What Makes a Great Place to Work?

6 min. read

Examining the elements that make up a great workplace.

Designing an amazing workplace isn’t necessarily an art or a science. It’s a mix of the two with a sprinkling of determination to create a brilliant culture. That is what makes one company or place better than another. Having a better workplace culture than another company might be some magical ingredient that only the select few know about, but it’s also something that can be learned and implemented. The culture of a workplace is something that’s more important than the building in which the company resides.

What is Culture?

McKinsey and Company say that “culture is the common set of behaviors and underlying mindsets and beliefs that shape how people work and interact day to day.”

It is a culture in a company that dictates the way people are treated both in and outside of the organization. Comparing why someone picks a certain contractor or place to shop over another can simply be down to the way the company is perceived. The way people think about you means an awful lot and folks talk. The products or services they sell are either similar or even identical, they are essentially competitors, but one is a better place to work than the other and is more successful over time.

Caring for your People

You don’t have to fleece your employees to make money. It may surprise you to learn that taking care of people is beneficial to the bottom line. Paying a fair wage and providing daycare for your employees is the kind of thing that shifts a mindset, both with your employees and your customers.

Grant Thornton LLP and Oxford Economics found that cultural factors such as collaboration, employee engagement, employee retention, and customer satisfaction have a clear relationship with revenue growth. The study shows that executives with healthy cultures are one-and-a-half times more likely to experience 15 percent in revenue growth over just three years.

To someone with a purely capitalist standpoint, it starts to make sense to invest in your team, from the ground up. Big, publicly traded companies are no exception. Research shows that organizations with extremely healthy cultures are two-and-a-half times more likely to boast significant stock price increases over three years. A company that values its employees and has a strong culture of equality and collaboration makes more money.

Communication and Collaboration

One of the reasons that cultures with open communication and collaborative efforts thrive is that they can adapt to change. The McKinsey research showed that 70 percent of transformations fail, and 70 percent of those failures were the result of culture-related issues.

Organizations with high-performing cultures tend to thrive on change. This enables the business to pivot into new ways of doing things if that is required. Look at how disruptive the COVID pandemic has been for so many businesses - and our way of life in general.

People who were able to figure out ways to stay open and look after their workforce were the ones who continued to make the wheels of the economy turn. Many businesses had to shut, but a lot of people were able to put their heads together and figure out ways to survive.

Moving online changed the way a lot of businesses operated. Changing from dine-in to delivery for restaurants kept doors open. Manufacturers switching their plant over to making PPE (personal protective equipment) or car part factories designing ventilators showed ingenuity and resolve to survive.

No matter what it is that you do, whether you are an executive or on the shop floor, where you work doesn’t define you as a human. However, when you feel like you are a part of something, that you are all on the same team and making a difference in the world, that becomes a cultural shift in the way you think and feel as a human. Giving someone a sense of purpose, a feeling of belonging is more important to many employees than a paycheck.

The Power of a Team

A culture is not something that can easily be replicated or made to happen. It isn’t in the bricks and mortar of a building or the steel and glass of a corporate skyscraper. It isn’t the sign hanging over the door although that brand becomes synonymous with the culture that you do create. It is making sure that the people who are part of the business or venture are invested emotionally in what they are doing. To be able to do that you have to tap into their collective genius and make a team. A team that is made up of smaller teams and they all work in harmony like a well-oiled machine.

Building an amazing culture is an undertaking that is honorable and valuable, not just to the people who work in a place or for an organization, but also the owners and shareholders as well. The culture is what makes a workplace great, and it is something that should be analyzed properly if you want to understand the business you are building or if you are deciding where to work.

The journey is often described as more important than the destination. It is this type of thinking or philosophy that was once described as hippie, or new age. But the facts speak for themselves. Being concerned about the energy of the organization is all-important when it comes to the life force of the venture and the longevity of the business.

The culture of your workplace is what determines whether it’s a great place to work, or not. It’s the essential difference between success and failure. To be considered a good or great place to work means you get better people on your team – the ones with the ideas and values that mean the difference between whether you make it rather than being forced to shut up shop.

The Post-Pandemic Workplace

As we enter the new post-pandemic world, it’s obvious that things have changed. People don’t come into the office like they used to. Virtual teams mean when you are hiring staff you could be getting applications from all over the country, or even abroad. Companies with a social conscience are on the rise.

So many things have changed so fast that companies may find their old ways of doing things in dire need of change.

To be certain of working in an organization or company that is a great or amazing place to work is something that is more and more important to people.