Some companies that talk of valuing their employees are more comfortable spouting out platitudes than actually doing anything concrete to express true value. But smart companies know that “valuing employees” isn’t just a box to be checked off. Employees are the real workhorses of a company; when they’re motivated and engaged, they can make a company significantly more productive than competitor firms with a disengaged workforce.
So how do you know when a company values its employees? Look for these traits:
Employees need to feel like they can be the same person at work and at home. They also like working on teams with a diversity of backgrounds and opinions and want to be surrounded by many different passions and opinions, even if doing so causes conflict.
Company culture benefits greatly from transparency, no matter how bad the news or in what direction it’s flowing. Transparent companies and teams have open lines of communication. They also value a shared passion that makes any negative news just another part of the process of achieving a common goal.
Companies thrive when they have a clear mission and can fit their own role into this broader vision, both in terms of their smaller team and on the scale of the company as a whole. Employees should be proud to tell other people where they work.
Now to the red flags. If a company does the following things, think twice before staying on-board.
It’s hard to stay motivated and productive at work if you feel there’s no room for advancement. Feeling like you’ve plateaued can look different to each individual. For instance, it could mean a lack of promotions and pay raises, uninteresting assignments, or a lack of learning new skills. Long-term unfilled promises from your boss, like a new position, additional training, or staff, can also be draining.
Sometimes organizations are simply too toxic. You may find that you’re investing more time in developing and refining the coping mechanisms than the actual skills. If your list of things to develop is really a list of things that you won’t have to do in a more functional environment, it’s time to walk away.
A rotating door of people is never a good sign, especially if folks you respect seem to resign out of the blue. The best way to assess? Try to gain some insight as to why people are leaving. Toxic culture? Bad pay? Long hours? That should help steer your decision.
Overall, great company culture really comes down to good leadership, something that’s too often a rarity. Great company culture translates helps create an environment in which employees feel the freedom to take creative risks.
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