A great company is a place where you can do great things while having a great time
Lists always fascinate people. We always like to rate one thing against another, be it jobs, salaries or companies that one works for. While one’s career is usually in one’s hand, the place we work in, the colleagues we work with and the bosses who ultimately have a major effect on your professional life also shape it. This is why selecting the right company matters as much as the role or the salary does.
Choosing a place of work is one of the most stressful decisions a person can make. Being recognized by employees as a Best Place To Work is no mean achievement as companies today recognize that it’s a reflection of their commitment to create a positive and enjoyable workplace for the employees. These lists give prospective employees insights into what companies do to keep their staff satisfied year round.
In 2011, we published a Best Companies To Work For – India list, a study by the Great Place to Work® Institute India and Economic Times. Through our cover story then, we came to the conclusion that in a multi-generational workforce, it is the unique practices and work culture that make organizations a Great Place to Work®.
The Great Place to Work® framework is based on more than 25 years of research of the best workplaces across the globe from the employees’ stand point of view. A Great Place to Work® is built through the day-to-day relationships that employees experience and not just some programs and benefits and the key common factor among them is trust. From the employee’s perspective, it’s very simple: If you trust the people you work for, take pride in what you do and enjoy the company of people you work with, you are in a Great Place to Work®. From the manager’s perspective, a Great Place to Work® is the one where they achieve organizational objectives with employees who give their personal best and work together as a team in an environment of trust. Trust is the defining principle of great workplaces — created through management’s credibility, the respect with which employees feel they are treated, and the extent to which employees expect to be treated fairly. The degree of pride and levels of authentic connection and camaraderie employees feel with one are additional essential components. This fundamental model is universal and consistent year-over-year, country-to-country.
What is a Great Place to Work®?
So what are the common things that the Best Places To Work for have in common? Here are some that popped up in my mind:
- They treat employees like grown-ups who can make their own decisions, whose ideas are worth exploring and grievances worth listening to.
- They help employees with their careers. Employees in such places never have a doubt about where their career is heading. Such companies have strong training programs or will send employees for such programs.
- They understand that people have lives outside of work. A person’s life is not just defined by the professional life that she leads, but by the personal life and family time that she needs.
- They understand that every employee has a larger role as a citizen to fulfill. In fact, good companies will ensure that the employee can play that role through company avenues itself.
- They know that employees look for challenges in the work they perform. It’s a deep survival mechanism that has allowed us to successfully adapt to new environments again and again over the millennia.
- People are waiting in line to join your company, which has the best people practices that help to attract the best minds of the country and the region. They would give anything to join the company.
- Turnover is low. If there is a lot of turnover at the entry and middle levels, alarm bells should ring. On the other hand, if people have been in the company for a long time, then you are looking at a healthy culture.
- Change is welcome. Not many people like change, but when change does occur, people are not put off by it. Leaders need to show the way by managing change with care and dignity such that even employees no longer dread it. Identifying the evidences of a great culture is all fine and good.
- There is no fear among employees. People don’t fret if they say the wrong thing in front of the wrong person. Employees in an organization with a great culture can walk into the boss’s office with a concern and know they will be heard.
Why is it essential to be a good place to work?
It has long been established that customer loyalty alone pumps up company profitability. Likewise, it is employee loyalty that will see the company through in its growth and profitability phase. Today, employee retention and employee engagement have become more than just buzzwords for the HR community. Companies are seriously working towards making their employees like they are part of a growing family rather than just doing a tick-in-the-box exercise. Recent research by the Hay Group showed that engaged employees are on an average 50 per cent more likely to exceed expectations than the least engaged workers.
That in turn adds to productivity. Companies with highly engaged people outperform companies with the most disengaged folks – 54 per cent in employee retention and 89 per cent in customer satisfaction. These scores can be achieved only if the company is a good place to work.
Why do companies increasingly feel the need to portray that they are a good place to work? The Great Place To Work Institute is but one of the many lists in the market that showcase how employees rate their companies. There are many other lists as well like Forbes, Fortune, Glassdoor to name a few. If a recent ILO report is anything to go by, then the jobless growth problem has never really gone away. The report mentioned that at least 215 million jobseekers will be unemployed globally by 2018. With the threat of jobless growth still looming large, employees would do well to stick to the companies they work with rather than hopping around multiple places. In 2013, the Indian economy grew but did not create any jobs. That spectrum begins to look terrifying as the years go by as the country is poised to become the nation with the youngest workforce on the planet. If there are no jobs for the millions of millennials who enter the workforce, that could have large-scale implications not just for the companies but the society as a whole. Besides the larger economic implication, at a micro level, people like to be part of something that is bigger than themselves, something they believe in. Believing in the organization’s core values is much more than just remembering the exact words.
Working in a ‘great company to work for’ is simple: a great company is a place where you can do great things while having a great time, with others who want the same. But things are not as simple as they seem. If every morning when you wake up, you feel good about going to work, then life is sorted. Otherwise, it might be a good time to start looking around.