What makes a company great in the eyes of its employees?
That’s an open-ended question if ever there was one. The answers to this are almost endless and will depend on who you’re asking. But, if it were possible to answer this question in one concise sentence, it would be that great companies to work for know how to keep employees engaged.
Employee engagement is huge for company success. It’s estimated that only 34% of the United States workforce feels engaged, and this costs $7 trillion in lost productivity.
Here are a few ways that great companies value their employees and treat them with respect. Follow these, and you’ll be the next company where everyone wants to work.
Pay them what they’re worth.
Most people aren’t independently wealthy, so they work to live. Great companies to work for know the importance of paying a living wage and compensating employees for the value they bring to the team.
When employees are underpaid, they could see it as synonymous with being undervalued. These effects will reflect in their feelings about the company, but they’re also more far-reaching. For example, low wages are attributed to higher personal stress and more illness, both of which can directly impact performance.
Great companies know that well-paid employees are an asset, not a financial liability.
Offer opportunities for growth.
Great companies provide a continual stream of opportunities for their teams to learn, develop and grow in multiple areas. There’s a focus on mentoring team members to always reach for their personal best while taking advantage of teachable moments along the way.
Why is it so important for the employer to take the initiative here? Because if you aren’t constantly raising the bar of expectations and giving your team the tools to reach it, you’re going to end up stagnant with a team that’s always wondering if there’s something better, and more rewarding, out there.
Value employee input.
Many companies say they value employee input, but few show it. Great companies encourage input and really listen.
Smart companies use the review process to keep the doors of communication open. During reviews, when an employee is given feedback on their performance, they, in turn, should also be able to provide feedback on the company and the experience working there.
Smart companies also know to take criticism in stride and never let an employee feel that there could be negative repercussions for constructive feedback.
Give team members a stake in the company.
Here’s the thing. Employees are paid to perform a job, and they might be doing great at the job they were hired to do. But, why should they invest extra energy when they don’t see a payout?
This is why great companies let their team members have a stake in their success. Think along the lines of quarterly performance bonuses, stock options or profit sharing. Employees who feel invested in their company are more likely to amp up their level of performance. Money is a great incentive to excel, and it tells them how much they’re valued.
Ensure everyone’s time is valued.
A mistake that some companies make is thinking that unless you’re sitting in a corner office, your time isn’t that valuable. The truth is that every member of your team deserves to have their time respected.
Team members should be given time daily, or weekly, to work on tasks at their discretion. This might mean catching up on that long-term project they’ve been falling behind on, cleaning or organizing their workspace or another area that they’re responsible for, or maybe visiting your company’s professional library and polishing up their skills.
Giving employees a little freedom tells them that you trust them to use their time wisely and productively, and that translates to respect.
Let them do it their way.
If you’re the micromanaging type, this might be difficult because it involves letting go of some control. But, you hired these people because you trust and respect their talent. Why not show them by giving them the freedom to try doing things their way?
For example, an employee who encounters an unsatisfied customer can use their own discretion to turn the experience around, rather than following a one-size-fits-all protocol.
Top companies to work for know that diversity and innovation are what make them great. Not allowing your team to perform their jobs the best way they know how will only stifle their creativity and talent, which is a negative for everyone.
Recognize great work.
This one should go without saying, but it’s crucial to include it anyway. Great companies don’t wait for review time to praise a team member on their accomplishments. If you only tell them they’re doing a great job once or twice a year, how are your employees going to know when they’re succeeding?
There are plenty of ways to recognize talent and hard work. Some companies use an employee of the week/month program, but sometimes a personal acknowledgment works best. A pat on the back and a thank you is worth just as much, if not more, than their name on the wall.
Ensure employees feel safe and protected.
Companies that people want to work for risk nothing in terms of employee safety and protection. This means safe work environments and surroundings that feel comfortable to be in.
For office-type jobs, this might mean desk chairs that reduce back strain and flooring that’s free of snags in the carpet. Additionally, the company's leaders think about the emotional comfort of their employees. They provide comfortable spaces to take breaks that include amenities that fit within their budget, along with comfortable private spaces for nursing mothers or even team members who want to have private conversations with each other.
Being a great company to work for is about respecting and valuing your team as people. It’s understanding the value of seeing each team member as being an equal partner in building success for your business. Great companies know how to achieve great things.