The Role of Love in Business

I have participated in several Healthcare CEO roundtables recently that speak to the trauma and exhaustion of frontline healthcare workers as we begin to emerge from the COVID crisis. The purpose is to determine what we – as their leaders– can do to not only help them recover, but also inspire them and motivate them up for future success. In one of my recent Stagen Leadership Academy teleclasses, we were asked to consider – what is the role of love in business?

No, I’m not talking about romantic love, here. But, it doesn’t have something in common with romance – a connection. An Inc. article captures the definition of love in business best:

“…love is what drives us all: a feeling of connection to a mission or idea that is so strong that it inspires us to take risks and put ourselves on the line, and gives us the courage to create something from the ground up.”

While the role of love in business is a topic that may have renewed interested as a result of the Pandemic, it’s not new. In fact, for years many companies have included words that express a loving and caring culture in company values and principles. Putting the words down on paper is great, but what does it look like to live them out, especially in light of the Pandemic? Let’s be honest, we’re not all feeling the love right now – but in the midst of competitive wages and a tight labor market, love is what can set us apart.

What might it look like for you and your organization? A Harvard Business Review article gives three ideas that are inspirational to me – I’ve summarized them below.

Go beyond the traditional culture values of teamwork, innovation and results orientation to emotional culture. What can you do to cultivate emotions like love, joy and pride?

Consider the emotions you’re expressing to those you interact with everyday. Your mood has an impact on those around you. Are there changes you can make to try to express more positivity at work?

Finally, is there room for more love and compassion in your policies and procedures? I’m happy to share some insight into this particular part of my work at Loretto.

As difficult as the Pandemic has been on every level for Loretto, we have decided to invest in our employees. This is what love looks like for Loretto. We’re re-envisioning the way we view talent management, informed by Maslow’s Hierarchy–meeting our workforce’s basic needs, safety needs, and now their sense of being loved and belonging. In a point-of-service business like healthcare, employees who feel cared for (loved), respected and valued deliver superior care. Love transcends generations – it’s not just a Baby Boomer thing, or a Gen Z thing. So, in a highly competitive labor market, we are banking on this approach to make Loretto stand out and catch the attention of prospective employees.

It is said that “without vision, people perish.” I would argue without love, employees leave. Let the drumbeat grow louder regarding the role of love in business.