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11 Essential Tips on Becoming a “Best Place to Work”

Cassandra Rose, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Many com­pa­nies want to become a ​“Best Place to Work.” It is a cov­et­ed label that can be an asset for attract­ing and retain­ing top tal­ent. How­ev­er, the focus shouldn’t be on attract­ing and retain­ing employ­ees. It should be about engag­ing them.

Too often, reten­tion sole­ly focus­es on keep­ing employ­ees on the pay­roll as long as pos­si­ble with­out con­sid­er­ing whether those employ­ees are actu­al­ly engaged and inspired.

Inspired and engaged employ­ees are the key to cre­at­ing a thriv­ing com­pa­ny cul­ture and becom­ing a renowned ​“Best Place to Work.”

11 Tips to Become a Best Place to Work

1. Lead by the Company’s Mission and Purpose

Com­pa­nies should have a cen­tral mis­sion and pur­pose that they use as a guid­ing post. When in doubt, lead­ers and employ­ees can look towards the mis­sion and pur­pose to quick­ly assess whether they’re on track. This type of clar­i­ty is a main­stay for some of the best places to work.

If the mis­sion is clear, it’s much eas­i­er to engage employ­ees and cre­ate a thriv­ing cul­ture built around a shared purpose.

2. Ask for Employee Feedback (And Use It)

One thing all the best places to work have in com­mon is the abil­i­ty to ask for — and act on — employ­ee feed­back. Get­ting employ­ee feed­back can be tough some­times. It can be chal­leng­ing to hear the rea­sons why employ­ees aren’t hap­py. How­ev­er, the best com­pa­nies ask for feed­back, tru­ly lis­ten and make changes.

Anony­mous sur­veys are often the best way to get the most hon­est feed­back. How­ev­er, com­pa­nies should devel­op a cul­ture where employ­ees feel com­fort­able shar­ing feed­back with their lead­ers in per­son and in real-time for the most effi­cient improve­ments in employ­ee satisfaction.

3. Embrace and Promote Diversity

Diver­si­ty is an essen­tial com­po­nent to rich com­pa­ny cul­tures and fresh new per­spec­tives. Pro­mot­ing diver­si­ty is a tried-and-true way to fos­ter inclu­siv­i­ty and com­mu­ni­ty with­in a com­pa­ny. Diver­si­ty can come in var­i­ous forms, including:

  • Gen­der
  • Age
  • Eth­nic­i­ty and Race
  • Cul­tur­al Background
  • Reli­gious Background
  • Dis­abil­i­ty

Com­pa­nies should also be con­scious enough to devel­op train­ing pro­grams about diver­si­ty in order to elim­i­nate uncon­scious prej­u­dices and bias­es with­in the workplace.

4. Listen and Hear the Employees

Lis­ten­ing to employ­ees doesn’t just mean lis­ten­ing to feed­back. It also includes lis­ten­ing to what they have to say about their lives out­side of work, allow­ing super­vi­sors the oppor­tu­ni­ty to respond appro­pri­ate­ly. For instance, if a super­vi­sor learns that an employee’s moth­er is in the hos­pi­tal, they can show the employ­ee they hear them and val­ue them by giv­ing them some time off with­out the employ­ee hav­ing to ask for it.

Alter­na­tive­ly, they might hear about an employee’s hob­bies out­side of work and find ways to sup­port their hob­by. Lis­ten­ing extends to new ideas and inno­va­tion, too. If com­pa­nies want to pro­mote inno­va­tion, lis­ten­ing is the first and best way to encour­age it.

5. Nurture Collaboration

Com­pa­nies need to elim­i­nate the com­pet­i­tive, cut-throat, Wall Street cul­ture that was pop­u­lar­ized in the 1980s. Instead, com­pa­nies should pro­mote col­lab­o­ra­tion and place peo­ple where they shine. Super­vi­sors should nur­ture team­work and encour­age employ­ees to sup­port each other.

The real­i­ty is that col­lab­o­ra­tion begins from the top: The best com­pa­nies have super­vi­sors work­ing with employ­ees and exec­u­tives. If super­vi­sors are eager to col­lab­o­rate, it becomes part of the culture.

6. Operate Transparently

Trans­paren­cy and hon­esty are dif­fer­ent. Hon­esty is about telling the truth when asked; trans­paren­cy is about offer­ing up the truth vol­un­tar­i­ly and reg­u­lar­ly. The best com­pa­nies com­mu­ni­cate goals, suc­cess­es and fail­ures trans­par­ent­ly with their employees.

