- 03 July 2018
“You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”
A great workplace, to paraphrase Woodrow Wilson, is one where employees work not merely to make a living but also to enrich the world by creating better products, delivering superior service and giving back to society. As a result, they not only satisfy different stakeholders, but create an emotional attachment with them.
What are the characteristics of a great workplace?
- Great workplaces have associates (vis-a-vis ‘employees’) and they make sure that everybody understands the difference.
- Associates are raring to go to work every morning and are deeply engaged in what they do.
- A great workplace has a clear and compelling vision, and a strong sense of purpose, with the result that associates are galvanized to go beyond their job descriptions.
- They are values-driven and believe that values are the key determinant of success. Consequently, they invest time and resources in reinforcing core values, with the objective of creating an enabling environment for associates to ‘live’ these values at work. In addition, a high degree of trust pervades through the organization. Other fundamental values like mutual respect, fairness and transparency are manifest in the actions and words of associates. Leaders role-model the behaviors related to core values and take prompt corrective action towards deviant behavior. Systems and processes are aligned to these values and behaviors, which, with the passage of time become the culture and fabric of the organisation.
- Great workplaces are usually ‘Associate First’. Holistic professional growth and a sense of family at the workplace are a given. Consequently, associates tend to exhibit fiduciary behaviors and go the extra mile to achieve organisational goals.
- Associates take immense pride in the organization and act like ambassadors when they interact with other stakeholders and the world at large.
- Great workplaces are boundaryless. In other words, there are no horizontal/invisible boundaries at a great workplace; in other words, there is no inter-departmental hierarchy which tends to impede communication. Boundary-spanning is a norm. Constant communication across levels and departments leads to better alignment with the vision, mission and goals of the organisation.
Who is responsible for creating a great workplace? Leadership is an obvious answer and one that comes first to mind. While leadership certainly shapes organisational culture and ethos, the fact is that great workplaces are an outcome of behaviors, values and best practices as demonstrated by all associates, including leadership!