What Makes a Great Workplace!

With the recent release of the Best place to Work in Australia 2013 list by Business Review Weekly (BRW).  Here is an article published in the Chicago Times which lists 12 attributes that can help your business reach the top of the list.

What Makes a Great Workplace?

Chicago Daily Herald

July 23, 2013

Creating a great place to work is becoming more and more important as new generations enter the workforce with new priorities, values and goals for their career. Growth-oriented organizations will need to plan new ways to engage their employees in challenging, creative and worthwhile tasks. The Great Workplace Transformation, a book written by Tom Klobucher, founder and CEO of Thomas Interior Systems in Bloomingdale, IL, lays out 12 essential strategies for creating a great place to work in detail, but here’s a start:

1. Core values: Identify the organizations’ core values and talk about them frequently with customers and employees. These are the customer-focused values you will hire employees for … and fire employees for, if they consistently deviate from those values.

2. Creative workplace: Design and refine a creative work space. This will attract and retain creative problem solvers and people who care.

3. Human resource right fit: Put the right person in the right job. Use the personality tests at Kolbe.com as a resource to help you accomplish this goal.

4. Understanding your employees: Give constant attention and understand the needs of the whole employee, as well as being intentional about learning their hopes and future career aspirations. The result is greater buy-in to the mission, deeper loyalty, and more intense commitment to the customer. Other needs could include flex time, shift swapping and extended leave when necessary.

5. Awards and recognition: Build public recognition for a job well done into the culture. Thank you cards and emails for colleagues (as well as for customers and vendors) need to become a part of daily life. These should reflect authentic gratitude for any and every job well done. “Most Valuable Player” awards promote an “all crew and no passenger” workplace philosophy, which ultimately serves the customer.

6. Collaborative environment: Support a truly collaborative workplace, both physically and emotionally. This kind of workplace design and interpersonal support promotes: problem solving, quality improvement, brainstorming, think tanks, and effective post-mortems when a project concludes.

7. Director of fun: Appoint someone as “Director of Fun.” Whether it’s a full-time position or an addition to someone’s current list of responsibilities isn’t as important as your team members seeing, and experiencing first hand, the positive experience they are supposed to be delivering to the customer. Find new reasons to celebrate and new ways to enhance enjoyment of the job!

8. Creative after-work events: Create after-work events that involve direct personal contact with customers. These kinds of events amount to a fun, collaborative team effort that improves all aspects of customer service. A few suggestions include: Bulls, Hawks, Cubs and Kane County Cougar games, as well as small group activities like golf, table games and picnics.

9. Community service events: Give something back to the community. Doing this as a group improves team cohesion, gives you a great PR opportunity, and helps customers understand your values. A few ideas to try: helping out with local homeless support groups, food pantries, PADS and adopting a needy family each holiday season.

10. A healthy ergonomics workplace: Ensure that each employee’s work space makes good ergonomic sense. This reduces stress, improves morale, and improves the quality of our interactions with customers (and everyone else)!

11. A learning organization: Invest in ongoing education and personal development for all employees. This pays off for everyone (Thomas University or Learning vs. Training).

12. Employee feedback and evaluation: Give employees regular feedback (recommended evaluation/review time: every six months). Evaluate them against your organization’s core values first and against performance metrics second.

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