5 non-negotiables to make your company a great place to work (Part 1)

What makes a workplace great? Is it a cool office, perks, or unique benefits? These qualities may be important to talent at the beginning, but to make them stay and buy into the company mission, there are a few non-negotiables that many employees look for, whether they’re able to articulate it or not.

Here are five things that we practice at SoapBox with great success. 

1. Create a culture that's envied  

A company like Google is known for its amazing offices and perks, but also for having a great culture that's focused on on-boarding smart and determined people. The power of a great culture is that everyone feels a strong connection based on shared values and beliefs.

Smart leaders may have to invest a lot of time in defining, cultiva..., but the investment pays tremendous dividends through defining how to hire and fire and make important decisions. Being committed to your culture isn’t easy work, but it's one of the biggest factors in attracting and retaining amazing people.

2. Hire great managers

Managers matter. They're the ones who have daily contact with your employees and will directly influence how they work. Study after study highlights that the strength of a relationship be... One of the greatest challenges for organisations is finding those great managers. Resist the urge to fill manager positions quickly and invest the time and effort to put the right person in role.

A simple rule that helps is to promote from within unless it’s impossible to do so. This eliminates the risk that there isn’t a cultural fit and allows you to put people in role that have already demonstrated strong leadership skills. 

3. Ask for input, listen and then complete the feedback loop

Forum, a leadership development company, completed a survey exploring the trust relationship between employees and their bosses. One of the findings was that of many ways to improve trust, both employees and managers believed these three things would contribute most towards building trust: encouraging employees to offer ideas and suggestions; listening to employees and understanding their concerns; and following through on commitments.

When employees are asked for input, they feel valued. When they see that their leaders are listening and taking action based on their input, they feel validated and gain a stronger sense of connection to their work. Co-creating is the best way to get buy-in.

4. Close the gap between performance and potential

We believe the most important consideration in closing the gap between performance and potential is autonomy. Within autonomy, there are a few other elements that need to be unpacked. First, is that for autonomy to work, there has to be strong alignment between managers and employees. Unfortunately, this is not the norm. Another study shows that more than half of employees don’t feel as though they really understand their organisation’s strategy. Improved communication between managers and employees will lead to stronger alignment, which sets the stage for autonomy, which opens the door for people to fully tap into their knowledge and skills.

5. Open, transparent communication

Communication is a two-way process, and it’s this that is too often missed. By not allowing for two-way communication, we miss the opportunity to determine if the message is understood or if additional clarification is needed. An organisation that is excellent at communicating will increase alignment and more importantly, will build trust.

Check back next week for five more ways to make your company a great place to work.

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