The greatest asset for any organisation are its people.
How many companies recognize this and are upfront about it? How are people treated in an organisation? Are they valued and made to feel that way? Are they regarded as key stakeholders? Are they viewed as partners or co-collaborators in organisation building? Are they encouraged to share ideas and feedback on products and policies? Can they speak freely if they disagree with their boss or the leadership team, without fear or retribution? Is there a formal mechanism set-up to gather feedback from the team? Can the team members evaluate their leader or even share their feedback on his or her leadership abilities? Does the HR team only echo the voice of the management or are they trusted equally by both the leadership and the rank and file of the organization?
The answers to the questions above determine the employee friendliness of an organization. The most admired companies to work in are those who walk the talk in adopting a culture that views employees as partners and makes them feel so. In fact, the true test of any organization lies in how it treats its employees when they quit. It is this attribute, to use a common phrase, which separates the men from the boys. It is not uncommon to hear experiences of how someone felt let down by the company or the boss after resigning. Some bosses take it personally, others look at it from their own standpoint. Very few place themselves in the shoes of their team member to try and find out if it is in their interest to move on. A boss should dispassionately assess the reasons behind the resignation of the team member and advise him or her if it is the right thing to do.
Sometimes the organization may mean well but some team leaders don’t. It is therefore imperative not just to imbibe the right culture and values but hire and pick leaders who can protect and foster it. Choosing appropriate leaders is the key in organisation building. The most well intentioned companies can go horribly wrong if the right leaders are not picked.
Sometimes you may have the right leaders but the management may not put a premium on creating a culture where the employees are made to feel equally invested in the growth and well-being of the organisation. It is okay to be guided by profits, market leadership and customer satisfaction but emphasis needs to be placed on the well-being and interest of the employees. It needs to be laid out in the value statement and actively followed by the management.
Another critical measurement index for any organisation is transparency. If certain tough measures need to be taken for the long-term survival of the organisation which could adversely affect the employees, the management should clearly communicate to the rank and file how bad the situation is and explain why certain drastic measures need to be undertaken. While some employees may still be distraught when they get to know it, most will value that they were taken into confidence and not shocked out of their wits when it suddenly happened without notice.
None of these good practices are unheard of or unknown. Some organisations do preach how much they care for their employees but very few walk the talk. Those who do, know how much their team values them for it and how far the members can go for the sake of the firm.