There’s something about walking into a workplace where you know people are happy to be there, don’t you think?

The air smells cleaner, the coffee tastes smoother and the people seem to smile at anything and everything, right?

The photocopier works every time, the computers never go down, and the CEO hands out cash bonuses every Friday evening from his own wallet.

Well, not quite.

But what we can say about “great places to work” is that they house more motivated and more engaged employees. They know how to offer their staff the right kind of development opportunities mixed with just the right measure of work life balance.

This not only results in higher levels of employee involvement and loyalty within your business, but also has a direct knock on effect on how productive and how innovative your company becomes.

Good HR managers know that in the current economic climate, a business needs to be able to prove that they provide their employees with value, reliability and professional fulfillment in order to attract and retain really talented employees and managers.

Nonetheless, it can be difficult to make your business stand out from the crowd in a highly competitive market place. Recruiting via social media sites allows all kinds of companies a slice of the talent management pie.

It’s therefore vitally important that HR managers can show their organisations to be a great place to work and that they look after their employees well.

Whilst offering a good remuneration package, performance-related financial reward and recognition are vital in attracting and recruiting better quality staff and sending out positive signals to the market place, the quality of the work that is being produced in the workplace and the level of employee engagement and involvement helps to drive this recognition much, much more.

In this regard, there are a number of steps that HR can take to increase the likelihood of being recognised as being an awesome workplace. Why not try these 5 simple HR strategies to get your company on next year’s “great place to work” list.

StupidlySimpleEmpower your people

Although empowerment is sometimes written off as a buzzword or fad in the workplace, there is no doubt that employees who have more responsibility and more ownership of their role have a greater sense of pride in the work that they do.

When you give ownership to your employees and allow them space to unfold and develop as they wish, they not only feel empowered, but they talk about it too.

It is important to determine the role of each employee and ensure that the level of responsibility and empowerment that they have is suitable, and finding these levels can bring about improvements in staff morale.

It’s not always easy to know how much responsibility to give to an employee before he or she gets overloaded, as this factor is overwhelmingly defined by personality.

In many cases, there is no need for every customer issue or team problem to be resolved by a supervisor and this is where HR departments should provide guidance for the right level of responsibility for each level of employee.

Bring the recruitment selection process in house

While using a recruitment agency can help to save time in the recruitment process, there is often a feeling that in doing so, a firm is losing out on developing a sense of style and atmosphere in their workplace.

Understanding the current workforce and the atmosphere in the workplace is crucial before thinking about the type of people that are needed to complement the workforce.

On top of that, knowing what works and what doesn’t – in terms of the personalities, behaviours and drives that the role requires – is not always easy for an external recruitment agency, who are driven by commission and are often ready to take on the first candidate that fits the bill.

A recruitment agency is likely to focus on the right person for the job but a company in charge of their own recruitment process will focus on the right person for the job and the company itself.

The most skilled or experienced person may not be the person who will engage and interact best with other departments or teams, so bringing the recruitment selection process in house can help to maintain the style of a company.

Using a combination of talent assessment, employee development and performance management strategy, you can do the job of your recruiter just as well, and at half the cost.

ALERT!: Attract higher-calibre employees without paying a recruitment agency to do it for you

Promote from within

One of the most important elements in keeping employees happy is to provide them with clear career paths and development opportunities.

Providing people with paths will help to reduce employee turnover and it should drive employee satisfaction because employees will know the standards and levels they need to achieve if seeking a promotion.

Firms who continually recruit management level staff from outside will have a lower level of contentment in the general workforce and tend to see a much higher level of executive turnover.

By providing a clear route of development for managers and employees, you’ll reduce the chances of your best people leaving after 6 months, and you’ll boost your employer brand at the same time.

Review your employees more

If you want your workplace to be a great place to work, you’ll need to make sure that you have a top-notch performance management strategy in place…and that ALL your managers are up to speed with it.

As part of this, why not just come straight out and ask staff what they currently think of their job and the workplace? Some managers may be afraid of hearing the truth, but in this case, “there’s no failure, just feedback”.

If people are not happy, ask them about the issues they face and what can help to make the workplace a more enjoyable one for them.

Whist implementing specific human resource strategies can help a firm make their workplace a happier one, sometimes the simplest solution is to ask about current problems.

It may be a simple solution to developing the employer brand but sometimes the simplest solutions are also the most effective.

Be more flexible

One of the things that often crops up when we’re talking about great places to work is workplace flexibility.

The nature of the working week is changing greatly nowadays and we all know that there are more effective approaches to work than sitting at a desk for 9 hours a day.

Some employees may benefit from being able to work from home at certain times. Other employees may benefit from altered working hours or even splitting shifts with other employees.

Showing a degree of flexibility can help a firm to reach out to employees, helping to make their working environment a better one.

The importance of work life balance is crucial in ensuring that your business is a good one to work for and flexibility can really help in this aspect.

Giving your employees more flexibility also promotes a greater level of trust between you and your teams, and in turn results in greater retention and lower attrition.

Do you have any tips, advice or strategies that you have used for creating a great place to work?

Which elements make a great place to work for you?

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