Is Your Company Fun to Work For?

Posted on: June 4th, 2013

google1It’s a buyer’s market when it comes to recruiting here at the beginning of the second decade of the twenty-first century. Hiring standards are going up and companies typically have their pick of candidates to fill each and every position. Many are taking advantage of this to “stack the deck” with well pedigreed and degreed employees that their competition may not have. Imagine a bank that boasts an office full of loan officers with finance degrees. You get the idea. But, that is still only one side of the coin. There are some questions that HR departments should be asking about their companies eco system that may effect how long these new hires stay once the purse strings loosen up a bit and new opportunities arise.

What Makes it Great?

More and more people are looking for work that makes their life more meaningful and a big part of that is their work relationships. When you look at your company, is it the type of place that people walk into smiling, or grudgingly? The more people feel fulfilled in their work, the less likely they are to leave. It also has other implications. CNN Money publishes an annual review of the top 100 companies to work for.

So, what makes them great to work for? It’s not all free daycare and water slides in the office. In some cases, such as Boston Consulting Group, 2011′s number two pick, it is social consciousness.  They offer charitable opportunities to their employees, and make it such a priority that they pulled consultants off of client projects to go to Haiti to aid in disaster relief. The number three company on this list is a grocery store chain, so there may be hope for you yet.

Places to Start

Many of these companies boast employee created job benefits, such as the ability to assign small bonuses to other employees they feel are doing a great job (Google) and health programs that go way beyond insurance, and cost almost nothing, such as rewards programs for competitive health improvement challenges (Wegman’s market)

For small companies, it could be as simple as making lunch time and breaks more friendly by installing a ping pong table or basketball goal. Look for company policies that might be relaxed without sacrificing safety, efficiency, or customer service. If conflicts arise constantly over certain issues that are company preferences, rather than industry demanded elements, consider starting there.

Questions to Ask

Companies that ask their employees what they want in their work place are likely to implement plans that matter to them, rather than assuming what their employees want. Start by sharing what resources the company may have to make things better, then ask for ideas that benefit everyone, or large groups, that fit within the means of the company. People can be surprisingly creative and thoughtful when they believe their ideas will be heard and might make a difference.

Some companies report that open dialog, rather than private surveys is a better way of discussing these ideas. It allows people to see each others needs more readily, and often they will even vote in favor of a perk that is better for someone else than themselves, once they understand the value. Most importantly, keep in mind that the whole aim of this exercise is to make the work place less stressful, more inviting, and a part of their lives that they don’t want to forget the moment they walk out each day.

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