each other’s eyes.  However, Plato wrote at length about the other types of love. When he wrote about Philia, it was a love that thrives on reciprocity and a genuine regard for each other’s well-being.  And one of the levels of Philia he discussed was comradely love, which emerges in groups united by a common purpose. It fosters solidarity, cooperation, and a sense of belonging.  That sounds a lot like the ideal workplace, doesn’t it?  That being said, let’s dive into the “love” we have for at work (or lack thereof).

I’m often asked how to engage staff, how to keep them from leaving, and how to keep them from making errors on the job. The answer comes down to the same fundamental principle. Do they love their work? Do they feel “loved” (appreciated) at work? It is often stated people don’t leave their job; they leave their boss. This old saying rings true even more so in today’s employment environment.

So, how do we help our staff love what they do and feel loved at work? Much of this goes back to our days in kindergarten… say please and thank you to start. It sounds basic, but think about it for a moment… how often is it actually voiced in the workplace? Some employers push back claiming employee’s pay cheque should be enough of a thank you. Well, quite simply, it isn’t. Being paid is fulfilling a contractual agreement, not an expression of thanks.

Another way to ensure people love their work: let them see how it makes an impact towards the overall goals and objectives of the organization. Every level of employee should see how their work fits in to a common, shared goal, whether that is on an assembly line building a fuel efficient car, supporting people who lack shelter, or providing legal advice to businesses. Employees choose the company they work for, so they have commitment and support of what is being done. They share the common love of what the company produces and will take pride the role they have in making that happen, but only if they can understand how important they are to the overall purpose.  Then they can feel the “love” and belonging to the organization.

The third way is by feeling seen and heard. Feeling a sense belonging to our work community depends on how profoundly we feel we belong. Having a chance to voice concerns, or support, is part of that. Being sincerely asked for your honest opinion and recommendations goes a long way to building that sense of love and belonging. Have you ever noticed suggestion boxes are often empty? The reason is no one does anything with those suggestions. If they were actually read, seriously considered, and the best ones were actually implemented, these boxes would be filled with thoughtful suggestions. Supporting everyone’s opinion in group meetings in an inviting way and providing praise for making suggestions is fundamental to creating that sense of belonging.  That’s Philia in action.

To learn more about some ideas on how to build love for work and belonging in your workplace, schedule a meeting to meeting to get free tips and tools to improve your workplace culture and retain your key staff.