Creating a Great Place to Work
As the economy rebounds businesses are focusing on making their organizations better places to work. They are realizing if employees and managers are unhappy, they are going to leave. Pay and benefits are important, but many people are choosing happiness, meaningful work and job satisfaction as the most important criteria as to whether they stay or go.
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos and author of Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose has created a great place to work. They have no problem attracting and retaining good people. Zappos does not hire just anyone looking for a job. They place emphasis on hiring the right kind of people. By hiring the right people, they reduce turnover, training costs and insure their team of Zapponians stay motivated and passionate about what they do. According to their human resource department, it is harder to get a job at Zappos than to be accepted at Harvard Business School.
The strategies and concepts they apply at Zappos have had a significant impact. Great places to work are more productive and more profitable than their peers. While most organizations have suffered during the recession, Zappos has been growing at a record pace. The Zappos vision statement is, Delivering happiness to our customers, vendors and employees. Creating happiness is not just an altruistic thing to do. It has a huge impact on the bottom line. Happiness has created unparalleled customer loyalty to the extent 80% of their customers return to purchase again.
In creating a great place to work, consider the following strategies:
1) Give people a higher calling and a purpose for working.
Do your employees feel their job gives them meaning and a purpose for working in your organization? Giving people a higher calling or a purpose makes them passionate about their jobs and is a major reason why they should work for your organization; otherwise it is just a job.
2) Deploy a leadership strategy.
There is unmistakable evidence revealing how leadership is exercised, formally and informally, throughout the organization. It is clear to your employees how key decisions are made, communicated and carried out. There needs to be a system for decision-making and development of leaders and managers as well as the reinforcement of values, directions and performance expectations.
3) Manage your managers and make them lead by example.
People dont quit their company, they quit their managers. You cant have a great place to work if you have bad managers.period. Leaders in the organization serve as role models through their ethical behavior and personal involvement in planning, communicating and developing others. Measure their effectiveness and hold them accountable for their actions. No excuses.
4) Hire the RIGHT people.
The cost of hiring the WRONG people is greater than most realize. When you add the money spent on recruiting, hiring, orientation, training and employee turnover. It equals to 2.5 times the persons annual salary. On the other hand, according to the Gallup organization, good employees generate 38 percent higher customer satisfaction scores, 22% higher productivity and 27% higher profits.
5) Tear down walls and eliminate barriers that rob people of pride.
Dedicate time pinpointing and removing barriers, obstacles and non-essential work that obstruct workflow, communication and productivity. Insure individuals have access and are free to go to anyone in the organization for advice and assistance. Conduct an employee satisfaction survey to pinpoint areas of dissatisfaction.
6) Create a work place that engages and inspires employees.
Success depends on valuing each employee’s satisfaction, motivation, well-being and development. People have a basic human need to feel appreciated. Recognition programs help meet that need as well as generate behavior in alignment with organizational goals and standards.
7) Retain your top people.
It should go without saying, but if you have a great place to work, you do not need to worry about headhunters plucking away your best employees. An effective retention strategy is to know the reasons why your employee stay, why their leave and what makes them happy.
8) Capture and manage ideas and suggestions.
Just imagine if Steve Jobs was your employee and he suggested this idea for a computerized tablet called the Ipad. The amazing thing is there are lots of innovative employees who have great ideas, but most of them go untapped. Great places to work listen and implement the ideas of their workforce. Create a system to learn and apply new knowledge, trends and ideas through evaluation, study and innovation.
9) Customer and market focus.
Happy employees make your customers happy. Do you build and maintain relationships with customers? Do you have metrics in place to measure customer satisfaction and loyalty? Is this information shared with all of your staff/employees? Empower employees to satisfy customers on first contact, improve processes and raise productivity to achieve business results.
10) Measure performance. Insure your organization has a process that quantifies input and output and measures what makes your organization successful. Whether it is employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction or profit, make sure everyone contributes to or at least can see how the organization is doing on a monthly basis.
The Great Workplace: Building Trust and Inspiring Performance
Research proves it. The best companies to work for are more productive and more profitable than their stock market peers. But a great workplace is not something that can be achieved in a quarter, or even a year. For a great workplace to exist, employees must trust the organization implicitly, take pride in what they do, and be inspired to achieve superior performance. And that requires a different breed of leaders who know how to instill and reinforce these beliefs in every communication, every decision, and every interaction. It requires leaders who realize how they act and do what they do makes a world of difference to employees.