According to the U.S. Department of Labor, a staggering 11 million people in the U.S. quit their jobs between April and June. What employees accepted in 2020 BC (“before COVID-19”) has drastically changed.

The reset button on humanity has been pressed, and we’re never turning back, explains an article in The shutdown gave us time to question what we want for ourselves, our organizations and the world. It’s making us question what we value, how we’re spending our time, and whether our workplaces align with our values and purpose.

Previous motivators (money, status, promotions) are no longer the driving factors for happiness or retention. During this season of “the Great Resignation,” how we define happiness has evolved.

How do we attract and retain top talent while creating space for growth and innovation?

According to Jenn Lim, author of “Beyond Happiness: How Authentic Leaders Prioritize Purpose and People for Growth and Impact,” we need to create ideal, “greenhouse conditions” for people so that our teams and companies can adapt to thrive.

The greenhouse model is rooted in the core of being scientifically happy and authentically whole, with organizational design elements to build sustainable, successful organizations.

What does that look like in practice?

You may have seen videos of starlings appearing as if they had choreographed synchronized flying. What they are truly doing is coordinating their speed and direction based on each other’s movements, influenced by the actions of a predator. Starlings work in alignment with each other to navigate their path and avoid danger.

For teams to productively work together, we need shared behaviors in place to build alignment. This is where individual purpose, values and behaviors (PVBs) come into play. Purpose provides the goal; values and behaviors create actions. When you clearly define them and apply the scientific levers of happiness — control to make decisions, progress in their contributions, and connectedness — you’ll create a future-proof sense of alignment.

When there are diverse species, plants, animals and microorganisms, the ecosystem is sustainable. They’re more productive because every species has a specific role to play. They even recover more quickly in the event of natural disasters. It’s no coincidence that the equivalent of biodiversity in a business creates the same results.

According to research published by Harvard Business Review, people are three and a half times more likely to perform at their fullest potential when they feel a sense of belonging at work. This begins with a conscious effort to establish a safe space where every person can be heard. The return on investing in that sense of belonging is sustainability, productivity, resourcefulness, resilience and adaptability.

Accountability is often demanded from others but rarely from ourselves. It’s why accountability tends to get overused and misinterpreted. Instead, it’s being responsible, taking ownership of something (whether it’s good or bad) and communicating honestly with transparency.

Accountability happens in cultures where people are held to their shared and combined PVBs, creating individual and shared ownership. Leaders are responsible for taking care of their employees, and the employees are responsible for getting the job done.

As a leader, you can create alignment, belonging and accountability, but it will fall flat without commitment. In an actual greenhouse, nothing will grow if you don’t commit to tending the garden. As an organization, Lim stresses that every individual must commit to the PVBs.

What makes teams highly effective at achieving their common goal is their commitment to each other — on an individual level (the “me”) and with what’s good for the team (the “we”), to the success of the organization, customers, partners and vendors (the “community”). These teams trust and leverage each member’s talents in intelligent, efficient ways. If everyone on the team is genuinely committed to a common purpose, they can quickly adapt and double down on things that are working well.