Because I’m Happy
Happy is not in the lexicon of what is considered the usual business lingo. We’re more accustomed to talking about profitability, efficiency and sustainability. Ironically, for those key factors to be in the ideal optimum state, employee welfare and engagement must be a priority for any forward-thinking organisation. This brings into focus the oft-blurred lines between corporate objectives and clearly aligned hiring and on-boarding best practices. This is also where HR practitioners excel, or ought to anyway, by helping senior management employ holistic hiring solutions with employee contentment as a priority.
Let’s get one thing straight: as much as companies strive to be the coolest place to work and be revered for their compensation and benefits package, it is, above everything else, a place where services are exchanged for payment. That’s the primary reason organisations conduct executive searches or hire HR consulting firms — to help them find the best and brightest. Keeping them on board is another story. It’s not lost on managers that with strategic succession planning in mind, they must maintain the interest of young hires who are increasingly more into personal development and instant gratification. But how does a leader strike that tricky balance between getting their pound of flesh and creating a family centric culture that encourages employees to act in the company’s best interest as if they were the CEO and founder? Many start-ups go as far as offering stock options or up the ante with paternity leave and on-site childcare or gym amenities. The fact is that organisations are awakening to the stark realities of competing for the loyalty of their internal customers almost as much as they do for external ones.
The subheading alludes to the framework and peculiar strategic objectives of any given company. In this instance, though, I’m referring to a model business environment, one that sets a standard for how team members are given primacy in one of the areas that matter most — their physical workspace. Over the last decade or so, much has been made of some high-profile examples of uber trendy, downright cool places to work. If you Googled ‘cool places to work’, Google itself would probably pop up as a top search item. As self-serving as that may seem, it’s also reputed to be true. The same can be said for Facebook and other open-floor designed corporate spaces — where enclosed offices are often seen as closed-off communication, and jeans, trendy tees and sneakers are the new normal for office attire. A local example of an international brand that employs this approach in some respect is Vistaprint. But don’t be fooled by the facade of employee chill-out areas, flashy paint jobs, or mini-gyms. Creating a ‘happy’ environment for your team members is never just about stylish or lavish amenities. It starts and ends with a genuine appreciation for the value and contribution each team member brings to the table, and backing that up at every level of their engagement and compensation.
Debra Fraser, MBA is CEO of Caribbean HR Solutions, a board member of the Business Process Industry Association of Jamaica, a member of the Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica, and a member of the Society of Human Resources Management in the US. Please direct comments to email@example.com