What response would you get if you asked employees how it feels to work at your organization? “Not bad” or “depends on the day” might be among the answers. Humanergy recently asked its employees what they thought, and their unanimous response was, “This is a great place to work!”
Okay, we are a very small business. We don’t have hundreds of employees. Maybe you’re thinking, the more employees, the more likely you’ll have disgruntled ones. Maybe.
We think that building and nurturing a great place to work can be a reality, no matter what the size of the organization. We cultivate our positive work environment through four fundamentals:
Be transparent. We say this a lot, and it bears repeating. We value and practice open communication. As a team, we share everything from financial data to vacation stories. We share personal struggles and work challenges. When good things happen, we celebrate together. One employee noted in our recent survey, “I know I can speak frankly with my team and they can speak frankly with me.” Another said, “[Open and honest communication] takes work and is a conscious choice.”
Share the same big picture. We have a set of goals called our TrueSuccess. One of these goals is to make a real difference in the world. Rather than being lofty and unrealistic, the aspiration to make a difference keeps us grounded on what is really important. We approach each phone call, coaching session, email and meeting with the right attitude. We walk away from each encounter asking, “Did I do my best to make a positive impact on that person? What could I do better next time?”
Think and act like owners. We’ve evolved from a two-person partnership to a group of people who make decisions that are in the best interests of our clients and the company. The owners consistently encourage all employees to “think and act like owners.” They’re not just saying the words. They know that each person’s actions do impact the organization’s outcomes. All employees are empowered to seek input as needed and make decisions that are supportive of the greater good. Goodbye, bureaucratic minutia! Hello, great decisions!
Make good stuff better. Feedback, feedback, feedback. Our success is built on improving as individuals and as an organization. We give immediate feedback and resolve conflicts right away. We use a “24-hour” rule, which means that issues need to be communicated directly to the person within 24 hours. This minimizes distraction, resolves issues and allows everyone to move forward. We regularly acknowledge successes, growth and performance gaps. One Humanergy employee noted in the survey, “We have high standards of performance because our clients have high expectations.”
Oddly enough, we don’t talk a lot about issues of morale and organizational climate. Maybe Dwight Eisenhower was right when he said, “The best morale exists when you never hear the word mentioned.” We focus on the fundamentals, and periodically seek formal feedback on how we’re doing.
Ready to make your organization a great place to work? Start by finding out what your people think now. One low-cost resource is surveymonkey.com, but there are lots of user-friendly options for surveying staff. Want tips for where to begin? Just email Humanergy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a question or want some input from Humanergy about this topic? Contact us and we’ll get right back to you!