However, a few universal characteristics exist which seem to transcend industry and geography. These characteristics of “great place to work” have been observed as nearly universal in successful organizations.
If your organization is looking for help improving organizational culture to attract and retain talent, look for these ten common characteristics identified via various employee surveys and feedback as to what makes a company a great place to work:
1. Pride in a job well done
Individuals need to believe they are providing value in the work they perform. Feedback from management and leadership is important to ensure employees understand the value they provide and the difference it makes at the organization.
2. Workplace justice
Are you being fair in your employment practices? Identifying what is expected and then communicating and upholding those standards for everyone, is essential to a thriving work environment. Should an employee fail to meet the standards which have been set and which all employees are required and expected to uphold, the issue should be handled individually. In a timely manner and as consistently as possible. A perceived incident of unfairness can send employers down a tricky path toward lower employee morale and potential resentment.
Regardless of one’s role or contributions, people need and deserve respect. Each position at your company should be appreciated for the work they perform. Mutual respect is essential at every level. Mutual respect breeds productivity. Employees want to perform for the well-managed organization and contribute to the overall success.
Do your employees know they work for a trusted individual and a company that represents integrity in their internal and external relationships? Employees who question the integrity of individuals or an organization as a whole feel less engaged at work. Furthermore, they are likely to underperform. Transparency and zero-tolerance for questionable activity are essential in workplaces that are successful with employee retention.
5. Work-life balance
Companies who promote work/life balance without supporting a flexible culture will find themselves losing key talent. Employees will quickly recognize if the “generous life balance” that was advertised is not actually achievable based on expectations set by the organization. Ensure you understand what your employees expect from a work-life balance, what you can offer, and bridge the gap between.
Does my company live the model of inclusiveness toward all employees, regardless of differences? Diversity comes in many forms including ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, and more. Acknowledging that each employee brings with them a set of unique experiences and thus an individual worldview is essential to making sure each employee feels their contribution is valued. Organizations that do not embrace diversity often struggle with inter-departmental issues and non-cooperation.
7. A Voice
Am I able to respectfully offer my opinion without fear of criticism, retribution or retaliation? Am I heard? Providing your employees with a platform to voice their ideas, concerns, criticism, and joys are essential to workplace satisfaction. Employees who feel silenced and as though their opinion or ideas don’t matter are less likely to perform for their employer.
Effectively communicating performance standards, how they are measured, and how areas of opportunity can be improved is essential to the personal growth of your employees. When employees receive feedback, suggestions for improvement, and room to make those improvements, they grow as individuals and therefore can grow as productive and satisfied members of your team. The best approach to performance management is real-time feedback when and if an incident occurs or a coaching opportunity comes into play. This prevents surprises during your formal review process and allows you to focus on the future, rather than the past.
Are my ideas considered? Do I have the opportunity to think outside of the box? Providing an outlet for innovative ideas and productive change engages employees to think critically and flex their creative muscles. In the long run, embracing innovation and a changing world, workplace and workforce are essential to an employer’s success with their talent.
10. Training and development
Do I have the tools and resources necessary to continue to perform at the top of my game? Organizations that embrace an environment of continuous learning benefit not only their employees but the entire organization, as a whole. Continual learning is expected from today’s employers, and not encouraging employee growth can lead to your top talent seeking employment elsewhere.
Each of these tips can help employers improve their workplace, retain the right employees, and attract top talent in their region and industry. Do a self-audit of your practices and see where you fall with each of these points and where improvement can be made.
About the author:
Natalie Hoffmann is the president of complete payroll solutions company HK Payroll Services, Inc. (HKP) and partner at Honkamp Krueger & Co., P.C. (HK). With over 30 years of experience in her field, Natalie has written for several publications on the topics of business, accounting and payroll technologies.