This DATIS Blog article was written from the presentation, Being an Employer of Choice, by Eileen Durkin, President and CEO, C4, and Cheryl Croll, VP of Human Resources, C4. Please view the slides or watch the presentation and make sure to read the blog, Keys to Becoming an Employer of Choice, also based on the C4 webinar.
We have all listened with envy to the features and benefits of some of todays most famous and coveted top workplaces. From nap rooms and tennis courts on the Google Campus to small start-ups with trendy digs, beanbag chairs, and video games, it can be hard for the “traditional” workplaces to attract and retain top talent. However, recently the more “traditional” organizations are nabbing the spots on the lists of top workplaces and proving that it is corporate culture, not commodities, that cultivates a first-class work environment.
“A great place to work is one in which you trust the people you work for, have pride in what you do and enjoy the people you work with”- Robert Levering, Co Founder, Great Place to Work.
Even non-profits, a group often plagued with high turnover, have begun topping the list of best workplaces. For example, Community Counseling Center of Chicago, or C4, has created a workplace environment that is filling their shelves with awards. This non-profit organization that focuses on providing mental health services, has beaten out large, for-profit institutions to be named one of the Top Workplaces and earned a slot on the Chicago and National list of Best and Brightest Companies to Work for in both 2012 and 2013.
CEO of C4, Eileen Durkin, outlined 6 steps for aspiring organizations to become an employer of choice for today’s workforce.
1. Build a Culture That’s Respectful and Fair
Trust is critical in the relationship with management and employees. Managers need to have credibility, be perceived as fair, and be respected. When organizations focus on building trust and respect in their internal relationships, they create an open environment that provides employees with support and guidance when faced with challenges at work.
2. Model Behavior from the Top Down
The executive team should consistently express gratitude for hard work in both small and large ways. For example, a small thank you card, or recognition at an All-Staff meeting. They also need to be inclusive and collaborate with employees on decisions. In this way, employees feel more respected and invested in projects, rather than simply carrying out orders.
3. Support Open Communication
Executives understand that every perspective matters. Honest and open communication should be encouraged when delivered in a respectful and polite way. Use an “open door” policy so that staff feels comfortable approaching peers and managers. Also, regular staff surveys distributed by an external company will enable employees to feel comfortable providing honest feedback with guaranteed anonymity.
4. Encourage Innovation and Support Staff in A Changing Environment
Recognize that the processes you used two years ago are not enough in todays changing environment. The tools for organizational management, especially human capital management are changing and leadership needs to encourage their organization to embrace innovative processes. Support your staff through the change by empowering employees with the tools they need to succeed and holding constant the good things like respect and communication.
5. Adapt Quickly to New Opportunities
Adaptability is key for organizations looking to innovate and grow their success. When new opportunities arrive, try not to view them as overwhelming and time consuming. Learn to view new opportunities as a chance to challenge your staff to grow as employees and gain new competencies.
6. Adopt Processes for Continuous Improvement
With rapid technological advances business processes are constantly evolving. Innovation at your organization cannot be viewed as a one-time event; it should always be an ongoing initiative. To stay at the front of the pack, adopt processes for continuous improvement at your workplace. Use working committees to review and analyze possible improvements to your systems. Make sure to engage end users in technology decisions so that when systems are improved they directly align with critical needs across departments.