Here’s Why You Need to Develop a Fear of Missing Out Culture

Article main image
Oct 23, 2015
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick. just released a survey with a fascinating finding: About 45 percent of workers miss their co-workers or aspects of their job when they’re out of the office.

That means the have a FOMO of their jobs and their colleagues — a Fear Of Missing Out.

“As colleagues become friends, the lines between work and personal time begin to blur,” says Mary Ellen Duga, VP of Global Marketing at Indeed. “Employees see the workplace as a more engaging atmosphere than ever before,” and some of them enjoy their company culture so much that they can’t stand to be away from it.

Let’s take that a step further. How can your organization create a culture that’s so compelling that top talent feels a need to work there? No matter their skills or experience — or their odds of getting accepted — they just have to apply?

I’m thinking of Google. It has a simple motto (“Don’t be evil,”) aims for a diverse workforce (14 percent of employees don’t have college degrees), and likes well-rounded people (“T-shaped,” with one major strength but also interest in other fields). The office’s private bowling alley doesn’t hurt, either.

All of this results in about 2.5 million applications a year.

A number of factors are involved in creating a FOMO culture; some you can control, some you can change yourself, and some require the expertise of a third party. Let’s make your culture great:

Have a clear mission, vision, and values

These three (3) elements drive your entire culture.

Your mission is your organization’s overall purpose. Your vision is an inspirational, aspirational statement about where you want to be in, say, 10 years. And values are the attributes and ethics your employees follow in pursuit of your mission and vision.

You can’t have a FOMO culture until you have a culture to start with. If your mission and vision are unclear or out-of-date, or if your values are vague or inadequate, your entire workforce will suffer.

It’s essential to articulate your organization’s goals so that top talent finds a reason to be there.

1. Give your employees freedom

That is, freedom to make decisions. To try new things. To have an impact on the business.

Many workers, especially Millennials, don’t want to be just a cog in a machine. They want to innovate and experiment.

Large organizations usually limit that freedom, adding layers of management and approvals before employees can take a risk or launch a new project. Google allows its workers to spend 20 percent of their time on side projects, which the company claims was how Gmail, Google Maps, and Adsense were invented.

You may not be able to go that far, but you can probably empower your employees more than they are. You can inform managers to be open to good ideas that could come from anywhere. You can ask job candidates about their attitudes — are they happy simply taking orders or do they want to make a difference?

Crafting empowerment and freedom into your culture will attract the most talented workers who are ready to give 100 percent to your company.

2. Keep employees engaged

Every survey shows that engaged employees are more productive. This is simply because they’re happier, thus, their happiness should be part of your culture.

How to keep employees engaged? I’ve outlined many ways before. The most effective include:

  • Internal communications that keep employees informed about your organization’s successes, challenges, and plans, and which highlight employees’ achievements
  • A formal employee rewards process that allows workers to compliment and thank each other
  • An employee referral program that increases culture fit and camaraderie, as employees  get to work with their friends
  • Intranets like Jostle or Yammer that allow employees to communicate and collaborate like a social network
  • Gamification that lets employees or teams compete for rewards, such as a sales contest
  • Apps like CultureAmp or Niko Niko that measure employees’ moods so that actions can be taken before negativity affects productivity

Any Fear of Missing Out culture should include at least three of these concepts. They make employees feel valued and important — exactly the sort of qualities named by reviewers in Glassdoor’s annual Best Places to Work list (on which Google is No. 1).

3. Foster career advancement

If you want employees to stay with you for a long time, you have to let them grow — otherwise, they’ll take their careers elsewhere. Jobvite’s latest survey found that 16 percent of employees leave a company due to a lack of growth opportunities.

A truly attractive culture promotes all types of advancement. That includes not just the easy wins like better titles, nicer offices, and higher pay.

Workers wants to acquire new skills and improve their knowledge. They also want personal growth, in the form of work-life balance, wellness programs, travel opportunities, the ability to learn from thought leaders, and a sense of team spirit from their colleagues and superiors.

A FOMO culture is one that makes it easy to learn new skills, switch departments, and move up the ranks. That may require a big change in how the organization advances and rewards high-value workers. But without it, high-value workers won’t stay around for long.

Don’t miss out on a FOMO culture!

Notice what all these FOMO culture pillars have in common? They’re not about your organization; they’re about the employees.

Giving them freedom, opportunity, power, rewards, meaning — these are the qualities that attract top talent, and what bring out the best in all workers in any field.

Your ideal candidates will want to work for you because of how much you value them — and they have a fear of missing out on the chance.

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
Get articles like this
in your inbox
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting articles about talent acquisition emailed weekly!