By Norm Spitzig
What exactly makes a workplace great? What are the characteristics common to those workplaces recognized as superior? Regardless of size or industry, a workplace can be considered great if it boasts all of the following attributes.
A Clear Mission
The best workplaces in the world have a clear purpose, a straightforward, concise mission statement that explains “who” the company is. The statement is readily understandable and enthusiastically embraced by every employee.
Such great companies have carefully identified those factors critical to their long-term success as well as generated a specific vision for the future. Great workplaces create detailed action plans and accompanying areas of responsibility to ensure their vision is more than some pie-in-the-sky dream. It’s concrete, actionable, measurable and—with perseverance on everyone's part—achievable.
A Trained Staff
Great workplaces have forward-thinking, creative senior management and a caring, well-trained staff. No workplace can remain superior over a significant period of time without quality leadership at the top as well as quality support staff. At great workplaces, everyone from the CEO to yesterday's hire are fully committed to doing whatever it takes to guarantee the company's ongoing success year in and year out.
Equally as important, great workplaces attract people from myriad backgrounds and with varying arsenals of professional and personal skills, talents that complement and enhance each other to the benefit of all employees as well as the customer base. At a great workplace, individuality is valued and cherished, but teamwork remains first and foremost.
A great workplace encourages employees to do what they deem as “meaningful.” Of course, the term denotes different things to different people. What’s meaningful for a CEO of a multi-billion dollar company may differ from that of a solo entrepreneur working at home. Both positions can be genuinely viewed as meaningful, depending on the perspectives of the individuals involved.
Malcolm Gladwell is correct when he notes in his book Outliers that, for most people, work is meaningful when it’s sufficiently autonomous, appropriately complex, and has a perceived direct relationship between the effort invested and the accompanying return. Great workplaces offer team members the opportunity for every employee―irrespective of their education, talents and experiences―to consistently do what they perceive as genuinely meaningful.