Our local business newspaper publishes an annual list of the best places to work. There are some commonalities among all of them. Employees at these top-rated places typically say that they are respected by management, compensated fairly, and are engaged in stimulating work. Many of them have some fantastic perks, including sabbatical time off, onsite recreational facilities, and free food for lunch. That doesn’t even include things like onsite doggy daycare or barbershops. Most of these companies are also privately owned.
Unfortunately, lots of smaller companies and nonprofits don’t have the resources to provide such perks.
But the leaders of even the smallest of the smallest organizations can take steps to create a positive work environment for their employees. While employees want to be compensated fairly, most research studies indicate that there are more important things than money. And that’s good, because there aren’t too many companies who can provide what mega-firms as Google and Apple provide. That is particularly true at nonprofits where employees seek to simply ‘do good.”
But no matter where you work, no one wants to work in an environment where people are angry, passive-aggressive, or lazy.
There are some things that any organization, of any size, can focus on.
- It begins with a serious discussion about why the organization exists and why it needs to be accomplished.
- Your organization’s “culture” began when the first person was hired. What’s the mood of the place? What motivates your workers?
- Are the leaders of the organization listening to the needs and concerns of their employees? Do workers feel like they can provide open and honest feedback?
- Invest in your people. Provide them with the training they need to do their jobs. It also is an excellent idea to give them the skills to become knowledgeable about new and different things; even it is not directly related to their day-to-day tasks.
- Make the wellness and work-life balance a priority for your employees. Staff members who are not emotionally, physically, and mentally well will not give you their best. Let a person out of work early to watch their child’s soccer game. If they are forced to stay at work, they will be thinking about the game and not their job. Discourage employees from working 6 or 7 days a week unless you want to deal with burnout.
- Hire individuals who will not only be able to do the job but will also fit in with their colleagues. A person’s attitude is more important than impressive credentials.
- Engage your team in regular discussions of the organization’s goals and values. Employees want to know that their work is important and contributing to the larger success.
The leader of an organization is not just responsible for the financial bottom line. It’s also important to be thinking of ways to create a positive culture. Leaders know that this leads to retaining your best employees and recruiting the very best. Ultimately, this will be a positive for your bottom line.