Author: Michael Poh Source: Hongkiat
Aside from the job scope itself, one factor that significantly influences how employees feel about work is the environment. By work environment, I mean everything that forms part of employees’ involvement with the work itself, such as the relationship with co-workers and supervisors, organizational culture, room for personal development, etc.
A positive work environment makes employees feel good about coming to work, and this provides the motivation to sustain them throughout the day.
If you’re looking for a new job, then I would say that assessing the work environment is a crucial step you shouldn’t skip. After all, this is the place you might be working at in future and you wouldn’t want to be dragging yourself to work every single morning!
Due to the job variety available in the marketplace, this article is probably a little generic and may not apply to all types of jobs. However, as you shall see below, these qualities are much valued by employees and employers in most jobs. I would say that they are pretty universal in that sense, except in a few exceptional cases.
1. Transparent & Open Communication
In essence, a transparent and open form of communication addresses the employee’s need to feel that what they have to say has value. It is what makes employees feel that they belong in the organization. Work then becomes meaningful because the employees know that what they contribute affects the organization that they are affiliated with.
It is thus essential for staff to discuss the organization’s philosophy, mission and values, from time to time during retreats, meetings, etc to ensure that everyone knows what they’re working for other than their paychecks. Having open discussions get people involved and allow them to share their views and perspectives on how to achieve company goals. After which, the management side will give their own perspectives on how to fulfill the organization’s mission.
Give and Take
Such two-way open communication will eventually break down the hurdles present in hierarchical or bureaucratic organizations. At the end of it all, it promotes trust in day-to-day interactions between co-workers, as well as between subordinates and supervisors.
Everyone becomes more united with the organization’s mission in their mind. There is mutual respect among all employees, regardless of their official statuses.
This is when employees will not be afraid to suggest ideas to improve the work processes, thus benefiting everyone in the organization in return.
2. Work-Life Balance
There has to be some sort of balance between work and personal life. In general, having that sense of balance will improve job satisfaction among employees because they will feel that they’re not overlooking the other areas of their lives that are, if not more, important to them than work.
The Constant Juggle
When employees fulfill their various needs and goals in life, such as those of family, friends, spiritual pursuits, self-growth, etc, they can then feel more confident about themselves and perform their best at work. Apart from that, employees that are exposed to more experiences in life outside of work can use what they’ve gained and apply that to their work.
In other words, work-life balance can promote creativity and out-of-the-box thinking.
A Nod from the Top
‘Good’ employees or workers are often defined as those who put in loads of effort and sacrificed their personal time in order to perform well in their work. Some employees are simply workaholics who would rather neglect other aspects of their life for work.
Managers have a responsibility to show that this is not right, by rewarding employees who maintain good work-life balance habits (e.g. leave work on time) and can still perform well.
In this case, the organization may adopt a firm stance on work-life balance by educating employees on the benefits of having such balance in their lives or even include it under their mission statement.
3. Training & Development-Focused
In a time when change is more rampant than ever before, it is necessary for organizations to be keep abreast with the changes and train their employees accordingly. For instance, technology is evolving so rapidly that what organizations commonly used ten years ago could be made obsolete today (e.g. Zip drives, dial-up modems, etc).
Adapting to change is never more crucial in this era because those who don’t, get replaced. This applies to both the individual and the organization itself.
A training and development-focused organization has a clear roadmap for training their employees to sustain and enhance the productivity of the organization as a whole. Essentially speaking, there are two kinds of skills that can be developed: hard skills and soft skills.
Hard skills: impact work productivity directly e.g. knowledge of a new database management system
Soft skills: interpersonal skills which could affect the morale of the organization.
A positive work environment would have routine training to improve efficiency and instill positive attitudes among employees.