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How would you like to be a part of a workplace, so admired, it's considered the place to work? Better yet, how would you like to help build that type of workplace? Here's the first thing you need to know. It's not about money. Paying the highest wages relative to the competition is not the defining characteristic of a destination workplace. In fact, it's not uncommon to see a person choose to leave a great place to work because some other company offered them a nice raise, only to see them return later. Why? Because even though compensation is very important, it's not the most important thing at work.
There are at least three factors higher than money on the list. Think about how you can build these three aspects of a destination workplace. First, is clear purpose. Have you ever said to yourself, does my work really matter? For the vast majority of jobs, it's not that hard to describe how they contribute to some worthwhile mission for the organization. Whether you sell insurance or work in a bakery, the goal is the same. Make sure your employees know that what they do adds value to others in the organization and the clients or customers.
Periodically, talk about why the organization matters. If you help people feel real purpose, you'll solidify long-term loyalty and commitment. Next, realize that people in great workplaces don't simply produce work. They do work, but they also have fun. Yes, work and fun do coexist in high quality workplaces. But this is only possible when the average relationship at work is decidedly positive. When your culture is defined by positivity far more than negativity, it's amazing how productive people can be, and how easy they find it to laugh.
You might want to throw in a ping pong table and some Nerf toys, too. It helps to surround people with fun. People who share fun care more about the relationships at work, thus they care more about getting the work done. Last but not least, destination workplaces offer choice and flexibility. Now, I know that because of what they produce, some workplaces must dictate how the work gets done, which limits employee choice. That makes sense. But there are many ways to help employees govern themselves, within limits.
Think about their benefits, what they wear, when they work, and where they work. Progressive firms strive to give employees latitude on these issues. Stated differently, they realize their job is to manage outcomes without interfering unnecessarily in the process. You give people choice and it's amazing how committed they'll become. Making your organization a highly desirable place to work is not impossible, and it's not so costly, that will break your budget. Spend time clarifying why the work matters. Find ways to have a little fun and create pockets where folks have real choice.
When you do, don't be surprised if your retention rates go up as you become a destination workplace.
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