When you hear that XYZ Company is known as a great place to work, you know they’re doing something right - but what? Find out here.
It will only happen with a lot of leadership focus and time, but it’s well worth it.
If you get things right, over time your reputation for being a great employer will get out there and the pay-off is huge. Top quality people will beat a path to your door and fewer people will leave. People will do their best in their job. You won’t have to pay a premium in salaries and bonuses because people know that time spent with your company will be enjoyable and rewarding in other ways. With the growing levels of commitment and enthusiasm in a great employer culture, you can expect to notice improvements in absenteeism, service levels and productivity, making a real difference to your bottom line.
So what characterises a great place to work? It varies hugely but generally it’s a bit more than a tablefootball and free fruit on Fridays, although they may be a small part of it. For example, employees in the top 10 companies in Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work 2016 say:
· Strong, friendly work culture - Work life balance is seen as very important by all - Very supportive management team - So many perks! Free breakfast once a month, travel, health etc.
· I find the most important aspects of most jobs are (a) whom I work with, (b) what I work on, and (c) whom I work for—in that order. At Expedia, I've been happy with all three. My co-workers are fun, competent, and have a decent work ethic. The projects are technically challenging and relevant to the company. And the engineering department I work in is well-run, fast-moving, and the values are all in the right place.
· Ethical and socially engaged. Good work/life balance. Technically challenging and fascinating work. innovation and proactivity recognised and rewarded. Very friendly.
In a nutshell it’s doing what you say you’re going to do, having a consistent set of behaviours that people sign up to. If you want all the business benefits of being known as a place where people want to work, this is what you need to get right as employer:
· Treating people with respect. Not a soft option as that includes being open and honest and that can be tough, but most people can cope with proper feedback delivered well.
· Recognition. Everyone appreciates recognition for a job well done provided it’s warranted. Simply telling everyone they are “Great” is vacuous, doesn’t fool anyone and quickly becomes a joke.
· Trust. Most people want to do a good honest job. Yes you need to take sensible precautions against the one in a hundred who doesn’t, but don’t punish everyone in advance for the possible shortfalls of the few. Deal quickly with anyone who doesn’t meet your standards.
· Work. The quality of work is critical. Give people good quality work that is right for them and they will generally flourish. Push people to their realistic limits and watch them grow. Most will surprise and delight, some will struggle and you recalibrate what they can do, but most people want to be challenged.
· Career growth. This can be tough in flat organisations but you can find ways of giving people scope for growth, for instance by representing the organisation externally or putting them on projects that build skills. Career growth doesn’t have to be hierarchical.
· Fairness. Not to be confused with equality; but treating all people by the same standards. There is no room for favourites or special privileges as that quickly leads to cliques forming and groups being set against each other.
If you get these right, over time your reputation for being a great employer will get out there. Being known as a good employer isn’t some woolly nice to have. It sets you apart in a crowded market and delivers tangible business results. It also makes life a lot more pleasant. What’s not to like?