The Importance of the Environment in the Performance and Well-being of Your Employees

After a few years of living in Bucharest and looking back on my work experience of the past 9 years, I have reached some important conclusions regarding what makes an employee grow, perform and fulfill their potential.

The story starts in 2009 when I was drastically looking to improve after 2 years of wasted career path. I started University and I was looking for new opportunities to grow. I discovered a poster about a training project that would develop our public speaking and negotiation skills.

As I was dreaming of becoming a great politician (I was still pretty young and naive, cut me some slack), this poster caught my eye and I decided to join. By mistake, I arrived at an AIESEC presentation about becoming a member. It was the turning point in my life…

Although I was suspicious of the idea of doing a lot of work for no money, I gave AIESEC chance and, boy, did AIESEC give me a chance. I flourished, I learned plenty and I also discovered my weaknesses, my limiting beliefs and my flaws. This new environment wasn’t just forcing me to bring better results, they were actively encouraging me and educating me to become a better person. Something no one ever urged me to do so, besides my favourite bands, movie directors and thought leaders.

This was a dramatic shift because it was nothing like the environment I grew up in, I was educated in and I worked in. It gave me so much, although I was never paid a cent for my work in AIESEC.

What made the difference in AIESEC were the education environment, the development opportunities, the network of like-minded people and the stories that circulated inside the organization, stories focused on: authenticity, leadership, courage, love and positive impact.

When I moved to Bucharest back in 2014, I felt the other edge of the sword. Since a specific environment helped me grow in the previous 6 years, the new environment I discovered here was not exactly what I expected.

Here is where I learned that also the city matters pretty much as well, not just the working environment. I lived for 7 years in Sibiu prior to this and Sibiu was an amazing place to live in. That city transformed me and made me a better person.

I have gone to so many theatre plays, music concerts, museums, natural sites (the Cindrel mountains, Ocna Sibiului) and inspiring examples of architecture that it changed my perspective on life and the world around me.

I learned to be more open to what is going on around me, I saw more possibilities, I meet so many amazing people. Another great reason for my flourishing was also due to the city I lived in. The dynamic of the city reflected later in my own dynamic.

What made the difference in Sibiu were the cultural opportunities, the diverse activities taking place inside the city, the well planned and well designed infrastructure, the multi-culturality, the mindset of other people, as well as the access to recreation in nature.

This idea has many implications for HR Managers, as well as team leaders, CEOs, city planners and city halls. The environment you create for others has a massive impact on the performance and well-being of people that are part in it. Creating a stimulating and fulfilling environment brings sustainable business results, increased productivity and increased pool of customers, but also in increased popularity amongst voters, collection of taxes and economical growth.

Isn’t this what every businessman and politician strives for? Well then, let’s work together on this. Let’s share ways of creating sustainable collaborations between these 2 sectors — business and public administration — in order to improve the lives of our employees. We owe them that much!

If you know such examples, please share them here in the comments. It would be lovely to create a guide of to achieve this while having case studies and stories to back it up.