I may be showing my age, but many, many years ago when asked what was important to employees; our knee jerk reaction was about the green stuff…. You know…dollar bills! We, as leaders and stakeholders, believed that if we pay our employees enough money, they will be happy. After much research, we learned that we were very wrong! Back then (and still today), our employees want to feel as if they matter. They want to feel heard and feel as if they are a significant contributor to their workplace. Employees realize that they are searching for meaning and purpose. They want to feel engaged and committed to making a difference in their job, for others, and even to the world.
Yet, sadly, only a small percentage of employees are fully engaged at work. I have seen numbers as low as 20% of employees feel fully connected at work. We need to invest in learning why that lack of engagement exists and what we can do to change it. If we pretend otherwise, this disconnect doesn’t do anyone any good. We have to operate from knowing not guessing or worse yet we can’t afford to operate in denial. For the past few years, I have seen companies come to realize that they need to put energy into allowing their employees to bring the best of themselves to work every day. This includes addressing our employees needs in the area of safety (physical), mental (brain growth and learning), emotional (highs and lows), and spiritual (freedom for expression of diversity, uniqueness, values, and beliefs).
Take a fresh look to see how you and your organization measure up at providing the following ten elements in creating a Great Workplace.
Think for a moment about what would make you feel most excited to get to work in the morning, and most loyal to your employer. I believe that a company should:
- Allow people to be who they are. Celebrate their diverse thought, heritage, appearance, and beliefs. Many perspectives create amazing synergistic results.
- Set clear expectations that align with the Corporate Vision and Mission. Help others understand where and how they fit in to achieve those goals.This allows for individuals to experience their “stake” in the company’s success.
- Create positive work environments where employees feel compelled to thrive. Create workspace that is conducive to innovation, calmness, and collaboration.
- Commit to on-going, two way communication. Allow employees to give and receive feedback in a way that is motivating and effective. Regular, on-going communication is often the deal-breaker. It will be the thing that can make or break a company and the people who are employed within it.
- Inspire accountability. Give individuals the appropriate levels of authority to make good decisions and feel a sense of accomplishment and responsibility to their work performance. Hold leaders and managers accountable for treating all employees with respect and care, all of the time, and encourage them to regularly recognize those they supervise for the positive contributions they make.
- Give positive praise and recognition. People want to know that they are doing a great job.
- Develop structure and parameters that encourage consistency, continuity, and awareness. While employees like flexibility, they still need to understand the rules of the game and how to stay within those lines.
- Encourage growth. Give employees opportunities to learn and grow. Investing in your employees is the biggest commitment that will yield the greatest return on investment. Create learning in both hard (technical) and soft (people) skills.
- Believe in your purpose. Inspire passion and excitement for the organization, its products, and people. Help your employees to derive a sense of value and worth from that which they create. The greatest compliment is when they refer others to also work for your organization.
- Take a pulse often. Be aware of what is happening, how people are feeling, and the performance that occurs on a regular basis. Too often organizations wait too long to know and end up being too far gone to recover.
How does your company measure up? Is your organization, a Great Workplace? What’s the positive and negative impact on your organization’s performance? If addressed, which element needs would your company have to focus on to become
more fully engaged?
Have you given your leaders and managers the skills necessary to create a Great Workplace? If the answer is no or maybe, then the Great Workplace program is designed for you. If the answer is yes, this program is still a great answer to help you identify and plan for how to continue the growth and employee commitment to being a part of a Great Workplace.