What makes a great place to work? The answer is different for each individual. However, you can set up a company where employees thrive, deliver an excellent experience for clients, and turn a profit.
How to create a great place to work
Don’t get stuck with the head trash that “we can’t do that here” or “that does not pertain to me/us.” Look at the benefits you offer and the workplace you provide and see where you can add a few new benefits each year. Maybe it is formalizing and communicating something you already do or tweaking something to make it better. No organization is perfect, and there are always things to improve. Don’t forget: The better workplace environment you have, the better candidates you will attract; and in turn, it will make it even easier to create a “Best Place to Work.”
Questions for the organization might include:
Pay and Benefits Describe your top three employee bonus or incentive programs, whom they include, what the rewards are, and anything unique. Do you offer bonuses to employees who refer new hires? Do you offer profit sharing? Do you have an employee stock option program? Do you offer a retirement savings program (SIMPLE IRA, 401k, 403b)? Which medical benefits do you offer and how much do you cover of the premium for the employee? Do you offer any to the family? This could include medical, prescription, dental, vision, long-term care, life insurance, and short-term disability. Is there anything unique to what you provide for benefits? When is a new employ eligible for coverage? Does your organization offer a flexible spending account? How many paid holidays does your organization offer per year? What is your paid time-off (PTO) program? Are people able to donate their PTO days to other employees in need? Do you offer additional paid time-off for community service or volunteer work? Which community service programs does your organization donate time, money, and resources? Does your organization offer telecommuting options? Do you offer a compressed workweek? What is your dress code? What does your organization offer in programs or assistance to promote exercise and fitness?
Training and Career Development Do you have formal employee performance appraisals and, if you do, how often? Do you offer 360 reviews? How many hours is your new-employee orientation? How many hours training is provided per employee per year? Do you offer tuition reimbursement? Do you have any formal career development or job-advancement programs? Do you have any formalized succession programs in place? Which programs do you have in place that focus on employee leadership, training, and development?
Culture and Communications Which programs do you have that encourage two-way dialogue between upper management and employees? Which employee recognition and appreciation programs do you have in place? Which family benefits or practices are addressed? These could include flexible leave for family events, flexible hours, or family involvement in company events.
Other Questions What has been your growth in net-income over the last year? How many job applications did you receive over the past year? What is the average time someone has been employed with your company? What has been the turnover in employees in the past year? How many new positions were created in your organization last year? Does your organization conduct pre-employment, regularly scheduled, or random drug screening? Do you have any formal processes for employees who feel they have been treated unfairly? Do you have a formal policy to protect intellectual property, trade secrets, or other proprietary information?
Questions from the employee might include the following: How do they feel about their coworkers? Do they enjoy their work? Are they given the tools and resources to do their job? Does their supervisor care about them? Do they feel the leadership team of the organization is trustworthy and able to set the business up for success? Are goals and accountabilities clear? Do they get the feedback they need? Will they be recognized if they contribute to the company’s success? Are they fairly compensated for the value they bring to the organization? Do they know how they fit in the organization’s future? Do they find their job challenging? Is there open and honest communication between employees and managers? Do you have benefits that are not typically available at other places? How does your organization recognize employees? What does your employer do now that creates a productive work place? What could they do to be more productive?
Look around to your regional or national papers and organizations and see who has a contest for a “Best Place to Work.” By entering, they typically will interview your employees and provide you with feedback by category. Even if you don’t win an award, you will win by getting the feedback and tools to improve upon. PR
Craig Durosko is the founder of Sun Design, a design/build firm located in McLean and Burke, Va. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.