6 Areas Managers Can Focus On To Ensure Their Workplace is A Great One
It’s 9 am and desks are lined throughout the room. The room is full of workers. The phones are ringing. The conference room is full of employees for a weekly meeting. Interns run around, providing coffee and doing errands. This may be how a person first imagines a workplace; however, this described place is one of the past. An office no longer has a specific feel. A workplace is now a unique place defined by a company’s manager and employee. There are many aspects of a workplace that make each company unique. There are aspects of a workplace that will draw people to come and join. So as future employees look at your workplace, what sets it apart? What makes it a place that people are drawn to? What makes it a place that people want to join?
Managers Enable Employees in the Workplace
The secret to a great workplace is employees and managers collaborating to create a place that enables and inspires all workers despite their work titles. Managers should allow employees to create a workplace culture that they enjoy and allows everyone to do their best work. The role of a manager ultimately is to unlock the potential of the employee. Managers need to bring out the best of the employee and to build a situation where the employee is the absolute best version of themselves. This requires the manager to understand the needs of the organization thoroughly. A manager then needs to know who the employee is, have that employee in the best role for their personality type and the company needs, and help facilitate the working conditions for the employee to thrive. When a manager understands the company and every employee so individually within the manager’s team, there will be a powerful impact.
In a survey conducted by SpeakAp, 79% of American workers claimed that company culture was influential in job satisfaction and that 57% of the workers surveyed continued to say they would take a job at a competitor’s company if they felt that company had a better company culture. Additionally, in a survey conducted by Recruit Loop, only about 50% of managers surveyed acknowledged that the corporate culture contributes to the success of the corporation and the happiness of the employees. When a company has the right workplace culture, employees increase productivity and creativeness. Additionally, revenues increase, and the business grows. With almost 8/10 American workers understanding the importance of workplace culture but only 5/10 managers acknowledging its importance, there needs to be an increase of understanding on the managers to enable their employees to create a workplace that they not only enjoy but thrive in.
What are the essential things a manager can do to enable their employees to not only define a workplace but also to grow, develop, and excel? Companies can ensure their workplace is up-to-date with the current needs and trends of the workforce by researching university studies and surveys, consulting experts and professionals, and meeting with committees. After conducting our research and consulting with experts, we propose 6 areas that managers can focus on to guarantee their workplace is a great one.
One: Trust and Integrity
One of the most important aspects of a workplace is employees being able to trust their employers and coworkers. Unfortunately, only 46% of workers have “a great deal of trust in their bosses,” according to a survey published by Harvard Business Review. In comparison, 15% of employees reported “very little or no trust at all” within their workplaces. An essential part of trust comes from feeling respected by leaders. Trust also comes from being honest in work and when communicating with coworkers.
We have found 3 surefire ways to jumpstart trust in a relationship.
- Trust is built through action, not words. As you provide the vision and the “why” for employees, empower them to contribute to that vision. Where trust is given, trust is received.
- Know your employees. If you are not building a connection with your employees, there is very little chance they will support you as a leader. Show them you care, and they will want to get to know you better – you’ll become a human and someone they trust in their eyes.
- Transparency can be scary for a manager, but it’s the surest way to show your employees that you value them, that you trust them, and that you believe they should be trusted with a deeper knowledge of what’s going on in the company.
When trust is not within a workplace, a company can quickly deteriorate a workplace culture and its success. A study conducted by Yann Algan discovered that there is a direct relationship between the level of trust and economic prosperity. The study looked at various countries and sub-parts of countries and determined that “generalized trust and trustworthiness appear as the keystone for successful economic development.” Why is trust so critical to economic growth? Trust is crucial in economic growth and prosperity because “virtually every commercial transaction has within itself an element of trust, certainly any transaction conducted over a period of time.” We would take this conclusion further in saying that trust is not only vital to economic growth, but also for the growth and prosperity of the backbone of economic growth, the company. Relationships between an employee and their manager are the purest part of a company’s success. They, therefore, require mutual trust for the team and the company to flourish.
Two: Respect, Fairness, and Equality
Trust comes as employees feel respected. Trust is reciprocated when people think they are being treated with fairness and equality. In the 21st century, there is no longer a place for prejudice in the workplace. All employees deserve to be treated with the highest level of respect and concern. All employees need to feel as though their work is valuable and essential. It is found that “employees who feel their superiors treat them with respect are 63% more satisfied with their jobs.” (Harvard Business Review). As Gen Z becomes the next rising generation, respect and equality are two of the most critical factors that would “influence their trust in their employer.” Employees need to make sure they are doing everything they can on their own, and managers need to do this as well. When a manager and employee both realize that success is not possible without each of them, then respect and equality can exist in their respective roles.
