Google. Zappos. SAS. The names sound familiar to anyone who’s taken a look at the last few years’ Fortune magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For”. It goes without saying that a spot on the prestigious list has become almost a badge of pride for the organizations that make it – and rightfully so.
Cultivation of sound organizational culture has become more relevant today than it ever was in the past. As more and more research has shown, traditional corporate paradigms have become rather destructive to the spirit of the average employee.
So suffice it to say, a transition towards a work environment that actively focuses on improving employee engagement has found to be the next big competitive advantage for those who can capitalize on it early, while serving as a tough challenge for those who can’t help but feel lost in trying to even identify the issue at hand.
Now, if you’re the former, bravo! You’re a pioneer for the next generation of companies who will be eager to study your organizational culture. If you’re the latter, not to worry, because here are 3 essential tips to become one of the best places to work for.
1. Focus on Recruitment
It goes without saying that people are a company’s most important assets. They are not only the ones who best represent the company, but also the ones who, given that they share the company’s mission with positivity and enthusiasm, actively seek to contribute towards its aspirations.
Not surprisingly, those that express hiring the best of the best as a high priority are those that cultivate the most innovative atmosphere at the workplace and prove themselves as the best places to work for.
Companies are becoming more and more inclined to improve their recruitment tactics: just take a look at tech giant Oracle purchasing both Taleo, a talent management and recruiting software company, and SelectMinds, a social talent sourcing company, or SAP acquiring SuccessFactors in multi-billion dollar agreement. Or even look at how a fantastic recruitment has allowed Google to practically own the best-company-to-work-for title in the recent decade.
Strive to improve your hiring process – take the initiative to complete a more thorough assessment of each candidate, conduct regular training for hiring managers, and provide them with the necessary tools to further develop their skills (take a look at SmartRecruiter’s blog on hiring made easy).
Even making it a common theme for conversations around the office can lead to more internal references and better retainment of talent in general, as employees would only want more to be a part of the ever-growing community of talent in your office.
2. Cultivate Humane Leadership Practices
In his blog post on why companies are finally striving to become the places to work, Mark C. Crowley discussed with Robert Levering, co-founder and CEO of the Great Place to Work Institute, which determines which organizations make Fortune magazine’s annual list.
Levering believes that business leaders are beginning to reconcile with how competitive business has gotten in all industries by shifting their understanding of the benefits of retaining the best people. In that, CEOs have found that injecting compassion and accountability into their leadership has become essential in maintaining the companies’ success.
The evidence that Mr. Crowley presents in his article shows a trend: leaders of the most successful companies with happy employees recognize that nurturing their employees and giving them the respect that they deserve lead to far better business performance than otherwise.
Furthermore, the leaders who strive to adhere to the values of the company and actually lead with principles that align with what’s been preached to the workers will pave way for a more transparent and loyal organizational culture.
Here’s an example of aggressive, yet ultimately effective, leadership: when the financial crisis hit the financial services firm Baird, CEO Paul Purcell led his top team to take a pay cut so no jobs would be lost, and later convinced his employees to dilute their ownership and hire the incredible influx of talents spilling into the labor market from rival companies. There’s a level of respect that his employees cannot help but feel for such a man of integrity, as well as a feeling of pride in knowing that you are a part of such an organization.
Which leads to my next point:
3. Practice What You Preach
There’s a whole slew of blog posts and columns that you could find that preaches you the importance of promoting companies’ core values and vocalizing its aspirations.
The problem, however, is not in identifying which values to preach, but in showing to the employees that you actually practice those principles.
It is one thing to broadcast throughout the office about committing to the broader mission, about pushing boundaries and seeking new challenges, about having pride and integrity in the work that you do; it is another to demonstrate that you as a leader believe in them as well.
There must be action that follows to ground those words as beliefs rather than empty sayings with no weight.
Just imagine a manager who emphasizes being punctual but shows up late to meetings, or promotes open-door environment for employees to speak their minds, yet never updates them when there are important decisions to be made about the company.
If you decide on a philosophy that your office should adhere to, stick with it and keep it consistent. Above all, lead with integrity, and let your actions speak to your employees, so that they may continue what you began in cultivating the right atmosphere for the company to grow.
Of course, practicing these tips won’t mean an overnight improvement in all facets of your workplace atmosphere.
Like any meaningful change in life, reinventing the very fabric of the way you work will never come too easily. Transitioning to your dream organizational culture will take incremental steps that may seem trivial at the moment and too intangible. But combined, these small steps will serve as the basis for a new kind of corporate paradigm – one that may just help you become the next best place to work for.
What do you think is the secret to being one of the best places to work?
Let me know your thoughts on twitter @Officevibe.