In the book The Great Workplace, the authors share the results of their extensive research on what makes an organization a great place to work—from the employee’s perspective. The research says there are three relationships that an employee has that makes the difference.
- Their Relationship to Management
- Their Relationship to Their Job
- Their Relationship to Their Colleagues
It’s interesting how it always comes back to relationships. In his book, Concentric Circles of Concern, Dr. Oscar Thompson argued that the most important word in the English language, next to proper nouns, is the word “relationship”. You might think the most important word is love, but love travels on the tracks of relationships. If there’s no relationship, you’ll be asking, “Where’s the love?”
So what kind of relationship to management, their job, and their colleagues is needed for an employee to feel the love?
- Relationship to Management. There are three key words: credibility, respect, and fairness.
The employee must feel that management is credible. They walk the talk.
The employee must feel that management respects the employee as a person.
The employee must feel that management establishes and enforces policies that are fair.
- Relationship to Their Job. The key word is pride.
The employee must feel pride in what he or she does. They must feel that it makes a difference, that it is significant, and that they are able to do it effectively. Pride is like cholesterol. There is a bad kind and a good kind. This is the good kind of pride. How can you tell? The good kind of pride is defined as: (P)-Personal (R)-Responsibility (I)-In (D)-Developing (E)-Excellence. When employees have that kind of pride, and they TRUST management, your organization is well on its way to becoming a great workplace.
- Relationship to Their Colleagues. The key word is camaraderie.
I’ve observed that if the first two relationships are in place, it’s often the case that this one is the easiest to establish and maintain. In fact, most of the time when there is a lack of camaraderie within the organization, it’s not really a personality problem. It’s usually a systems problem. The operational systems that govern processes, work, and relationships are usually flawed and are creating the strife.
So as a leader, if you want your employees to feel like, “This is a great place to work!” Then it might be helpful to take a serious look at these three relationships.
And don’t forget to consider the impact of the way you do things. Changing the way you do things just might change the way employees see management, the job, and their colleagues.