Best Work Environments

Figure 1: Work Environment Characteristics

Figure 1: Work Environment Characteristics

In the last post, we discussed how leaders affect the work environment.  Intentionally or unintentionally, the actions we take as leaders define the nature of our workplace, compatibility of our workforce to our environment, and the resulting outcomes.  Although we might spend considerable time on aligning employees and roles as well as resources and outcomes, just as important is the alignment of employee and environment.

What do employees tell us about alignment and environment? A 2012 HCS survey asked 2,500 employees in 400 organizations what they thought made an environment more productive.  Two relatively opposite characteristics were given and each respondent selected one. Not too surprising, the most selected or positive options scored better than the alternatives.

The biggest difference by selection related to environments that recognize contribution compared to those that do not.  Ninety-one (91) percent of respondents would rather work in an environment that recognized contributions instead of simply uniformity.  Trust and respect follow closely with approximately a six percent spread meaning there is overwhelming support for being a trusting environment over a non-trusting and one where people respect each other instead of interact in a caustic manner. The lowest level of differential pertains to collaboration, professional growth, and work-life balance.  However, when considering the semi-dichotomous hierarchy, the differentials tie nicely into a recessionary economy. As an employee, I am much less worried about work-life balance, then being recognized in my job.

What does this tell us?

  • We need to make sure we recognize those that make us successful even when we may not have additional compensation to provide;
  • Even if there is uncertainty and concern over the future, it is better to be in an open, trusting, and respectful environment;
  • As the market comes back, the desired environment should become more comprehensive; and
  • Watch for big changes in professional growth and work-life balance.
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