The author of the following article is actually an entrepreneur and business owner in New Delhi, India. While there’s lots I could add, her advice goes to show that no matter where you are in the world, great leaders put people first, are in touch with cultural shifts, and know what is needed in the workplace to ensure a healthy (and happy) environment such as flexibility, diversity and social responsibility.
(Note: All articles are copied verbatim… typos, grammar errors and all. In other words, we didn’t make the mistakes! )
7 Steps To Make Your Organization A Great Place To Work
By Zoya Brar, MD and Founder, Core Diagnostics
What sort of workplace is your organization as seen from the perspective of your employees? Do they wake up every morning raring to go and look forward to yet another inspiring day at work or do they drag themselves to the office every day, dreading what’s in store for them?
Working individuals spend almost one-third of their lives at their workplace with a major part of their productive lives is dedicated to their organizations. There is a greater realization in the industry today that employees are a valuable human resource, and that their ability to function to the best of their capabilities is determined among other things by the environment they are subjected to at work.
The question ‘what makes an organization a great place to work?’ might be a subjective one. Their are number of factors determine whether an individual finds a place ‘great’ or not: monetary compensation, appreciation from seniors, infrastructure, exciting professional opportunities, right career progression, rewards and recognitions as well as team support are factors influencing an individual employee’s opinion of his/her workplace.
While there can be no determinate answer to what makes a place great to work at, there is a basic level of understanding among human resource managers today that the culture of an organization, more than monetary factors, influences an employee’s opinion of it.
We have nurtured a strong value system where we work to build a trusted relationship with our employees, so as to cultivate the organization more like a family. Dialogue, feedback, communication, and trust are key factors on which we base our human resource approaches and these values form the bedrock of our high-performance culture.
Here are a few steps and measures that can help you make your organization a Great Place to Work:
Treat employees with respect
Every employee is a valuable human resource who needs to be cultivated, nurtured and respected. Unlike stock, capital and other inanimate resources, human resource is not expendable. It takes much time and effort to train individuals, and replacing them at will is neither easy nor amenable to the organization’s interests. Respect therefore should be the core of every organization’s approach towards its human resource. As a manager, if you treat your employees with respect and dignity, they will automatically reciprocate this sentiment to the organization.
Communicate with your employees, respect your subordinates, listen to their views, implement their useful suggestions, and make them feel valued. We believe in constant dialogue and communication with our employees to ascertain and gauge their happiness quotient as well as get valuable feedback on what they expect from the organization. This approach not only makes employees feel valued but also gives us a safety valve to release any pent up pressure or sentiment.
Adopt greater flexibility
A recent survey on workplace flexibility by HR service provider Randstad found that as many as 53 per cent of Indian respondents preferred telecommuting.
With changing times, the pattern and ways of functioning of organizations are also changing. With mobile phones making communication seamless, employees are today required to be on call 24/7, be it a Saturday or Sunday. This flexibility should not only be expected from them but also be extended to them.
Organizations that are more accommodating to the employees help them balance the needs of their professional as well as personal lives better. So, strict log in timings can be done away in favor of flexi timings and employees can be allowed a few days of work from home arrangement to provide them a more comfortable and accommodating environment. This is crucial to retain good and experienced employees, especially women who may need greater professional flexibility to meet the responsibilities of motherhood.
Ensure appreciation of good work
A very common grievance of employees is the fact that while they never fail to receive flak for a job gone wrong, appreciation doesn’t come easily. As a manager you must make sure that the efforts that an employee puts in for your organization never go unappreciated. Praise should flow generously in your organization; this encourages employees and endears them to the company.
Instill a culture of teaching over reproaching
While lacunas, performance voids and mismanagement needs to be pointed out and corrected, managers should give precedence to offering solutions rather than just putting individuals in the dock and giving dressing downs. Sometimes, even after putting 100 per cent efforts into a project, a team might fail to obtain the desired results. As a manager, your approach should be to analyze every completed project for flaws and mistakes, and teach your subordinates better execution practices. Young and inexperienced executives constantly need guidance and mentorship from experienced seniors.
Is your organization a monotone when it comes to people or does it have a basket of diverse employees: gender, linguistic, racial, ethnic, religious? Experience suggests that diverse organizations succeed in nurturing employees who are more evolved in their outlook and open to ideas as they have better exposure to diverse opinions and have more versatile thought process. A culturally diverse workplace also enriches employees by shedding their prejudices, widening their horizons and enlivening their learning experiences.
Encourage cooperation over competition
An organization where employees support and help each other in thick times as well as thin rather than engaging in cut-throat competition will always be an enriching place to work in. Banal competition among employees promotes office politics and debases the workplace culture.
It is important to nurture employees that are trained to jump to each others’ help rather than pull the rug. This goes a long way in establishing greater cohesion in the organization and an atmosphere of cooperation.
Involve Employees in CSR Initiatives
In 2014 a Nielsen Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility found that as many as 67% people surveyed preferred to work for socially responsible companies.
Being part of social initiatives offers a sense of greater purpose and usefulness to employees, especially the young ones. Involving employees in valuable social initiatives of the company gives them an additional purpose to stay with the organization.