Building Workplace Cultures of Care That Transform Our Economy

How can we create more inclusive and diverse workplaces while still driving profitable businesses? 

As younger generations continue to make up more and more of the workforce, the call for safe, caring workplaces has become increasingly loud. For founders, this requirement can feel as difficult to build as any other aspect of their new business. In her new book, Cultura: A Guidebook for Founders Building Diverse Teams, Michel Fabode addresses this new set of expectations, assisting founders in navigating the path to truly diverse, safe cultures of care that lead to business success on multiple levels.

Acknowledging the care work we contribute

The definition of “care work” is often oversimplified to encompass only those tasks carried out in hospitals or the home, the care being administered almost exclusively to the very young, the very old, and the unwell. While this type of care work is essential, this stripped-down explanation leaves out a lot of people in a wide range of roles and industries. 

This misconception is reflected in the responses of many potential podcast guests, who argue they should not be featured on Care Work because their careers do not apply. However, if we redefine caring labor as those tasks that seek to meet the needs of others, almost everyone is a care worker to some extent.

Michel has no problem defining her work in human capital as care work. She serves the needs of the people in her organization. “By definition, I have to think of care expansively,” she says. It’s more than “when someone has a health need or they need to go on leave…I also have to think about care in terms of your psychological safety, in terms of ‘are we ensuring that the folks in this organization are set up for success?’.” Designing an environment that cares for every employee is inextricable from fostering the success of those employees. 

Balancing the bottom line and cultures of care

Michel believes that including care in the business model is a requirement for every leader. Especially in the early years of a business, which is the focus of Michel’s book, it is easy to get into the weeds of rapid growth and shareholder accountability and lose sight of more internal matters. Building positive cultures of care behind the scenes can be superseded by external pressures.

To avoid that risk, founders need to approach the whole process with the right mindset. Establishing a wonderful company culture doesn’t get you a free pass; you don’t get to skip over researching market fit or raising capital.

These streams may seem separate, but the two are interconnected. Founders who keep care work principles in mind as the business grows stand to be even more successful. These days especially, integrating a diverse, caring workplace culture will only serve to attract better workers because the millennials and Gen Z workers flooding in are placing community and care at the top of their dream job wishlists.

Shifting demographics necessitate change

Furthermore, studies from Axios and Gallup show that the younger workforce views socialism more favorably than previous generations, and many more hold anti-capitalist beliefs. Michel acknowledges that it will be interesting to see where the culture of work goes as people whose ideologies don’t quite mesh with our current capitalist system begin rising up in the workforce.

Change is inevitable, but Michel also reminds us that it won’t be a light switch. Boomers might be retiring in droves, but they will still be a prominent part of the workforce in the coming years. This only further highlights the need for diverse workplaces and cultures of care. These concepts don’t apply only to different ethnicities and gender identities. They also call for recognizing and respecting different ideological and political views, and the wildly varied lived experiences of four generations of professionals.

Michel’s essential and practical exploration of workplace culture strives to show both new and established business owners that they have the power to design environments in which diverse teams can thrive. Even small, simple moves can have a huge impact. Cue up this episode of the Care Work podcast to discover even more about Michel’s work and recommendations for founders seeking to build something better.

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