What Makes a Great Place to Work?

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Over the past two years, there has been a shift in the mentality of workers. It’s not shocking that a worldwide pandemic could have such an effect, but that hasn’t made it any easier for organizations trying to adjust.

During this tumultuous period, many people have realized their jobs mean far less than their physical and mental health. They’ve also learned how crucial it is to spend time with loved ones. These insights come from Microsoft’s 2022 Work Trend Index, as reported by the Financial Post.

Last year alone, 18% of the Microsoft survey respondents quit their job. Furthermore, over 52% of Gen Z and Millennials considered leaving their current positions, the survey found.

As such, the value of cultivating a genuinely excellent work environment has never been higher. Doing so will offer organizations a tremendous competitive edge.

To that end, The Business Journal asked our readers to tell us about their workplaces. Are they great places to work? If so, why?

The responses we received – published at BusinessJournalDaily.com – reflect the findings of national polls, workforce surveys and studies.

Here’s a summary of what workforce experts say is vital to ensure your workplace environment is one where employees stick around for the long haul and make difference-making contributions.

Promoting Work-Life Balance

Look back to 2018, and you’ll see that work-life balance was already a top concern of 75% of employees seeking new work. This statistic comes from Statista’s report on work-life balance among employees.

First and foremost, employers who don’t value work-life balance tell their employees that their overall well-being pales in comparison to their job. The Lancet Academic Journal shows that working 55 hours per week versus the standard 40-hour week increases an employee’s vulnerability to strokes and other health problems.

Employers aiming to attract top talents and harness a positive work environment have keyed into this growing desire for work-life balance.

For instance, the Harvard Business Review discusses how some employers offer 4% pay-bumps combined with shortened, 32-hour work weeks to compete for top talent. That means increased pay and more time to enjoy life.

Proving to Employees How Much They’re Appreciated

Right now, more than ever, staving off burnout is crucial, with a recent Indeed report claiming that over half of all workers feel burned out from their jobs. That’s a 9% increase from before COVID-19.

Burnout has a nearly endless list of adverse impacts on physical and mental well-being that hinder productivity and engagement.

Given that employee appreciation mitigates burnout, employers must be concerted in their efforts to convey it.

Of course, monetary compensation can make employees feel appreciated. Verbal appreciation, however, is as effective as financial rewards in conveying appreciation in the workplace.

Managers, peers, or whole teams showing mutual appreciation contributes to an excellent, welcoming culture where people feel valued.

One simple strategy is opening a public Slack channel where managers can outwardly celebrate their team members.

Embracing the Hybrid Workforce

Flexible remote work options are akin to a 401(k) in 2022. When employers fail to provide such flexibility, it frequently leads to increased turnover. 

Be mindful that the hybrid workforce is an opportunity for you as an employer.

Workers seeking hybrid or remote options have extended their geographical radius of where they can work. Even if they must travel to the office once per week, they’re happy to make a longer but less frequent commute. Thus, employers can reap the benefits of a more diverse, better-skilled candidate pool.

Updating Your Dress Code to Meet Modern Standards

The Qualifind Group cites a study stating that more than 40% of organizations surveyed added to their casual attire options during the past few years.

While “casual dress” seems like it should be straightforward by definition, it’s anything but simple. Managers and employees face a minefield in deciphering the correct clothing to wear. For instance, millennials – who make up 35% of the U.S. workforce – have a drastically different definition of business casual than their elders.

On top of expression and diversity, there are also matters such as religious observance and gender fluidity at play.

Keeping the above sentiments in mind, you might want to consult the hiring blog at Monster.com, which offers tips on managing dress codes.

Are you unsure that a casual dress code fits your business’s culture?

Then consider this statistic from Hive.com: 61% of employees work more productively with a relaxed dress code. Additionally, 80% of people who work somewhere enforcing a dress code don’t find it helpful.

Offering The Benefits That Employees Desire Most

Recently, Fortune.com reported on the Harris Poll, which asked employees how important certain benefits were when considering a new job versus staying put in their current role.

The top five benefits were schedule flexibility, employer retirement contributions, mental health coverage, health and wellness stipends, and remote work options.

While these are all crucial benefits to offer during The Great Resignation, they only scratch the surface.

Another benefit that many employees desired was free snacks and coffee in the office. It’s a simple concept and a minimal investment that yields tremendous results. USA Today reports that providing free food to employees coincides with a nearly 70% job satisfaction rate.

There’s one more critical benefit that today’s employees prioritize: diversity and inclusion-based community groups.

Honing into diversity and inclusion shows that employers align with these values. A streamlined focus on diversity and inclusion offers the following advantages:

• More diverse and inclusive corporations have a 35% greater chance to outperform the competition.

• There is a 70% greater chance that diverse companies will tap into newer markets.

• Diverse teams are almost 90% better at decision-making.

• When management teams are diverse, it generates nearly 20% higher revenue.

Moreover, Glassdoor reports that two-thirds of jobseekers value diverse workforces in their prospective companies.

Changing how You View Compensation

Employers who aren’t willing to pay the appropriate compensation may find themselves struggling. First and foremost, millennials took the mantle of the job-hopping generation long before the pandemic. That career approach has only intensified during COVID-19.

Millennials’ job-hopping led to substantial wage increases for the group. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta reports that since 2021, wage increases for new jobs have vastly outpaced raises in current roles.

In other words, employees are reaping the rewards of leaving their current employers. Reversing that trend and offering competitive wages becomes paramount if employers want to recruit and retain qualified workers. This notion rings doubly true given the current inflation levels.

Forbes’s Human Resource Council speaks to the pressing need for employers to research competitive wages. Perform this due diligence through online surveys and examine job listings for similar roles that list compensation packages.

Also, informal approaches to compensation research will prove effective, such as transparent discussions with staff and colleagues about salaries.