Ten Ways to Create an Employee-centered Workplace
By: Pat Lynch, Ph.D.
Pat Lynch, Ph.D., is President of Business Alignment Strategies, Inc., a consulting firm that helps clients optimize business results by aligning people, programs, and processes with organizational goals. For additional articles please visit our web site at www.BusinessAlignmentStrateties.com. You may contact Pat at Pat@BusinessAlignmentStrategies.com or at (562) 985-0333.
An employee-centered workplace is one in which all individuals, programs, processes, and systems are focused on helping employees become fully successful. Individuals who feel valued will provide excellent products and service, which will result in the achievement of organizational goals. In such an environment, everyone wins: workers, management, customers, vendors, and other stakeholders.
Unfortunately, this scenario does not occur naturally. Rather, management must make a conscious decision to create an environment in which everyone and everything is aligned with employees' success. Below are ten actions organizations can take to create or enhance a positive workplace that motivates employees to perform their best. Some practices can be implemented immediately, with little or no cost; others will take some time and effort. Please note that these actions are not one-time fixes; rather, they represent a long-term way of interacting with employees. Short-term "solutions" for long-term issues are seldom effective, and workers can tell the difference.
- Assess your employees' level of satisfaction with their supervisors. For example, consider issues such as whether the supervisor listens to what they say, and how he/she treats employees when they make mistakes. Take immediate action to correct any deficiencies.
- Ensure that every employee sees the organization's "big picture" and his/her contribution to it. Employees who feel connected to the organization have a vested interest in its success.
- Learn employees' names and use them often. As a corollary, learn a little about their families and outside interests. Ask them about things that are important to them personally on a regular basis. Be genuine when you ask; people know when you are being disingenuous.
- Recognize employees' contributions to the organization in ways that are meaningful to the individuals involved. Research shows that the most effective forms of recognition are those that create memories for workers and their families.
- Ensure that employees view organizational procedures and decision-making processes as fair. Research shows that even when employees do not like the outcome of a given decision, they are likely to accept it if they believe the rules that led to that outcome are fair - e.g., transparent, free of bias, and open to employee input.
- Ensure that values such as trust and respect are a core part of your organization's culture. This outcome arises when each employee knows what those values "look like" in terms of his/her behaviors on the job and when leaders exemplify those values every day.
- Provide employees with a meaningful voice. This means they feel that they can offer their opinions freely and safely, even when they disagree with management, and they believe that their views will be taken seriously.
- Incorporate appreciative approaches in the workplace. Seek out things that people do well, and build on those strengths. Ask questions that have them searching for positive answers instead of negative ones.
- Ensure that all employees are in the right jobs - i.e., that their talents are appropriate for the work they must do. Few things are more miserable than doing a job for which one is not a good fit.
- Hold every manager accountable for helping employees become fully successful.