Becoming the Best Place to Work
By: Gregory P. Smith
Greg Smith's cutting-edge keynotes, consulting, and training programs have helped businesses reduce turnover, increase sales, hire superior people, and deliver better customer service. As President and founder of Chart Your Course International, He has implemented professional development programs for thousands of organizations globally. Greg has authored eight informative books including Here Today, Here Tomorrow: Transforming Your Workforce from High Turnover to High Retention and 401 Proven Ways to Retain Your Best Employees. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information, visit www.ChartCourse.com or call (770) 860-9464.
The United States has changed more dramatically during the past two years than the previous 20 years combined. A falling stock market, terrorist attacks, and subsequent war in Afghanistan, not to mention the Enron and Arthur Anderson scandal, have redefined our mental landscape regarding how we play, live, worship, and work. Because of these sweeping changes, the expectations and demands of the workforce are overwhelmingly different. The workplace of today must put high priority on human resources. Businesses can make their organization the best place to work by following the five-step PRIDE model:
Provide a positive working environment
Recognize, reinforce, and reward each individual's efforts
Develop the potential of your workforce
Evaluate and measure continuously
Provide a Positive Working
Creating and managing a good organization takes an entirely different approach.
Indeed, one-third of the executives surveyed by Robert Half International
Inc. now say the work environment is the most critical factor in keeping
an employee satisfied in today's business world.
A key aspect is workplace flexibility. First Tennessee National Corporation
started taking family issues seriously, and made them top priority. They
reshaped the rules they had forced employees to live under, added many
family-friendly new benefits, and sent managers through three and one-half
days of training. Result--Employees stayed twice as long-and the bank kept
seven percent more of its customers.
Recognize, Reinforce, and Reward
Each Individual's Efforts
Money may attract people to the front door, but something else has to keep
them from going out the back. People have a basic human need to feel appreciated,
and recognition programs help meet that need.
A successful reward and recognition program does not have to be complicated
to be effective. An equipment dealership in Louisville, Kentucky has almost
eliminated turnover by their programs. The employees participate in a profit-sharing
plan that could possibly mean $700,000 upon retirement. Other incentives
and benefits they provide include:
- Every year employees celebrate their work anniversary with a cake and receive
$100.00 for each year employed made out in a check to the Snap-On Tool
- Twice a year employees' children receive a $50 savings bond when they bring
in their "all A's" report card.
- They reward employees with a "Safety Bonus Program." Each
employee's driving record is screened twice a year. Anyone who has
a citation is removed from the program. Those employees remaining
at the end of the year split $2000.00.
- To minimize the "we-they" syndrome, every Friday employees rotate
jobs for one hour. For example, the person in the Parts Department
becomes a service technician. This builds a stronger team, and improves
communication within the company.
Exceptional organizations involve the ideas and suggestions of everyone.
The Sony Corporation is well known for its ability to create and manufacture
new and innovative products. In order to foster the exchange of ideas within
departments, Sony's Corporate Research sponsors an annual Idea Exposition.
During the exposition, scientists and engineers display projects and ideas
they are working on. Open only to Sony's employees, the exposition
lets individuals share ideas otherwise protected by departmental walls.
This process creates a healthy climate of innovation and creativity at
all levels of the organization.
Develop the Potential of Your
For many people, learning new skills is just as important as the money
they make. In a study by Linkage, Inc. more than 40 percent of the respondents
said they would consider leaving their present employer for another job
with the same benefits if that job provided better career development and
greater challenges. The National Center on the Educational Quality of the
Workforce (EQW) found on an average, a 10 percent increase in workforce
education level led to an 8.6 percent gain in total productivity. On the
other hand a 10 percent increase in the value of equipment only increased
productivity 3.4 percent.
Someone said, "If you don't know where you are going, any road will
lead you there." That advice did not work for the Titanic, nor will
it work for the business world. Evaluation and measurement must surpass
normal accounting procedures like profit and loss, but include measuring
turnover, customer satisfaction, employee attitudes, and management effectiveness.
La Rosa's Pizza Company completes a cultural audit once a year, which measures
employee's feelings about pay and benefits, care and recognition, etc.
Additionally, all employees evaluate their bosses twice a year using an
Internal Customer Satisfaction Index. (ICSI) The ICSI has only four
questions, and asks the employees to give their managers a letter grade
from A to D in four different categories.