Anyone who has felt stifled by the sloth and bureaucracy of a large organization has only one dream. That is, to create a nimble and agile workplace. As long as they have only one employee i.e. the founder-cum-CEO-cum-coffee-machine, things go smoothly. The hard work pays off; business grows and soon becomes big enough to need office space, some employees and more people. That is when the nimble start-up begins to look like a bloated wooly mammoth. The dream company begins to resemble the massive behemoth the founder ran away from. That is ironical - is it not?
What should someone do to create a dream workplace? Are large organizations at a disadvantage when it comes to creating the magic? Is there a business benefit that justifies our desire to build the best workplace on earth? Apparently there is.
Highly engaged employees are on an average 50 per cent more likely to outperform firms with most disengaged folks – by 54 per cent in employee retention and by 89 per cent in customer satisfaction. A recent Harvard Business Review article spoke about six characteristics of a dream organization:
- You can be yourself
- You’re told what’s really going on
- Your strengths are magnified
- The company stands for something meaningful
- Your daily work is rewarding
- No stupid rules
If you unpeel these six statements, they represent very basic human needs – to be valued, to grow, to do work, which is meaningful and not just busy-work, and experience a sense of autonomy.Take the example of Netflix. It’s people philosophy and core idea was that a great place to work is not about free sushi or free massages. It is about working with great people. So the approach to hiring can make a huge difference in building a dream workplace.
If you want to build a dream workplace and don’t know where to start – I recommend that you start with hiring. That can be approached in three ways.
If you need to run a factory where efficiency is the final goal, make sure everyone you hire conforms to a mold. That makes each employee replaceable with the other without impacting the final output. Such a workforce is managed by clear rules and ensuring compliance.
If you are in the business of ideas and innovation, then make sure your recruitment focus should be on hiring people who are diverse, highly skilled and share the same dream. Such people have to be managed by the culture and not compliance. Every person hired into the team can make a difference to the quality of the output and the culture of the organization. Dreams flourish in these workplaces.
Finally, the dream workplace needs to have strong feedback mechanisms to listen to customers and monitor the heartbeat of the employees. The organization has to make minute course corrections on a continuous basis. Organizations that are able to connect to the employees and customers will win in the marketplace.
Dream organizations build deep emotional connections. The dream workplace finally exists in our heart.