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  • Writer's pictureRahul Guha

7 attributes to determine a “Great Place to Work”

The elementary search we do while exploring job opportunities is to identify fabulous employers, dream companies, that I referred to here as a Great Place to Work, irrespective of them securing a tag from accreditation agency to boost the image. A common notion is a Dream Company that nurtures aspiring careers. We all crave to be there, but the cardinal question remains, how to find one?

Many of those who claimed to be a Great Company lost their identity in due course, as it never ingrained the principles that make them great. The substance is typically rooted in the culture and foresight of the organization, as those remain immaculate before adverse business performances. During this trying time of the pandemic, many lost businesses, employees, and confidence, some stood firm, they never sacrificed their principles while doing business even in a difficult situation.

No amount of publicity makes a company Great Places to Work unless those reflect their intent over time by drilling down the processes that worth best practices, claimed through trust & faith of their employees. It is gaining more relevance as a growing number of millennials are taking over the workplace.

I have pondered over several versions of experts, as they defined a great place to work. Employee policies that address the basics like employee loyalty, benefits, job security, and fair pay, etc determine the market image of the corporation that takes time to build. All these have evolved with time, we have sequenced it in terms of importance to make the organization look more employee-friendly and attract talents. Companies with heavy attrition tried innovative practices, not to encourage growth but more to entice the employee to continue in employment. So, what makes an organization fit to be called a great place to work?

The exuberance of the talent to remain with the dream company depends on how well the person is treated. During exploration, the candidate finds it mostly from the feedback that the market provides. Impressive feedbacks over time build the credibility and talent then decides to pick the offer. Companies have experimented enough with unique policies like Period Leaves, Paternity Leave, Paid Off to encourage passion, and recently WFH Reimbursement against white goods. An aspiring candidate may enquire about HR Policies to evaluate how much these policies are implemented and availed besides being shiny objects. If its purpose is to bring in all-around well-being that helps an employee to find the desired career, the policy will leave a definite lasting impression. Most of the Great Companies do implement policies that impress overall progress in the life & career journey of the employees.

Another angle to consider before I elaborate on 7 attributes of Great Place to Work. The entrepreneurial mindset is very much gripping nowadays, the purpose of employment is learning not just earning. People are keener to have holistic gains in all respect of Health, Wealth, and happiness. Therefore, the point is how much a company stands out and remain relevant with these policies, communications, and actions. Population size does not matter, in-fact new-age start-ups with a small workforce have policies closure to the expectation of careerists. What culminates into continual learning, steady growth and flexibility will stand out in the market to attract the best talents. Companies that add value made it possible for employees to derive a sense of meaning from their work, and impacted lives to continue with them. These seven elements will give you the content-driven from my thoughts enumerated above, to find your dream company:

1) Define work processes in form of projects. Projects are of shorter and longer duration. Short projects with execution span from a month to a year, derives quicker result. Positive results are an elixir for the forward journey. Companies that adopt this workflow mostly succeed in the longer run. During my recent interaction with some fresh management graduates, my conviction on this idea has doubled. Do find a company that curves out the project from their routine processes. One needs to add a new flair with elements & values that may turn those mundane activities exciting, call it a project. I remember a gentleman in my office warmed up his skills on Power BI and started creating remarkable reports for monthly payroll data. We could visualize the trends and take decisions to improve that makes a project. Spread this practice and invite more people to adopt such new tools to enhance effectiveness. You will find unique flares from employees who were otherwise shrouded in routine deliveries.

People get encouraged if they are offered opportunities for strategic and creative thinking. Projects involve multiple minds that help to crack new ideas and boost learning. Converse with employees to find out how much the company believes in adopting project-based work processes, you might land up to your dream company.

2) People expect to be treated with Care and Respect. This topic is overtly analysed for a long and I expect all of us to have a conception of what makes these real to you. Every Employee Engagement Survey will include questions that try to gauge the depth and breadth of employee perception on Care & Respect. Many falling short of innovating techniques to earn employee contentment from these two elements. I am sure those who find means, make ways to a great place to work.

One needs to find stories that portray care and respect for employees. Social media, LinkedIn, Officenewz, etc. carry such stories. and Most of the time, we get hooked with the announcement of some awards or a unique policy to anticipate how sensitive the company is towards caring and respecting employees. The buck does not stop there. The deeper the truth lies with the extend those policies are embraced and regarded. Announcements are like old newspapers, unless those policies are practiced by all leaders and managers, it never gets momentum.

Leaders at any level are accountable for treating employees with respect and care. CXO reports should review the occurrences, a company should allocate special funds to address emergencies and people should build trust that their leader stands with them, no matter what happens, that brings the change. It is critical to understand the intensity of desire that the company implements the policies. Employee reactions and reviews in social media are enough reflection of this trait to determine as a dream company.

