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Qualities of a great employer

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos
Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos
Photo by Charley Gallay

Have you ever wondered about qualities that distinguish great employers from the rest? Further insight into what these companies do, based on results of The Conference Board’s CEO Challenge 2014 with research in workplaces from more than 160 countries, reveals what I would call a trickling-down from leadership and an upward-back effect from individuals within the company exemplifying the following key qualities:
1) These great employers have highly involved leaders who are curious and want to improve. They walk the talk by living attitudes and behaviors that show commitment to an engaged culture. They don’t mind showing some vulnerability by visibly working on their own professional and personal growth.
2) These companies have the best HR people with a gift to identify employees who are eager to grow. They know how to influence, teach, and hold executives accountable. They provide guidelines to leaders and managers on how to motivate and help employees develop to their highest potential.
3) Employees in great companies are clear what is expected from them and committed to accomplish that. Employee engagement is one of the few things that leaders can influence when times are tough. Know how to manage this by communicating openly on a regular basis, making changes swiftly, instilling hope and giving a sense of future vision will increase engagement. At SAP employees know the “why” behind their jobs and leaders listen to employee feedback and encourage that.
4) Strong teams where trust, accountability and mutual support exist in these companies. They allow leaders to create micro-cultures and hold them and their teams accountable. Rather than focusing only on material benefits, they put priority on values that will strengthen connectedness among employees in a more meaningful way with their managers, teams, and companies.
5) The hallmark of these great workplaces is recognition, based on the needs, values and motivations of employees. These companies see recognition as a powerful means to encourage employees to reach new levels of their capability. DHL Express takes employee engagement seriously – whether in the office, on the roads or in the air. Recognition is given by thanking employees ranging from a note on the company board to honoring top performers at its annual formal black-tie event.
6) Instead of merely managing to the metric in order to reach these goals, leaders keep an eye on outcomes while encouraging each individual in the organization to take ownership, feeling and knowing they matter in making a difference for the greater good by staying engaged in what they are doing throughout the day. Empowered and engaged employees care about their work, the co-workers and their customers. That is what helps companies such as Zappos outperform their competition – being powered by service.
How does your company rate on each of these qualities?

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