You’ve probably seen businesses in your community that have earned the coveted “Best Place to Work” award. Even better, perhaps your company has earned this highly regarded distinction! What makes this award notably prestigious is that it’s based on employee surveys of their own workplace.
Over the years, I’ve had numerous clients that have received this award. Using five categories, here’s a list of initiatives, programs, and ideas that contribute to becoming a Best Place to Work.
1. Support of good health and well-being. Studies have shown that employees who are both physically and emotionally fit are happier. These employees have fewer absences, produce higher quality work, and contribute to positive morale.
Some examples of employer funded (or partially funded) initiatives that can generate improved health and well being: complimentary healthy food in the break room, on site fitness programs or access to a local health club, work breaks to use fitness facilities, quiet room for meditation and recharging, and flexible work schedules to accommodate family and personal needs.
Top employers recognize the employee family’s influence in creating a positive work environment. Special attention is given to including and thanking the family. Activities can include family picnics and holiday parties, office trick or treating, bring your little tyke to work day, company newsletters that are mailed to the home, celebration of life’s happy occasions at the office, and sending restaurant gift cards home as a family thank you. One company owner assists with financial well being. He offers his staff a complimentary meeting with a financial advisor to learn about retirement plans, college saving plans, budgeting, and eliminating debt. In addition, he gives his employees a personal subscription to the Kiplinger Personal Finance magazine.
2. Continuous learning and career development. What employees learn on the job is theirs to keep forever. That’s why top performers are passionate about furthering their knowledge to advance their earning potential and careers. Establish a company university. Each employee should be asked to create a personalized education curriculum. Employers have many options of what to offer employees. Self-study, in-house training, classes offered by industry associations, complimentary vendor programs, co-worker instruction, and formal mentor programs should be part of your in-house university offerings. Best place to work businesses encourage employee participation outside the office in Toastmasters, Dale Carnegie programs, and Fred Pryor and Skillpath seminars. Spend time working with each employee to create a development plan that benefits the individual, your company, and your clients.
3. Personalized workstations. While standards and procedures need to be consistent to ensure quality work and outstanding service, individuals have unique preferences that suit their best thinking, creativity, physical comfort, and productivity. Ergonomic experts can help by recommending an appropriate office set up. Stand up workstations are becoming very popular. Choice of chair, desk height, position of keyboard and monitors, and foot stools are just a few things that can make a huge difference in avoiding discomfort and injury. Personalization can go one step further. Award-winning workplaces give office-based employees the option to work from home one or more times a week. Working from home also supports good health and well-being.
4. Commitment to a cause. Participating in something for the greater good improves morale and encourages teamwork. Some popular volunteer activities include tutoring children, meals on wheels, senior care centers, Habitat for Humanity, and fund-raising walkathons. Please consider offering each employee four hours a month to volunteer as they choose.
5. Do fun and silly things. I have several clients who excel in this. Pool and ping-pong tables that double as meeting tables make for spirited Friday afternoon competitions. A well-equipped kitchen can be used by employees to make meals together or have cooking classes. Put an oversized crossword puzzle on the wall for all to work on. Have a table designated for jigsaw puzzles. Host a talent contest. Start seasonal traditions such as an Easter egg hunt, a Halloween costume contest, or a chili competition. Ask employees for their ideas for fun and amusing activities and you’ll get dozens of suggestions.
If you’d like your office to become a best place to work, start by implementing one idea from each of the categories. Once you hear an employee exclaim, “This is a great place to work!” you’ll know that you’re making a positive difference in the personal and professional lives of your team.
Emily Huling, CIC, CMC, helps the insurance industry create top-performing sales, service, and leadership organizations. She is the author of Selling from the Inside, Great Service Sells and the audio program Service Selling Supercharge. Contact Emily at 888-309-8802, www.sellingstrategies.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.