I read a post the other day that got me thinking about the nature of corporate environments. The writer of this article suggested that, as organizations and leaders we need to “create” better people and better employees. I suspect this may have just been a poor word choice, but it inspired me to write about what our responsibility to our employees is beyond the tangibles of regular work hours, fair pay and clear expectations. (To be fair, the article that sparked this blog had this same aim in mind.)
As an employer or boss, you create the work environment. And, if you are after creating an engaged and engaging workplace, consider how these actions will impact your enterprise:
Interview well – It goes without saying that not everyone is right for every company. In addition to interviewing the “what” of the job, such as skills, knowledge and accomplishments, you should also consider the “how” of the job. The “how” can be described as the way in which the person approaches their work – their mindset, level of teamwork, communication style, interpersonal skills, etc.
Train well –Every new employee must understand their tasks, deliverables and how-to’s, even if they have worked for the company and are being promoted or moved for other reasons. Beyond the obvious items on a training list, ensure that newbies know the sometimes-vague elements of “how work gets done here.” They should also have a very clear view of the purpose of their work and how they contribute to the greater whole in the organization. In other words, if I am a bartender or server in a large restaurant company, I should understand why my role is important to the business overall – what my “why” is in the context of the restaurant’s success. This essential is true for everyone in the organization and should be a regular influence in role definition, people’s performance and decision-making.
Create a safe environment – Fear is only a motivator for a short period of time. After a period, people become inured to the perceived or real threats, take part in the oppression or leave. A safe environment includes physical safety, of course. It also includes the ability to express your opinions and ideas without recrimination and come to the workplace as your true self, leveraging the best of you: your skills, knowledge, abilities and talents.
In my mind, employers are responsible to create an environment in which employees thrive. A place where they can utilize their strengths, contribute to meaningful goals, and be treated with respect and care.
What do you think? How is your company creating a place where people thrive?