Getting the right people is clearly a major part of the process, but unless you have a positive environment for them to come to, they are
‘Not every company can afford the posh surroundings of the blue- chips. Does that mean people won't stay?'
Absolutely not. There are some exceptionally smart workplaces out there that do not have great company culture and that lose people on a regular basis. Make the very best of what you have, and ensure that the environment is appropriate, so that colleagues are comfortable doing their work. You can more than make up for the glitz through strong relationships and respect.
Complete a thorough assessment of the physical working environment:
Do people have enough space for their work? If they are cramped, is there a way to reorganise that will make better use of the space available? If not, put the issue of office space on the
Is the office warm in winter and cool in summer? Is there natural light and air in the room?
Do the chairs provide a good seating position, with desks at the right height?
Is there a comfortable room for people to go to on their break, with access to hot drinks and water?
Is the building clean and well cared for?
If you have funds to make improvements in the environment, ask your people the following questions:
How do you rate the work environment at present? What is good about it? What does not work well?
Given that we have a limited resource for change, what are the features that would make the most difference to your working day?
Once you have clear feedback, consider the following:
Set up a colleague working party to address the changes. Encouraging colleagues to be part of the process will ensure that you make the best use of the funds available.
Give the working party a float to
Ensure that you have a clear communication process for changes you choose to put in place: regular meetings to give information about changes planned; question-and-answer facilities on both sides to determine the best way forward; suggestions boxes for ideas to add to your management discussions.
The more you include people in decisions about their daily working environment, the more likely you are to make a significant difference.
For those on ordinary salary, it is true that not every great company pays brilliantly, but what is really important is that they are fair. It is a dreadful feeling to be taken advantage of, and no one works well under those conditions. This is true on all levels, but money is often the
You should also set this against those companies that pay really well and yet have negative people cultures. No amount of money will make up for the loss of self-esteem caused by working with an inept or neglectful manager. The worst thing about this is that when the money is very good, it is hard to leave. Life expands to spend the money available and it is hard to imagine cutting back for the sake of happiness - fear and uncertainty play all sorts of tricks, resulting in ‘golden handcuffs' and depression.
In that context, the slightly lower income earned by Asda shop assistants is less important, compared to the
Provision of benefits is another way for companies to show their respect and concern for colleagues. More than just a way of
‘This sounds expensive! Not every company has that much money to spend.'
First, get your priorities right. Ensure that you offer the best benefits package possible with regard to pension, health care, maternity/paternity leave, etc. This is one differentiator for new recruits - they want to know they will be well
Benchmark yourself against other companies. You can find some information on
If you do not work in the HR department, write down your findings and present a case for re-evaluating the company package.
Second, look at the local possibilities that can be leveraged. Remember that you have a captive audience and that other businesses may be interested in serving your people.
Ask local dry-cleaners if they will collect and deliver.
Allow time for people to order their
Speak to the local bank to see if it will provide an ATM machine. If its own business will benefit, it may cost the company little while providing a service for colleagues.
Third, look through the
supplement for the
100 Best Companies to Work For
or look on the
website and see if there are any good ideas you can
dress-down day once a week
set up a social committee to plan regular events
install a machine that makes really good coffee
bring together all the pregnant parents and ask the local midwife to come and talk to them
provide a birthday cake on the
Speak to people to find out what they would like to do. You do not have to read their minds - just ask.
More women want to
Where funds allow, companies provide childcare on the premises - a big attraction to working mums. If that is too expensive an option, it is still possible to make links with local childcare providers and oil the wheels of getting care organised. Also be aware that childcare may go wrong and that
The levels of trust inherent in great company culture mean that the essence of flexible working will have been in place for a long time and it does not need the government to tell the company it is the right thing to do. When you trust a person, you know that they will get a job done, so you adjust the timing to suit their needs. Some places have also found this to be a business advantage, enabling them to give the customer greater flexibility. Life is made considerably easier by adjusting time, providing childcare on or near the premises, and having an understanding boss who