Employee engagement and a culture of being a great place to work, has to be top priority for any business. Without a strong team with engaged employees, any business will struggle to be successful.

A recent article in the HRINZ Human Resources magazine was about just that. The article explained that many companies claim that their people are their greatest asset, although those statements simply imply that their people are being described in financial terms and in some cases, the expression is nothing more than lip service. The article went on to explain that most companies operate in a very competitive market and the one thing that stands out from the others is their people and their culture. This means companies have to be constantly evolving, innovative and relying on their people. We all understand that we cannot succeed and grow without attracting and retaining great people. Therefore Leaders need to value people with much greater authenticity. For companies to endure, we must create a more supportive culture. In a very tight employment market, continued growth and long-term profit will be dependent upon adopting more caring and humane leadership practices. High-quality work/people are essential to success and even to a company’s very survival. People are attracted to the best performing companies; the ones that have terrific cultures, the ones that go the extra mile. Having a ‘Great Workplace’ is not optional anymore and has instead become essential.

The Great Place to Work Model

The Great Place to Work Model is simple, yet strategic, easily understood and more importantly aligns with the values of most companies. The model comprises all of the foundations of a great organisation with five pillars of credibility, respect and fairness (all about building TRUST in the workplace), along with pride and camaraderie.

Dimensions of a Great Place to Work – the five pillars:

  • Communication – communications are open and accessible.
  • Competence – competence is coordinating human and material resources.
  • Integrity – integrity is carrying out vision with consistency.
  • Support – supporting professional development and showing appreciation.
  • Collaborating – collaboration with employees in relevant decisions.
  • Caring – caring for employees as individuals with personal lives.
  • Equity – balanced treatment of all in terms of rewards.
  • Impartiality – absence of favouritism in hiring and promotions.
  • Justice – lack of discrimination and process for appeals.
  • Personal job – in personal job, individual contributions.
  • Team – in work produced by one’s team or work group.
  • Company – in the organisation’s products and standing in the community.
  • Intimacy – ability to oneself.
  • Hospitality – socially friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
  • Community – sense of “family” or “team”.
The desire for any business to achieve industry excellence and ensuring they have a great place to work, should begin with adopting the above five dimensions. To assist in assessing how their workplace stacks up, the below 12 characteristics provide some practical guidance.

12 Characteristics of a Great Place to Work:

  1. A clear vision and identity. Our people want to know where the company is pointed, what the company believes in and what everyone is working toward.
  2. Honest leadership. 
  3. Provides “flexible” growth for our people. As an employee of a company, you should have the ability to change career paths if you’ve proven you’re a dependable, hard-working and passionate person.
  4. A culture of collaboration. Collaboration creates better work, better results and better culture.
  5. As little politics as possible. While politics are always going to happen in a work environment, great companies have very little of it and work hard to stomp it out when it creeps up.
  6. Promotes meritocracy. Simply put, if you show that you are going to do great work, your career will grow accordingly.
  7. Open communication. Great places to work are open about how the company is performing.
  8. Craves honest feedback from its people. 
  9. A fun atmosphere. If people are going to spend most of their waking week at the office, it should be a fun environment. When people are having fun, they work together better and they produce better work.
  10. Filled with passionate people. Companies that only look at resumes and experience when hiring are often far less successful than ones that hire people that are passionate about their work and the industry. I’d hire passion over experience any day.
  11. Approachable leadership.The more people feel open to talking to their leadership, the more problems will get solved and the more job satisfaction people will have.
  12. A great environment. A fun, open, energetic and creative environment can make a big difference in the overall atmosphere of a company.

Remember, the key driver of a great workplace culture is leadership behaviour.

The behaviour of those in positions of influence makes or breaks a culture. Everything that a Leader does (either good or bad) impacts on that culture. The key trait or competency is trust.  Employees must be able to trust their leaders and where they are taking the organisation.

Without trust you have nothing. High trust means high employee engagement. 

  via: HRINZ – Human Resources Magazine, Spring 2017 – Author: Tony McCabe, HR Manager Transmission Gully Project, chartered Fellow of HRINZ.