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How can one create the “best workplace on Earth”?

There are a fair few myths floating around about what “makes” the ideal workplace. Well, it might be more accurate to call them half-truths; while research has certainly uncovered various tips and tricks, the exact recipe for creating the “best workplace on Earth” remains elusive.

This hasn’t prevented academics Rob Goffee and Gareth Jones from looking for it – and reporting their findings in Harvard Business Review. Here is an insight into the ingredients you should consider pouring into your workplace stew, though incorporating all of them could prove challenging.

Permit workers a certain amount of individuality

Many businesses strive to accommodate differences across demographic boundaries, taking account of gender, age, race, ethnicity and other such factors, in their workforces. However, executives interviewed by Goffee and Jones sought differences of somewhat subtler form…

These were differences in perspectives, mental habits and core assumptions. When you nurture individuality, you can fully capitalise on your workers’ varied talents and knowhow – even, perhaps, at the expense of organisational orderliness usually instilled in your business.

Within the workplace, information wants to be free

These days, negative publicity about a company can spread like wildfire, encouraged by the likes of Facebook and Twitter. For this reason, if something untoward does occur within the walls of your corporate premises, you should impart the news to staff before someone else beats you to it.

This is crucial because employees could be hindered in their workplace efficiency if they remain in the dark about what is truly happening. Unfortunately, some managers could be tempted to reveal only the most “urgent” details, or simply fear giving staff something to “needlessly” worry about.

Magnify people’s strengths

It’s not in your company’s interest to have a high turnover of workers; keeping existing staff is certainly less expensive than hiring new personnel. Therefore, you should incentivise staff to stay, as you can by developing them and, in this way, instilling more value in them.

While openly pledging to do this can put your firm’s reputation on the line, following up that pledge could see you rewarded with meaningful productivity improvements in your workers.

Be a meaningful, rather than simply lucrative, company

Over a four-year period, Goffee and Jones interviewed people around the world on what their dream employer would be. In the responses summarised on the SmartBrief site, there were particularly loud calls for authenticity; an organisation that “truly stands for something”.

Your company should be committed to following meaningful goals, with strong profit ideally just a by-product of pursuing those goals. When you are aiming to primarily meet customer needs rather than simply those of shareholders, you can expect the company to flourish.

Assess the rationale behind the daily work

This ties in with the point about a shared sense of meaningful work. However, you should also make sure that the day-to-day work has the same kind of relevance for each employee who handles these responsibilities.

Therefore, you should bring it upon yourself to thoroughly reconsider each task you assign to each person. How were those duties decided upon, and do they make sense? Assessing these matters is time-draining – but, when work is meaningful, people will more easily identify with your brand.

Keep rules simple to both believe in and follow

Unsurprisingly, many employees would rejoice if their employers were to free them of arbitrary restrictions. However, as all organisations need a certain degree of structure, the real question is not whether your firm should have rules but instead what exactly those rules ought to be.

The rules should tick two particular boxes: they should be easy to both understand and perceive as legitimate. For example, staff can be given significant freedom in how they meet specific deadlines and targets, while just one level of approval can be necessary for hiring or firing.

When carefully chosen, rules can increase discretion and, consequently, facilitate problem-solving. Therefore, they can empower people to act on their own initiative.

As you start imbuing more freedom in your workers, you could set the long-term goal of redesigning their workplace to suit. An expert hand can prove immeasurably useful here, hence why we invite you to phone our London-based firm on 020 3944 6538 to see how we can help.