Within companies, managers need to set expectations for their employees while treating them with equality and respect. Workers who feel that “their company provides equal opportunities are almost four times more likely to be proud to work for their company” (Salesforce). Not only does a safe workplace enable employees to do their best, it raises revenues. Continually in a study about why equality and diversity are essential to businesses, especially small businesses, the research found that, “gender-diverse companies are 15 percent more likely to financially out-perform their peers. Similarly, ethnically diverse companies are 35 percent more likely to do the same.”
Creating a space of respect, fairness, and equality starts with the hiring process, but it continues much after an employee is hired. To ensure a workplace is full of respect and integrity, workers and managers especially need to understand the importance of allowing everyone to have a voice and the dangers of unconscious bias. By doing this, employees will feel “4.8x more empowered to do their best work”. Employees feel more proud of their company, which creates company loyalty when these essential attributes are found in the workplace, but employees will perform better as well.
As workplace cultures are created, the entire company and individual departments must work as a team. Recently, the 2020 pandemic concerning the outbreak of COVID-19 has disrupted workplaces as we knew them and sent thousands, if not millions, of workers home, away from their comfortable workplace environment and distant from their teammates. Remote work has created an unintentional distance within work environments. This distance extends past just physical distances as employees can lose connection with coworkers and feel removed from their workplace.
Every successful team has a fantastic coach leading them. Managers have an essential responsibility to shorten the gap within their own companies. A few ways to build a team include: communicating company goals, providing weekly meetings, creating ways to connect virtually, and checking in on employees beyond just work-related tasks. Especially as work is remote, this is very important to workplaces. As companies begin transitioning back to the office or a hybrid version of in-office and working from home, these norms remain the same. Each employee needs to feel as if they are a part of a team with an excellent leader, showing them the way.
Four: Clear Goals
For teamwork to be a part of a workplace culture, clear goals and direction is essential so that employees can collaborate and be unified. With a lack of weekly, quarterly, and other fundamental company goals, employees lose the vision. Managers need to vocalize their company’s goals and continue to check in on employees to make sure these visions and objectives are understood and accomplished. Setting clear goals starts while hiring. O.C. Tanner published that “60% of employers don’t set clear goals for new hires in their first year.” When employees don’t have a clear vision from the beginning, it becomes difficult to establish those goals after they have been hired and on-boarded.
Employees need to feel that their work is meaningful and engaging. Fortunately, “the percentage of workers who are passionate about their job and feel committed to their work and their workplace is actually at an all-time high.” Since 2000, this has been on the rise. Currently, about “34% of US employees” feel that they are “engaged at work” according to a news report by Gallup. Though this number seems low, almost 8 million employees have become more engaged in their work over the past 20 years. Among those, 34% of employees, 91% report “being satisfied with their professional development opportunities” and are extremely less likely to leave their workplace and job.
Six: Empathy and Open Communication
Finally, an important aspect that needs to be found in a workplace is empathy and open communication. This can no longer be the responsibility of just HR and sets a good workplace environment apart from a great one. According to Forbe’s employee retention statistics, “96% of employees believe showing empathy is an important way of improving employee retention.” Employees can not feel respected or engaged when empathy within a company is not shown. Though empathy is generally accepted as an essential element of a great workplace, only “50% of employees say their CEO is empathetic”.
To have empathy for employees, open communication is necessary. While checking in on company goals and progress is essential, it is even more crucial to check in on the person and not just always focus on the work. “86% of both employees and executives cite a lack of collaboration and ineffective communication as the main reason for workplace failures” (Zippia). By understanding where an employee is coming from, more trust, respect, and engagement is created. Less problems and conflicts are generated. Communication allows for a more effective way of solving these conflicts and moving forward if disputes still arise.
The Modern Workplace
Over the past few decades, the dynamics of the workplace has changed. Workers want meaningful jobs. People demand to feel important, valuable, and respected. Managers need to be more than a boss but a leader and a coach. Companies need to create a workplace where there are high levels of respect, fairness, equality. Coworkers need to feel as if they are on a very successful team. Managers need to set clear goals and show empathy through open communication. By doing this, employees can feel engaged and that they are a part of meaningful work. By creating a workplace with these attributes, employees will stay, and companies can thrive.
What Do You Think?
What aspects in the workplace do you think are indispensable? Are there aspects that we didn’t cover that had made a difference in the places where you work? Let us know what you think.