Employee workplace delight is a term that defines the entire set task objectives for the modern HR leader. The war for talent rages on, and the modern workforce is spoilt for choice for the workplace of their dreams. Success in the modern fragmented business era is founded on the pillars of employee engagement, workplace happiness, and team motivation. Relationships and KRAs go hand in hand with learning and skills development and a constant stream of positive and constructive feedback from managers and business ownership.
But despite all the vagaries surrounding the term, the perfect workplace remains an elusive scenario for most. To drill deep into the concept, here’s a quick look at what actually defines a modern workplace .. What are the employers doing that sets them apart, and what is the strategic thinking behind the scenes at workplaces where employees value their contributions to the company more than most other things in their lives?
The first part of the answer is at the end of the preceding paragraph, in case you missed it. Valuing employee contributions and adding tangibles to the appreciation is one of the many belief systems that the management and owners of these companies have focused on.
THE ANATOMY OF A GREAT WORKPLACE – A CHRO’s Perspective
The workplace is where the average employee spends most of their workday. Providing them with an expressive and comfortable environment is at the very base of the engagement pyramid- the foundation. What sets the truly great workplaces aside, according to Great Place To Work, are the approaches to designing a great workplace that goes way back to some very fundamental thought processes and philosophies of corporate governance. From the employee’s perspective,
Trust In Business Ownership and Management’s Strategy
Pride in making a difference to the world with the work they do each day
Enjoyment in rewards and positive feedback for their achievements
The other end of the table is the manager’s perspective, and in most cases, leadership aims at instilling the following into the team
A sense of Achievement with regard to Organizational Objectives
Ensuring that every employee is motivated enough to give their personal best to the task at hand
And of course, the fairly obvious team and collective effort/reward perspective.
Summing up, “workplace design 101” for the design-thinking oriented HR leader in the modern workforce includes the following essential practice areas from the managers perspective: Inspiration, communication and two-way feedback. While these factors can be broad-scoped to the point of being vague, their essence can be distilled into teamwork and motivating each employee to give their personal best to the projects they are handling. Consistency is key here, and the measurable improvements at the macro level inevitably begin with the minutiae. Encouragement for every single employee, every single day. Great workplaces aren’t just fortunate happenstance, they are the result of years of meticulous planning and attention to every single detail that each employee is concerned with. To elaborate further, of course, is the one workplace to beat them all, across the world – The world’s largest search corporation is also home to some of the happiest and most fulfilled employees on the planet.
GOOGLE – THE TOP SEARCH RESULT FOR A HAPPY WORKPLACE
Sergei Brin and Larry Page are synonymous with conquering grounds that many fear to tread. It was natural, therefore, that the workplace they would design and develop for future Googlers would be engineered to perfection. In a true example of pragmatic workplace design thinking, Brin and Page referred to statistical software company The SAS Institute, a top global ranker in Great Places to Work, met personally with their executives, sent teams to their headquarters, and validated the lessons learnt even as they developed their workplace policies.
The emphasis was not on ranking at the top of lists and has never been – something that has reflected in every employee happiness undertaking since then. The focus was on creating support, empowerment, and value to the employee to fulfill their KRAs, and further augment them with a work environment and perks, the kind of which has now become the gold standard of employee engagement worldwide. As Prasad Setty, VP of people analytics and compensation was prominently quoted by a publication as saying, “No one has ever asked us why we should invest in our people. Our leaders just assume it’s the right thing to do.”
But even if the aforementioned quote from the people practices team at Google doesn’t leave you gaping at the sheer simplicity behind such spectacular successes, remember that they and their ilk are always in a state of reinvention. In fact, in spite of all the perks, employees at Google value perks much less than the freedom of expression and sense of accomplishment that the company provides. Google functions as a true democracy, with frequent communication exchanges between the leadership and employees. The founders themselves are proponents of a flat management structure, and organizational hierarchy is kept to a bare minimum. Consider this, every Friday business leaders and the co-founders hold company-wide forums and answer the 20 most asked questions in the company.
THE SCIENCE OF THE ART
If Google is a pioneer in the art of employee engagement and workplace excellence worldwide, it is a technology and engineering company before else. While they are constantly communicating with their employees, they are also constantly re-engineering and reevaluating every single step of their processes and practices. The Entrepreneur magazine lists Google as one of the biggest users of People Analytics among global technology companies.
To conclude, you, dear reader, have surely read this far to extract some semblance of deep insight into the dynamics of arguably the best workplace on the planet. Where to go from here? Re:Work by Google is probably the best resource available on the Internet today, documenting almost every initiative and ingredient that goes into making the Google recipe what it is today for employees.