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What makes a great workplace? Trust is essential. Pride in the work is key. Camraderie strengthens teamwork.

What are some important traits of leaders who are able to achieve a thriving workplace?

First, leaders who are successful in fostering a positive workplace culture must have the courage and the confidence to develop a space where organizational objectives are carried out by a team of employees who are, not only willing, but who desire to give their very best. In order to achieve that level of teamwork, companies must invest in their employees. Employee investment is paramount for maintaining talent, which has been a major concern for management leaders throughout the global economic dowturn.

Prolific speaker and New York Times bestselling author Gary Vaynerchuk states in his book The Thank You Economy:

"Too many leaders invest insufficiently in their employees for fear of losing out when the employee leaves. Any investment you make in your employees will be safe if they believe that you really care about them and their future. Create a culture that rewards people who show that they care. Seek the input of people who have a tendency to take risks and share big ideas. Prove that you value your employees above all else by giving them the freedom to ask for what they want, to experiment, and to be themselves."

Management and leadership expert Bret L. Simmons of Positive Organizational Behavior states:

"Underdeveloping and undertrusting your employees is the path to operational malaise. There are multiple paths to earning a reputation as a great place for great people to work, but they all head north, not south."

Deidre Campbell, Managing Director in Burson-Marsteller’s Corporate Practice, says in a recent Harvard Business Review article that in order to better understand ROI from employee investment, Burson-Marsteller partnered with the Great Place to Work Institute to ask senior executives from top-ranked companies about the value of a positive work environment. The survey gleaned responses from 20 of the top 25 companies in the global workplace ranking. Here are the key points of what those companies do in common based on the survey:
  • They invest more in their employees. Across the board, companies can measure quantitative results from employee investment.
  • They're upgrading their benefits. In addition to traditional employee benefits like healthcare and family leave, more companies are recognizing that communicating brand mission and providing career development opportunities are highly important--much more so than onsite perks like cafeterias and childcare, in employee retention.
  • They recognize that culture is critical to talent retention. Top performers seek to work for companies with values that they share themselves.
  • They know their audience. They know the stakeholders watching every move they make, and thus, it's essential to reinforce the companies commitment to providing a great workplace.

Read more about the survey at Harvard Business Review.

Leaders who want to excel at providing a great workplace culture need a long-term strategy for investment in their employees. Top-ranked companies demonstrate that this kind of investment will increase retention, productivity and cut costs.

The Great Place to Work Institute recently released the 2011 World's Best Multinational Workplaces. View the list at greatplacetowork.com.

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This article was written by Joe Chappell from the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).
 
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BlueSteps is the exclusive service of the AESC that puts senior executives on the radar screen of over 8,000 executive search professionals in over 70 countries. Be visible, and be considered for up to 75,000 opportunities handled by AESC search firms every year. Find out more at www.BlueSteps.com.
  

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