5 Key Insights on Treating Employees with LOVE from Leadership Experts Three and Jackie Carpenter

Organizations of all shapes and sizes have one thing in common: people. 

But if you ask leadership experts Three and Jackie Carpenter, they’ll say people aren’t just part of an organization—they’re the most important. 

It’s a timely message. As the pandemic and advances in technology have led to mass resignations and increased volatility in the labor market, the Carpenters are advising leaders to approach their organization’s people with greater intentionality. 

The trick? Seeing people as more than just employees, but also as human beings. The Carpenters’ new book, People First: The 5 Steps to Pure Human Connection and a Thriving Organization, is for the leader hoping to do just that. 

With decades of experience managing businesses in the private club industry, the Carpenters could write the book on providing premium customer service. But their experiences also gave them insight into the cultures at great organizations. 

One of these is the concept of treating employees with LOVE—an acronym that breaks down like this:

  • Loyalty – standing by your employees and supporting them
  • Ownership – inspiring employees to take ownership of their work, which improves outcomes for all involved
  • Value – seeing value in your employees, and getting them to provide value themselves 
  • Excellence – helping people operate with excellence 

“You can’t make people operate with excellence … but you can inspire that,” Jackie says.

Here is some more of the key insights from the Carpenters’ Achievers Exclusive interview.  

1. Great organizations have an empowering foundational culture. 

For the Carpenters, great organizations empower their employees to take ownership of their work. The results are good for both employee and employer. 

Citing the example of Southwest Airlines and Ritz Carlton, Three explains how giving employers ownership and autonomy to solve problems for customers lets them “know that they can create excellence, because they’re empowered to do it.” 

At the international hotel chain, for example, employees are able to spend money to solve problems and effect positive outcomes with customers. 

“That kind of empowerment makes people really feel like they’re owning the experience for themselves personally, as well as the customer ultimately,” Three says. 

Bottom line? Strive to create a culture with less hand-holding and more employee autonomy in problem-solving. 

2. The pandemic shed light on employee unhappiness. 

The COVID-19 pandemic hit at the same time as another important shift was taking place: a workplace revolution brought on by the increasing adoption of technology facilitating remote work. 

Combined, these two have inspired more workers than ever to re-evaluate the work they currently do. It’s also led to a surge of freelancers and solopreneurs deciding they’d rather not work in an organization altogether. 

“The pandemic has made people look at their jobs and say, ‘Is this really what I want to do? Am I happy? Am I valued?’” Jackie says. 

So how do organizations compete? 

“The only way where employers are going to be able to attract and retain employees is by creating these kinds of cultures where they want to be, or where they’re cared about, or where they’re valued and they feel like they’re part of something more than just punching a clock,” Jackie says.

3. You’ve got to be intentional about fostering relationships with employees. 

Manager productivity hasn’t necessarily fallen off in the pandemic. A new dangerous trend emerged instead: managers focusing more on tasks than people. 

“And so now we’re efficient because we’re checking stuff off our list, but we’re not having coaching conversations. We’re not talking about growth and development,” Jackie says.

What can organizations do? The Carpenters suggest being intentional about looking out for your people—and being really intentional about keeping those meaningful professional relationships alive.

This can look like different things for different organizations. Three says some organizations can benefit from fun virtual events, like wine tastings. If there are several members of a team in a city, those colleagues can get together to maintain that connection. 

Another option is blocking out time in the workday for people to chat about things unrelated to their work. 

“People are starving for these kinds of connections and these relationships. And so we’ve got to create those opportunities, and it just takes a little bit more time and effort,” Jackie says. 

4. It’s important to demonstrate gratitude. 

Letting employees know they’re valued is also important in a time when many employees are feeling more discontented than ever. 

Three explains that this is as simple as walking up to an employee and thanking them for their contributions. 

“The five seconds that takes—it’s so simple—but it’s so missed and it’s so powerful when people realize that they’re appreciated and they’re doing something that matters more than just the tasks at hand,” Three says. 

At a time when many people report suffering effects to their mental health, it’s also important to check in and make sure people are doing OK.

“It might just be a two-second thing. It might just be acknowledging that you’re seeing that person, but that is powerful and there’s certainly value in those things as leaders.”

5. Be proactive to retain employees in difficult situations. 

The pandemic has left many feeling frustrated—emotions that have too often been unleashed on undeserving hospitality staff members. 

For Three and Jackie, this reality prompted them to take a more intentional approach in their conversations with hospitality staff in order to prepare them for dealing with unruly customers. 

“Right now all of us are trying to be out front; be out there to make sure that we’re walking up and talking to people and really helping them know that we’re standing right next to them shoulder to shoulder,” Three says.

Photo by fizkes / Shutterstock

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