A happy workforce is good for business. That translates to an environment where employees are inspired – where people WANT to make a difference. In this people-centered paradigm, strategists are looking beyond questions like “how can we be profitable?” Instead, they’re asking questions like “how can we be a great place to work?”
Companies that embrace the great-place-to-work model are at a competitive advantage in the war for talent. The best candidates are seeking those companies out. That’s making it more imperative for other aggressive companies to adopt that model as a key business goal.
What steps can a company take to be a great place to work? It starts with understanding key components of workplace satisfaction.
Employee engagement – companies with top-to-bottom engagement are more productive and perform better financially. Engagement means staff are passionate and positive about what they do, and feel aligned with the company mission and goals.
Transparency – this came up as the #1 factor in a 2013 survey by Tinypulse. Open communication is key. The more employees feel connected with management, coworkers and work teams, the happier and more engaged they are.
Appreciation – being recognized for their work came out #1 in a huge Boston Consulting Group survey of over 200,000 people from around the world.
Other factors like compensation and company stability ranked high also, but focusing on the 3 above guides us to a key understanding: that a culture with open, positive communication can lead directly to a better workplace.
Better Understanding, Better Tools, Creating Positive Habits
The people-focused approach is rich in engagement, transparency, communication and appreciation. The more a business can systematize these values, making them part of daily interactions and processes, the more they become integrated into company culture. It’s one thing to have a mission statement on the masthead – it’s another thing to live it every day.
How can a company make its core values a daily habit for employees? The process of discovery leads, fundamentally, to conversation. People are social creatures by nature: we need to talk to each other. Open dialogue between people plays a part, and so does transparent information exchange as a business process. Turning values into habits means communicating in regular, ongoing ways, not just during staff meeting and performance reviews.
In business, that includes the tools we use and how we use them. Interactive systems like project management software, teleconferencing, email, calendaring, shared drives and other resources can all be used to open up regular communication. New business software platforms are also emerging, focused on getting to the unity and clarity of purpose that keep employees engaged.
People thrive in a business environment where they understand the value of their contribution. Difference makers can be inspired simply by knowing that they DO make a difference – it creates a feedback loop of confidence. They know where they fit into the big picture. A company with transparent, appreciative culture – plus the tools and practices to keep their goals front-and-center every day – is well on its way to fostering a great working environment. That inspires everyone to step up and say “I can do that,” here’s how it fits, and here’s how it’s going to make a difference to the bottom line.
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