3 Steps to Creating A Healthy Work Environment

January 17th, 2012 by Michael Page

Creating a healthy work environment keeps our key people engaged and loyal in an era when we’re demanding they do more with less. Not healthy in the sense of lots of fresh air and few toxic chemicals knocking around (although that’s always a good start), but a healthy psychological work environment—one where providing recognition for exemplary performance seems normal. There are several key elements to achieving this.

1. Open Communications

There are too many old-economy attitudes abroad in our businesses. In the old economy, scarcity was the driving force—information was power, and those who had information hoarded it and kept it scarce. That way, they amassed great power, privilege and wealth. Look around—the world has changed dramatically. Our modern economy is based on abundance—those who prosper are those who share information with everyone and anyone who can make use of it effectively. This is the information age, and any environment where the workforce has not tapped into all that’s going on in their organization is toxic. Suspicion, mistrust and resentment grow—and key people go.

Let all of your people know where the organization is going; how it plans to get there; how their jobs play a part in the grand scheme of things; and why they are key to your success. Their contribution is just as valuable as the CEOs, and they know it. Let them know that you know it, too. Spread information liberally throughout your organization; give your people an I’m on the inside! feeling—it’s hard to leave something that has you on the inside..

2. Develop an Attitude of Cooperation

Give and take is the order of the day. Be prepared to consider anything that makes it easier and more practical to work for you than for anyone else. Look at flexible hours, compassionate leave, sabbaticals, teleworking, childcare facilities—anything you can afford to do that shows that you are prepared to meet your people halfway (or more) in balancing their work/personal life commitments.

3. Develop an Atmosphere of Trust

If you want people to trust you (with their jobs, their careers, their development—their lives), then you have to trust them. Create an atmosphere where management automatically expects the best of its team members—they’ll respond. Give people a good reputation to live up to—they won’t let you down. This is one of the key sources of recognition—no one is more flattered than when they are trusted implicitly.

Achieving these objectives requires skilled front line managers. Those organizations that take selecting and developing managers seriously have a much better change of creating a healthy work environment desired by the C-Suite.

Featured Article

The 4 “B’s” of Talent Acquisition – Which One is Right for You?

Talent acquisition has become the heavy artillery in the war for talent. In the ultra-competitive world in which we live, organizations with the right people in the right jobs at the right time stand to win big. These organizations take care to understand their current state, forecast talent gaps and take the necessary steps to close those gaps.

You can’t take for granted that you already have people with the necessary capabilities. The truth is that it can take several months, if not years, to get the right people in the right jobs. Any delay in assembling a solid team can seriously hinder the execution of even the most well thought out strategy.

Once you have assessed your internal talent inventory and understand the jobs you will need in order to execute your new strategy, you can identify your gaps, determine a timeframe for closing those gaps, and create specific tactics for closing gaps. This is where getting the right talent acquisition approach is key.

You typically have 4 options as you seek to fill these roles. They are “The 4 Bs”:

  • Build: Developing your internal talent helps you build a cohesive culture and sends a strong message to your people that you are committed to them. It also mitigates risk because you know the employee, the employee knows you, and the transition can be relatively quick.
  • Bounce: Redeploy talent from obsolete or redundant jobs, as well as people who don’t fit well with the new jobs that they may be qualified to fill. This can also mean bouncing the employee from the organization altogether.
  • Buy: Recruit outside talent. This can be expensive, slow and risky. Recruiters are often involved, the process may be long, due diligence takes more time, and it is still difficult to predict whether the outside hire will be successful in your organization.
  • Borrow: Procure contingent or contract labor. This is increasingly popular for new ventures because it is highly flexible and you can “try before you buy.”

Which is the right talent acquisition approach?

Determining which option to pursue depends heavily on supply and demand, but also on your past experience and internal resources. If talent supply is abundant and demand is light, then the job should be easier to fill than jobs that require unique skills or expertise that is difficult or expensive to find. However, if you don’t have the proper resources to support the hiring process, then you may need some outside help.

Apply a Consistent Selection Process

Regardless of the option you choose, do not short cut your selection process. Take proper measures to ensure candidates have the basic skills to do the job and fit the job and the organizational culture. Even temporary hires can cause havoc and disruption in the workplace if they don’t fit. Your workforce is a crucial investment for your organization, and you owe it to yourself to make every hire count.

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Did You Know?

  • 46% of new hires leave their jobs within the first year.
  • 75% of employees steal at least once from their employers.
  • 33% of business bankruptcies are due to employee theft.

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Eastman Chemical Company and Profiles International enjoy a productive relationship that began in 2005. One of the most far-reaching effects Eastman managers see as a result of its use of the ProfileXT® is a shift in perception of worker performance—from “That’s poor performance” to “Maybe that person is in the wrong job.”

Leaders at Eastman Chemical are no strangers to assessments, and this sophisticated way of looking at workers who are struggling in their jobs sent them to the PXT results to see what roles might offer those workers a better fit.

The result: Employees who were once on the cusp of termination often become top performers.
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