Trans­paren­cy helps build trust and fos­ter an involved team. If employ­ees under­stand and feel includ­ed in the ​“why,” nav­i­gat­ing change and day-to-day oper­a­tions is much smoother for everyone.

7. Make Trust Non-negotiable

Sim­i­lar to trans­paren­cy is trust. Oper­at­ing trans­par­ent­ly will help employ­ees feel like they can trust their lead­er­ship to move the com­pa­ny in a pos­i­tive direc­tion. How­ev­er, trust goes both ways.

Super­vi­sors need to trust their employ­ees to do their job with­out micro­manag­ing. This should extend to remote work, too. Com­pa­nies need to show their employ­ees they trust them, and employ­ees need to ensure that the trust is warranted.

8. Create and Maintain a Recognition Program

Employ­ees are hap­pi­er and more engaged when they’re being rec­og­nized for their hard work. Employ­ee recog­ni­tion has been proven to pos­i­tive­ly impact com­pa­ny cul­ture, cus­tomer expe­ri­ence, pro­duc­tiv­i­ty and more.

It’s cru­cial to have an employ­ee recog­ni­tion pro­gram in place and uti­lize it. Many well-mean­ing com­pa­nies have recog­ni­tion pro­grams but don’t use them. For recog­ni­tion to work, com­pa­nies have to make the effort for their employ­ees to trust they will be recognized.

9. Cultivate a Culture of Ownership

There’s no need to reor­ga­nize the com­pa­ny in order to cre­ate a cul­ture of own­er­ship. How­ev­er, dimin­ish­ing as much hier­ar­chy and bureau­cra­cy as pos­si­ble is a good start. When peo­ple feel like they can con­tribute to com­pa­ny growth in a mean­ing­ful way, their com­mit­ment and engage­ment increase substantially.

Com­pa­nies should give employ­ees access to lead­ers and deci­sion-mak­ers, and they should con­sid­er reg­u­lar one-on-one meet­ings and group pow­er ses­sions. The best com­pa­nies know that if they want employ­ees to be invest­ed, they have to be allowed to con­tribute and care as much as the own­ers do.

10. Invest in Employees

Com­pa­nies have to invest in their most impor­tant asset: their peo­ple. Employ­ee invest­ment can look like many things. It can be hav­ing reg­u­lar con­ver­sa­tions about career goals and growth. It can be pro­vid­ing train­ing, edu­ca­tion or tools to improve the employee’s workflow.

It can also be invest­ing in the employ­ees’ well-being by pro­vid­ing paid time off, ensur­ing an excel­lent work-life bal­ance and pro­vid­ing well-being-cen­tric ben­e­fits. Ulti­mate­ly, the best places to work are pas­sion­ate about treat­ing their employ­ees like the assets that they are.

11. Provide Comprehensive and Meaningful Benefits

In addi­tion to invest­ing in its employ­ees, com­pa­nies should take care of their employ­ees — finan­cial­ly, phys­i­cal­ly and men­tal­ly. The best way to do that is to pro­vide com­pre­hen­sive and mean­ing­ful benefits.

The best places to work always offer impres­sive con­ven­tion­al ben­e­fits like health care, retire­ment and paid time off. They also usu­al­ly offer plen­ty of lifestyle ben­e­fits as well. Lifestyle ben­e­fits are mean­ing­ful to the employ­ee, and usu­al­ly improve their lives in some way, like gym mem­ber­ships, men­tal health ser­vices, child or pet care, trav­el and more.

Focus on Culture and Engagement

To become a ​“Best Place to Work,” a com­pa­ny must com­mit to improv­ing com­pa­ny cul­ture and increas­ing employ­ee engage­ment. It often requires some par­a­digm-shift­ing, in-depth strate­gies and tri­al-and-error. It can take some time to get it right.

How­ev­er, com­mit­ting to improv­ing employ­ee hap­pi­ness and over­all well-being will result in improved morale and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, and undoubt­ed­ly, bet­ter lead­er­ship. Work­ing to become a ​“Best Place to Work” is a win­ning sce­nario for everyone.

Fringe’s cus­tomized lifestyle ben­e­fits plat­form is a great tool to help com­pa­nies pro­vide mean­ing­ful ben­e­fits and recog­ni­tion for their employ­ees. It’s an indis­pens­able plat­form for any com­pa­ny work­ing on becom­ing a bet­ter place to work.

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