Is yours a great workplace?


It is my contention that managers know what is not a great workplace. However, they do not understand what makes a workplace great.

Such knowledge is important, especially in light of some statistics from a Gallup study on the state of the American workplace. It found that only 30 percent of the 100+ million American workers who work full-time are actively engaged in their work, and this lack of engagement can lead to lost productivity of between $450 billion to $550 billion annually.

While I’ve not found any similar studies on commercial vehicle technicians, I would surmise that with the technician shortage and stepped up recruitment efforts, there are a great number of technicians exploring for the-grass-is-greener employment opportunities.

Particular Outcomes

To learn what elements make for a great workplace, Gallup conducted a multi-year research project. It identified the consistent dimensions of quality workplaces, which were determined to be four pivotal outcomes that are at high levels: employee retention, customer satisfaction, productivity and profitability.

Furthermore, the study discovered 12 chief dimensions that consistently correlated to workplaces that had high levels in the four outcomes.

These dimensions do not include pay and benefits. That does not mean that pay and benefits are not important, notes Gallup, but they do not differentiate great workplaces from the rest.


The Major Indicators

The 12 dimensions of great workplaces were:

1. Workers know what is expected of them in their positions.

Expectations are the milestones against which we gauge our progress. In the workplace, if expectations are not clear, workers become hesitant, indecisive and unsure of themselves.

2. Workers have the materials, tools, equipment, etc., that they need to properly perform their work.

The challenge here is how to appropriately match workers with a wide range of skills and knowledge with the right tools to maximize their potential.

3. Workers are in positions to use their talents and strengths, plus have the opportunity to do what they do best.

Great performance is found when people are in roles that match what they naturally do best. “The best managers clearly define the talents needed for each role and then choose the right person for that role,” says a report of the research.

4. Workers periodically receive recognition or praise for doing good work.

“There is nothing complicated about recognition,” the report states, “but it is one of the items that consistently receive the lowest ratings from employees.”

It also notes that “historically, praise and recognition in the workplace has been handled from the perspective of ‘If you don't hear anything, assume you're doing a good job.’ Today, workers rely upon praise and recognition as a means of defining what is valued by their organization.”

5. Workers believe that their managers to care about them as people.

Employees don't leave companies, they leave managers, concludes the Gallup research.

6. Workers feel there is someone at work who encourages their development.

In today's workplace, the concept of "lifetime employment" is passé, the research report observes. The emphasis now is on "lifetime employability.”

7. Workers believe their opinions count and feel they are making contributions in their workplace.

The research found that workers need to feel valued and know that they do make a difference in their organizations.

8. The mission/purpose of their company makes workers feel their job is important.

Along with feeling that they are making a difference, workers want to feel they belong and are contributing to an important endeavor.

9. Workers identify with co-workers and feel co-workers are committed to doing quality work.

Helping all team members identify the characteristics that will result in a quality product can lead to greater efficiency and increased productivity. Says the report: “Trusting that one's coworkers share a commitment to quality is a key to great team performance.”

10. Workers feel they have quality relationships with others at their workplace.

In the best workplaces, managers recognize that people want to forge quality relationships with their coworkers and that company allegiance can be built from such relationships.

11. Workers receive quality, individualized feedback from managers on a regular basis.

The research found that the best managers recognize that making the time for performance reviews to discuss a worker’s progress and growth is an opportunity to workers to better understand themselves and to let them know how their contributions are making a difference to the organization.

12. At least once a year, workers are given opportunities at work to learn and grow.

Where there is learning and growth, there is innovation, the report says. Productivity does not come from working harder, it comes from working smarter.

My question to you is: Are you utilizing any of these key dimensions to ensure that yours is a great workplace?