When organizations vie for the best talent, the employer tag goes a long way in lending credibility. HR practices have a deep impact on employee behavior, performance and consequently on organizational performance. Often, the HR function is responsible for designing the right practices to nurture employees, retain them, deepen engagement and control attrition. While the HR Department is primarily responsible for designing good HR practices, creating a work environment that delivers desired results is an amalgam of a number of factors. This article shares our experience in creating and instilling `The Best Place to Work’ culture at our organization.
Effective People Management
People are the true assets of an organization and the primary means to achieving competitive advantage. While very little differentiation can be achieved with other organizational resources, people are unique to an organization and create a distinction between ‘any organization’ and a ‘great organization’. Successful companies manage human capital in the most effective and efficient fashion.
A Culture of Creative and Cohesive Thinking
A company needs creativity and cohesion to be successful. Many companies follow the `give feedback’ model to improve employee performance. While effective in collecting information, it remains reactive or post facto. Alternatively, if companies invite employees to share their opinion and participate in the decision-making, they will be enabling an open work culture that can yield positive results. A small but significant change in asking “How about doing it this way?” instead of telling “Do this as I tell you!” creates a high degree of ownership and makes employees feel valued.
Diversity and Employee Relations
Workforce diversity and employee relations are two emerging trends in human resource management. Workforce diversity is the ability to look beyond gender, demographics, qualifications and experience to view each employee as an asset. Healthy employee relations empower employees to exceed their goals. These two practices if followed diligently will lead to organizational success. It is important that every microcosm of an organization adopts these practices and internalizes them. Diversity promotes respect for “differences” and strengthens the entire organizational framework.
Informal Communication / Open House Discussion
With the omnipresence of new age social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Yammer communication has become seamless, simpler and cost effective. We still continue to discover that many top executives do not frequently communicate with their employees enough. Organizational communication should frequently happen to ensure employees remain updated with the latest news. Interactions between C-suite and employees also needs to occur at every level. It is not necessary to plan every communication through meeting invites or a formal address. It is no secret that the best and most effective communication is often an “informal one” - perhaps over a meal or coffee. It is imperative for the communicator to ensure that the recipients are at ease and the guards are lowered.
Open Office Culture
The emergence of ‘open office culture’ has resulted in employee-friendly workplaces. Senior executives sit in cubicles along with their colleagues. Meetings are held in areas of employee majority and not in secluded cabins. Hierarchy must make way for flat organizational structure where everyone’s opinion matters and every concern, however small, is addressed by the senior management.
Ensuring good health of employees should be a core focus area. Amenities like complimentary preventive health checkup should be offered. Ergonomics in the workplace is a must. Sports and recreational activities have to be actively promoted to create and maintain a balance between work and leisure. Such activities play a vital role in building a sense of camaraderie within the organization, which is highly critical to team engagement.
Ensuring work-life balance is a challenge for most companies across industry segments. However, several companies strive to strike a good balance. Privileges such as flexible timings and telecommuting help in controlling commuting and traffic related stress. For young mothers, crèche facilities are an attraction and a good retention strategy. Progressive companies should see work-life balance as a business commitment. Only a stress free employee can be an effective contributor and organizations should try to provide such facilities to a good extent.
Life Long Learning
Friendly HR policies to support training programs, online courses, higher studies and certifications go a long way in gaining employee trust, improving skill levels and creating the paths for career progression. Enhancement of the employee skills always benefits the organization. Employees should be able to contribute effectively and should also be able to train others in the newly acquired skills.
Employees should feel irreplaceable and empowered to work, share and discuss. They should be heard and made to feel that their opinions matter. They must know that they are not cogs in a wheel, but valued assets who are cared for! Employees need to “own” the organization and not feel like “just employees." When all this and more happens, it means the organization has created a blueprint for `The Best Place to work’ culture.