Last week I attended an in-person Minnesota Public Radio interview with Nancy Lyons, CEO of Minneapolis-based Clockwork, a digital strategy, content, design and technology company.

Under Nancy’s leadership, Clockwork has received more than 16 “Best Workplace” awards. Clockwork has also won the Psychologically Healthy Workplace, Best Women Owned Business, and Entrepreneur’s Top Company Culture award, among others.

Key to the company’s commitment to creating a healthy workplace is something I talk about in my public presentations. It is the idea, based on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, that in order for people to feel a sense of belonging (to an organization, team), they first need to feel safe.

Psychological safety means employees can bring most if not all of who they are to work.

As Nancy says, “You must feel safe so you can express creativity and take risks.”

Some of today’s companies realize that creating a high performance work culture is not about creating “perks”.  It’s about creating a culture that supports people to do their best work and to encourage employee ownership and responsibility for helping create that culture.

And when that culture includes valuing how people treat each other and the energy they bring to the team, it goes beyond a feeling of belonging.  It becomes about being and feeling “self-actualized”-the highest level of achievement in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

That’s the kind of work culture more companies should commit to.

May we pursue our paths, seeking and creating optimal work cultures,

Best wishes,

Elizabeth