Keeping the ‘Best’ in a ‘Best Place to Work’

Being recognized as a “best place to work” is a true testament to a company’s culture, but maintaining that status is what distinguishes organizations that are genuinely committed to meeting and exceeding their workforce’s needs from those that merely rest on past successes. Achieving “best of” status is a great accomplishment but also should be viewed as an opportunity to continually build on this success, and part of that opportunity involves not only gaining further accolades but also solidifying employees’ positive feelings.

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Gaining momentum in employee engagement while maintaining current progress can be accomplished through “listening tours,” during which company principals routinely meet with individuals and/or groups of employees, which is particularly helpful at larger companies with multiple offices or properties.

These tours can provide an opportunity for executive teams to become more involved and strengthen connections. These individual and group sessions also serve to underscore the importance of employees and recognize the merit they bring to an organization.

Establishing this type of rapport between employees and C-level staff is a proactive measure that can motivate your workforce and drive employee engagement. By visiting an organization’s various branches or ancillary offices, owners and leadership staff can model company comportment and reinforce values. When employees recognize the effort and time an executive team is willing to take to respect the value they bring, productivity and satisfaction levels increase exponentially, so consider this measure an example of how “a little goes a long way.”

Taking the proverbial “temperature” of employees, providing solutions to their problems, and ensuring job satisfaction are foundational components a successful company culture. But time and money are often spent on rolling out programs that some personnel have not been made aware of, such as new software that might make some jobs easier or underwritten philanthropic opportunities that resonate with individual employees.

Employee surveys can illuminate the wants and needs of staff, but steps should also be taken to adopt desired programs, modify existing ones, and eliminate those that are not working. To accomplish this, you have to read every word of your survey results; skimming feedback without looking thoroughly into the metrics and only looking for a top ranking are surefire ways for a company to lose its place on the “best of” list the following year.

Creating and reinforcing transparency are imperative. A survey is meaningless without resulting changes; companies that can boast a “best of” status take action on trends they discover regarding their organization’s strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities.  Workshops to discuss actionable items can result in the creation of interdepartmental solutions to existing or potential problems and can also introduce new policies or enhance existing ones as a result of the issues discovered through the survey.

“Best of” organizations also take the time to share the “why” of policies, procedures, and programs, as the likelihood of their being adopted is significantly increased if personnel understand the reasons behind them.

Although engagement surveys can uncover constructive information, they should be limited to once a year. The focus should be on a single survey because more can lead to employee disengagement and dilute the process.

The bottom line is that companies that have received praise for their company culture and ability to attract and retain dedicated employees shouldn’t rest on their laurels. A “best of” accolade can be forgotten in the absence of long-term commitment to a thriving environment where employees can rise up the ranks and go to work each day knowing their value is appreciated.

Whitney Pulsifer is Senior Director of Strategic Initiatives for Peabody Properties, a full-service real estate and property management firm that was named a 2017 and 2018 Top Place to Work by The Boston Globe and a 2018 and 2019 Glassdoor Best Place to Work.

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