by Yeyetunde Caxton-Martins, HR Analyst at RS Hunter Limited, April 19, 2016
While it is common knowledge that employees must do their bit to ensure their job is a fulfilling one, we cannot ignore the important role that each employer plays in this daily quest. In the last few years, I have become curious about the relationship that exists between an employees success on the job and the environment within which they work. So, to enable me better understand the relationship, when I am assigned to work with a client; within the first month of engagement I usually ask the management representative (or try to determine based on observation) the following:
- Is the work environment conducive?
- How does the work environment create job satisfaction for employees?
- Is the employer providing its people with the basic resources required for them to achieve set goals?
These 3 questions which make up what I call the ‘Reality Check Test’ are designed to make the business owner/manager consider the ‘real-life situation’ and assess the practicality of the their expectations against their commitment to their employees.
While the work environment alone cannot make an individual a star performer, it has been proven that when an employee is happy with their environment; productivity improves and objectives are met. In my view, creating an enabling environment requires employers to be conscious of certain factors such as:
- Organisational Culture: It is important that employers invest in a culture that supports their corporate vision.
An essential aspect of this is in the recruitment process. Employer’s must strive to hire people who are able to express themselves while at work and this would require that an alignment exists between its employees values and that of the company. Alignment will ensure that employees are fully engaged when carrying out their duties thereby fostering open and effective communication. Once the channels for communication are clear, most issues that arise in the workplace can be resolved before they cause irreparable damage.
- Setting Goals and Objectives: Employers must create and communicate a sense of direction for their employees. It has been proven that effectively communicating goals and objectives across an organisation helps employees become aware of what they are working towards and how important their input is to the organisations success.
- Policies and Procedures: Policies and procedures help structure the day-to-day running of the organisation and ensure that the organisational system is run within predefined parameters, thereby making employees aware of any limitations.
- Providing Essential Work Tools: Employees must feel comfortable and appreciated at work. Making your staff sit crammed in a small hot space cannot encourage innovation and creativity (neither can making them share a computer when individual devices are required for them to carry out their duties). If their role requires constant communication, why not give them a phone? If they are required to work weekends, why not give them weekend access to the internet?
- Leading by Example: Good leadership requires that you do the right thing, at the right time and for the right reasons. Always remember that as a manager or supervisor people are watching every move you make. It could be to see if you practice what you preach or even just to know what decision to make. Whatever the case may be, one false move by you could spell potential disaster for the company.
Employees also contribute to ensuring that the work environment is an empowering one by:
- Adhering to all company policies and procedures
- Dedicating themselves to their job and company goals
- Giving their best
- Participating in all company activities and working with colleagues for the greater good of the organisation
- Being spontaneous and having fun at work
- Believing in the organisation and their respective teams
- Being open, listening to the ideas of others and engaging in meaningful conversations.
When employees and employer’s are in sync, work comes alive. This leads to an increase in operational efficiency and productivity across the organisation and over time, employees become vested stakeholders of the company thereby tasking themselves and becoming interested in everything that goes on in the organisation.