Create the Best Workplace on Earth!

Nik Penhale Smith

Harvard Business Review recently published an article on Creating the Best Workplace on Earth, which ought to make you think about your own workplace and employer. How meaningful is my work and can I be my true self? Do I understand the company profits and am I allowed to provide honest feedback? In this blog I will give you a short summary of the article and I’d like to hear your opinion.

An article about ‘Creating the Best Workplace on Earth’ recently appeared in the Harvard Business Review. This article is based on a three-year survey in which hundreds of employees were asked to describe their ideal employer/workplace. The results of the survey allowed the researchers to describe 6 characteristics that organisations need to have in order to create the best workplace on Earth.

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“An organisation that operates at its fullest potential by allowing its staff to do their best work as individuals and as a group.”

Common Denominator

The researchers discovered a common denominator. The people questioned describe their ideal workplace as: “An organisation that operates at its fullest potential by allowing its staff to do their best work as individuals and as a group.” In order to create the ideal workplace, the researchers define six characteristics that are considered to be important by employees.

1. Employees can be themselves

It is important that the atmosphere in the organisation is one in which people are able to be themselves and feel comfortable. Diversity among people is advantageous and should be encouraged. People with different passions, habits and ideas strengthen each other and are able to offer the organisation a great deal if everyone feels free to do so.

2. Information is clear and understandable to everyone

As an organisation you always tell your employees the truth about what is the current state of affairs is. This gives the employees the feeling that they are taken seriously and can therefore see the bigger picture and know where to make their own contribution. Transparency fosters credibility, both within the company and an outsiders’ point of view. It is also important that employees are critical and that feedback is appreciated by management and the board.

3. The organisation invests in its employees’ strengths

Development opportunities are there for all employees. The organisation tries to discover each employee’s strengths and build upon them. The best goal that can be achieved is that employees become much better than they ever thought possible. A win-win situation: employees excel and in turn the company excels as well.

4. The organisation contributes to the greater whole

Employees find it important that the organisation should stand for something and that they can be proud of their employer. The right to exist is closely linked to the organisation’s role in the community and how it contributes to it. Profit should never be allowed to be the highest aim.

5. The work itself is meaningful

What employees find important is that their work is meaningful. All of the jobs/roles at the company must be necessary, making it clear how everyone’s job fits together. Staff want their work to be enjoyable and energising.

6. Clear rules for everyone

Employees don’t want the organisation to come up with too many rules; especially not meaningless protocols that slow down the operation. The rules that do exist should be simple and clear and they must apply to everyone. The employees must also agree to the rules and believe that they serve a purpose to the business.

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Many organisations have a number of these characteristics, but few have all six. Are you interested in reading the full story? Read the article in Harvard Business Review – May 2013 or have a look at the summary.