Did you know that the second greatest motivator for any human (according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) is the need to feel respected and valued by others? It’s one of our most fundamental requirements for happiness.
And considering how much time your employees spend working—either remotely or in a physical office—it’s crucial that you create an environment where employees know the management team truly respects and values them and is dedicated to offering a positive employee experience.
If you’re worried your workplace isn’t as employee-centric as it should be, ask yourself each of the three questions below. The answers will help you uncover the areas where your company might be falling short.
What Does Your Employee Onboarding Process Look Like?
It doesn’t matter if you’re an intern or the CEO—starting a new job is stressful. And if an employer hasn’t taken the time to show you the ropes, starting off on the right foot will be even more difficult.
Rather than waiting until the employee’s first day to begin the process, onboarding should actually start as soon as the offer letter is signed. Essentially, you need to transition from onboarding to “pre-boarding.”
Within a couple days following acceptance of the offer, your HR department should send the employee all of the important new hire documentation. This includes information about health insurance, retirement plans and company policies as well as how to set up a company email account and create logins for the resources they’ll be using regularly, such as the payroll portal.
Have the employee’s soon-to-be-manager reach out and give them a thorough rundown of their responsibilities and what they can expect during their first day, week and month. While this was likely already discussed during the interview process, it doesn’t hurt to give the employee a refresher before they start.
It’s also a good idea to assign a member of the employee’s new team to guide them through their first few days—including showing her around the office, introducing her to various team members and giving her a feel for the culture and dynamic of the office.
How Much Influence Do Your Employees Have?
Since employees are the group most impacted by any decision regarding operations, the workplace or processes and procedures, their feedback should have the greatest weight.
In an employee-centric workplace, any conversations about opportunities for improvement in the company or proposals for furthering the organization's mission are lead primarily by employees. Management can (and should) help guide any initiatives when appropriate but, for the most part, they should let the workforce be in the driver’s seat.
Now, undoubtedly, some employee input regarding how the business should be run will be less-than-realistic, but you shouldn’t simply ignore seemingly outrageous requests. Remember: at one point the eight hour workday was a pie in the sky idea. Respect and acknowledge every employee’s opinion, implement the suggestions you can and take a mental note of those you cannot.
Does Your Workplace Encourage Transparency?
According to Aberdeen’s report, An Employee-Centric Digital Workplace: From Onboarding Through Engagement and Retention, 28 percent of organizations believe a lack of transparency and poor communication between upper management and lower-level employees regarding internal decisions plays a major role when an employee decides to leave the company.
On the flip side, TINYpulse, a provider of employee engagement solutions, found there is a strong correlation between transparency from leadership and employee happiness.
There is no such thing as oversharing or TMI when it comes to communicating with your workforce. If you don’t give employees the whole truth regarding upcoming changes or important operational updates, rumors will inevitably start to swirl and you’ll end up with a workforce convinced the sky is falling.
Whether the decision will only impact a single team or if the entire organization will be affected, you must be upfront and honest from the get go. Explain the reasoning behind the change and what the organization hopes to accomplish by implementing this change.
Nurturing transparency at every level of the business and encouraging communication between the management team and the workforce is the hallmark of an employee-centric workplace because it builds an environment of mutual trust and respect. And when you demonstrate to employees that, ultimately, the business has their best interests in mind, it helps inspire them to feel more dedicated to the success of the organization.
The most successful businesses equip their employees with the tools, technology, knowledge and connections they need to grow as professionals and as individuals. These companies understand that failing to create an employee-centric environment is just as damaging to the business as failing to offer a customer-centric experience. Your workforce is the most important part of your organization—make sure they feel that way.
Editor's Note: This post was previously published on Inc.com and has been republished here with permission.