3) An entrepreneurial mindset flares the best under autonomy. Great companies promote entrepreneurship intending to give rise to homegrown talents. Growth brings in multiple challenges, one that takes maximum energy is to fix the right talent in the apt position. A wrong choice may jeopardize the mission. Cultivating talents are the best options as the genes & culture of the company are instilled in those leaders as they find a promising career in it. There are many ways to nurture those talents, I have picked up autonomy here. If you are looking for a dream job, this element brings maximum sense to you. Let me explain what I mean by autonomy, there are multiple avenues to reach the outcome, autonomy will play the role in the path while target & measurability remain constant. Great Companies treat employees as grown-ups by giving them as much autonomy as possible to choose the way they want to work. One should take the pain to explain the work in greater detail and review periodically without interruptions. People become more accountable towards the task and never wish to fail.

Most of the giants who have succeeded in scaling the organization manifold in just a few years, practice autonomy. I have spoken earlier about the great companies turn workflow into a project. The ownership of delivering the outcome in the shortest timeline will remain with the project team and the decision of using tools, techniques, and utilization of skill will be the autonomous decision of the leader. Find a company that believes in autonomy and allows individuals to flourish in a distinct career path in an environment that encourages autonomy.

4) Train MIND that offers holistic growth: Mostly managers churn ideas on training topics for their employees when the timeline for annual training calendar creation and the budget is around the corner. Generic understanding drives them to find skill-based training to ensure employee delivers perfectly in less time or a seller cracks a deal in the right fashion. Great companies nurture different thoughts. I have dealt with the concept of entrepreneur employee in my earlier point. Their training addresses overall growth that requires an explosive mind with the abilities to visualize success & learn from failure. Skill-based training is one-way traffic that enables employees to build abilities. Companies that align training with the overall development of mind & soul most successfully cultivate homegrown talents that sustain failures.

The businesses that are inspired with bigger goals, call it BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals). These are not easily achieved one needs to think exponentially, ignite the winning mindset that fuels confidence to accede to the unexpected result. Companies that invest in training and offer opportunities to careerist employees certainly fall into the category of Great Place to Work. You may find these traits in companies are into product research and service innovations more often.

5) Charity is a top goal. You may find some organizations share impressive stories of their ventures with charity. Charity needs a certain mindset, irrespective of how much profit one makes, benevolence certainly triggers greatness. You must have experienced successful business leaders, millionaires, top coaches univocally put charity as a success habit for individuals and Companies.

The crux remains with care. How much one cares about the environment and communities and align actions to make it a better living space, regardless of earning. When you search for this particular attribute, look beyond CSR policy, Charity must be engrained into the company's genes and culture. Do employees take an active part. How initiatives helped improve the community or environment effectively is an important point to decide whether it is a great place to work. Experience is important than slogans. You may find information n such charity ventures & employee engagements from the company website and news.

6) Appreciations have greater value than money. How would you feel if you are appreciated by your superiors and colleagues? Appreciations ignite positive energy and encourage forward action. You need to find this attribute in your dream company. One may agree, most of the time we fall short of appreciation, today I realize that more often than the time I was in my chair at corporate. Genuine applaud even for achieving an insignificant milestone lightens soul. Most of these small successes are guarded against the limelight and taken for granted as these remain with managers who are away from the culture of praise. Great work cultures encourage praising employees even with small achievements without concerns of impact.

You may equate your career with increments and promotions. Must have experienced in your profession, frustration and disappointment, when a long wait fails to elicit desired results in terms of increment & promotion. Understand a fact that promotions and increments are not matters of right. Applaud, heartfelt appreciation, and celebration of success everyone deserves. This an important attribute for the organization you intend to associate your career with.

7) Profit Share a mean to belongingness: It is another policy that aligns employees more with the organization. It gives a perfect sense to be with the success party, this extra money rejuvenates the mind when one dedicates for a project for a whole year just to derive result for the company. The companies that believe that success is a collective outcome of the team are more open to sharing profits. I am not specific here about monitory incentives, the sharing may be in a way of giving a minuscule portion of share in the company otherwise called Employee Stock Option or an unconditional free trip to exotic destinations, etc.

Companies that chase bigger targets keep employees focused and engaged to ensure success. If ever employees get perturbed with failures, they are encouraged to put double efforts to make it to the target as they take equal ownership of business processes. Profit share is a brighter option to keep employees motivated, in your search identify how your dream compan makes ways to inculcate belongingness through profit share.

These seven attributes do not complete the list but indicate enough to put Great Companies apart from others in the market. Undoubtedly picking role, designation & incremented compensation are driving factors while accepting a new job. The continuity and flourish in your career will certainly depend on the organization you are getting into. A company in the true sense a great place to work will built your life and career. I found many with a fat pay package and position remain unhappy as they miss contentment, learning, and belongingness, the job boils down to a mere responsibility that is tough to shrug off.

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