There are countless organizations and publications that publish lists of the best places to work, using metrics and surveys to rank companies. For those reading such lists, it can be an eye-opening comparison of perks and corporate values that others envy.
What is it that employees mention most frequently among the top-ranked companies? Here is an employee eye view of a great workplace.
A Stake in Success. Companies that share the benefits of success demonstrate the role employees play in optimal outcomes. Such companies offer bonuses tied to performance, stock options, or profit-sharing plans.
Appealing Workplaces. Work spaces need to be comfortable, safe, and appealing. They need to include spaces that provide privacy, collaboration, and social space.
Clear Expectations. Companies need to help employees understand what their work is and how they are to complete it. Setting expectations, metrics, and outcomes is one key element of the process. The other is to provide the tools and resources that allow employees to do the job properly.
Empowerment. A corollary to Clear Expectations, companies need to empower their employees to do the work effectively and, when possible, independently. Business leadership needs to create the space and offer support to allow employees to experiment and find their own paths.
Employees need time and space to collaborate and take on assignments that have an impact on business outcomes.
Take a Break. Employees need time and space during the day to reset and recharge. Spaces to allow for breaks and uninterrupted personal time are essential. Employees also need to be allowed to take the breaks they are expecting.
On-Site Resources. Companies do well when they provide spaces to exercise, reflect, and eat healthy food (including in the vending machines at the site). These resources need to be affordable and well equipped to truly be considered benefits.
Consistent Respect. Companies that inspire employee loyalty and affinity have managers that respect differences and treat all employees with respect. Managers get more out of their employees who consistently recognize good work, both privately and publicly.
Time. Employees need the right amount of time to do the work that’s expected of them. That means having time to plan, be creative, collaborate, explore, research, test, evaluate, and strategize. Where possible, this time should be uninterrupted and scheduled. Leaders in such companies recognize the need for this time and plan for it.
Professional Growth. Companies that invest in their employees see that investment returned. Professional development need not be sending people to a conference or a large internal training session. Supervisors and employees should develop specialized plans that include new assignments, stretch assignments, or special projects that develop new abilities and connections.
Make It Matter. Companies that show their employees how their work relates to the greater business strategy and objectives can generate exceptional goodwill and better productivity. When an employee understands how her work impacts outcomes, she is more likely to be focused and motivated.
Regular Feedback. Want your employees to improve? Give them feedback regularly and outside of the normal performance review process. Consistent feedback in the moment allows employees to learn and improve.
Great companies understand the importance of their workforces. Companies that value their employees are likely to generate better affinity from their workers and better outcomes.