In last week's blog, I provided five suggestions on how to make your company a great place to work. My post this week offers up five more ways. Each of these best practices tie into four central themes that I believe make up 80% of what makes a workplace highly engaged. These themes are:
6. Give credit where credit is due
Praise and commendation from managers is a top motivator for performance, beating out non-cash and financial incentives. Recognition is tied to engagement. But we still aren’t getting it right.
You need to recognise the right things and where it's wanted. No two employees are the same, and so different tokens of appreciation are needed. The only way to navigate this is to actually be close to the work your employees are doing, how they’re doing it, and what was personally challenging or fulfilling. This is the only way to provide recognition that’s meaningful and increases engagement.
7. Build trust
Flex hours and work from home flexibility can be great perks and result in increased performance and productivity, as well. A recent study from Stanford University found that individuals who worked from home had a 13 percent performance increase (Stanford University, 2014). On the flip side, we all know that sitting behind the wheel stuck in traffic is an unpleasant experience. For every minute we spend commuting in cars, the worse off we are psychologically (University of East Anglia, 2014).
However, this best practice post is not about perks. And in this case, a pre-requisite to having a great perk is an important value organizations need to build and that’s trust. It’s a theme in a few best practices. Here though is the freedom that having a culture that embraces accountability provides. Knowing employees and colleagues are committed to results and to following through on those commitments is not only a major contributor to being a great place to work, it also opens up the door to so much more.
Today's employee wants to grow with their company. To advance, they need to know that the company will invest in them and continually up-train them, providing them with the new skills necessary to advance in their career. Get involved and set up coffee meetings with leaders in roles they aspire to one day attain. Host skills development sessions. Most importantly, consider the talents and skills of the employee and make sure that he or she is matched with a job role that they will enjoy and excel in.
The overlooked side of this is that development can’t just be self-serving. While it’s also important to provide great on-boarding and on the job training for needed skills, developing well rounded people with skills that go beyond their job do a lot to increase motivation and productivity. There needs to be alignment between personal purpose and meaning and the work and development happening at work.
One of the most misunderstood elements of risk is its upside. And this relates directly to something that makes a place awesome to work at. Through risk comes growth. It’s often when we stretch ourselves that we grow. It’s one of the reasons people are drawn to startups. There’s an opportunity to get involved in things that stretch us. When an organisation or team stretches itself, it also stretches its employees. Safe can lead to boredom and the sense that we’re limiting our future potential by not venturing further.
This doesn’t have to be about corporate social responsibility, but it could be. At the end of the day, people want a connection to the work they’re doing and they want to believe that their effort is amounting to something meaningful at the end of the day. This is about passion. Be passionate about something that employees can get behind.
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