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What is a Great Workplace? Essay

Great workplaces are built through the day-to-day relationships that employees experience — not a checklist of programs and benefits. The key factor in common in these relationships is TRUST. From the Employee’s perspective, a great workplace is one where they: * TRUST the people they work for;

* Have PRIDE in what they do; and
* ENJOY the people they work with.
Trust is the defining principle of great workplaces — created through management’s credibility, the respect with which employees feel they are treated, and the extent to which employees expect to be treatedfairly. The degree of pride and levels of authentic connection andcamaraderie employees feel with one are additional essential components. What is a Great Workplace? The Manager View

From the Manager’s perspective, a great workplace is one where they: * ACHIEVE ORGANIZATIONAL OBJECTIVES;
* With employees who GIVE THEIR PERSONAL BEST; and
* WORK TOGETHER AS A TEAM / FAMILY in an environment ofTRUST There are nine practice areas where leaders and managers create an environment of trust. Great workplaces achieve organizational goals by inspiring, speaking and listening. They have employees who give their personal best by thanking, developing and caring. And they work together as a team /
family by hiring, celebrating and sharing. This fundamental model, confirmed by Great Place to Work through over 25 years worth of analysis of employees’ own opinions, is universal and consistent year-over-year, country-to-country. It applies not only to all organizations but to companies with diverse employee demographics. How Can Trust Be Measured?

We look at TRUST through two lenses. We assess the culture of the organization through answers provided on an employee survey, the Trust Index© employee survey, which is modeled on the five dimensions found in the employee view of a great workplace. And we look at the workplace through a Culture Audit©, organized by the nine practice areas in the management definition of a great workplace. This survey precisely measures the behaviours and the environment that forms the underpinning of world’s most desirable workplaces and successful businesses. Business leaders, academics and the media rely upon Great Place to Work metrics to establish an objective standard that defines a great workplace. These metrics – from the Trust Index and Culture Audit – form the basis of the methodology Great Place to Work uses to advise and train companies on how to transform themselves into great workplaces.

What Is the Purpose of a Workplace Policy?
by Neil Kokemuller, Demand Media

Policy manuals range from a few pages to tens or hundreds of pages. Related Articles
* Ideas for a Workplace Conduct Policy
* Purpose of Discipline in the Workplace
* Workplace Environment Policy
* Five Reasons for a Weapons-Free Workplace Policy
* Workplace Punctuality Policy
* Workplace Discipline Policy

Workplace policies establish boundaries for acceptable behavior and guidelines for best practices in certain work situations. They offer clear communication to your employees as to how you expect them to act. Policies
also contribute to the overall culture of the workplace, because they instill norms and values. Sponsored Link

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Policy Manual
Most workplace policies are communicated to employees through a company handbook or policy manual. Typically provided to new hires during orientation, the manual covers general categories of expected behavior such as proper dress, professional etiquette and basic work day procedures. The manual also usually addresses specific policy areas more unique to your organization. Some companies maintain an intranet or other mode of internal communication to update employees on new policies or changes between handbook printings. Uniformity

A primary reason you need policies is to create some level of uniformity in employee rights and responsibilities. Without clear policy direction, employees tend to have varying personal standards. With dress, for instance, some employees might opt to wear a suit and tie in an office setting, while others would wear jeans and a t-shirt. If consistency in this area is important, you should address this with a policy. Policies can also prevent internal conflict in these situations where employee discretion leads to different interpretations of proper conduct. Best Practices

Over time, you recognize what decisions and actions produce the best results for your business. Some policies simply direct employees to act in line with what best benefits their department or the organization. Many sales organizations, for instance, have policies for dress, etiquette, communication with clients and prospects and other behavioral topics with policies because they affect the level of success in garner new or repeat business. Safety

Safety is another driver of policies. You should include policies that address legal and ethical safety for the organization as well as personal
safety for employees. By stating expectations for legal and ethical behavior in your polices, you dissuade employees from regular activities that get them and you into trouble. Personal safety is especially concerning in plants or warehouses where dangerous equipment and manual labor are common. Strong policies and procedures related to worker safety helps prevent injuries and minimizes your company’s exposure to lawsuits. Limitations

The aforementioned purposes show clear value to thoroughly and clearly state policies. However, you can go overboard with policies if they infringe on employee rights and contribute to low morale. Only policies that have a purpose have value. Excessive policies, or those counter to the organizational culture, restrict creative thinking, lower morale and lead to poor bottom line results. Workplace Flexibility

What is workplace flexibility?Workplace flexibility is about when, where and how people work. It is increasingly an essential part of a creating an effective organisation. This article defines what ‘workplace flexibility’ means for an organisation, managers and employees, and highlights some common types of flexible work arrangements.In essence, workplace flexibility is about when, where and how people work . . .|

There isn’t just one definition of workplace flexibility, because it means different things to different people.

Basically, flexibility is about an employee and an employer making changes to when, where and how a person will work to better meet individual and business needs.

While the basic concept stays the same, it’s the type of flexibility which makes the difference.

Essentially, flexibility enables both individual and business needs to be met through making changes to the time (when), location (where) and manner (how)
in which an employee works. Flexibility should be mutually beneficial to both the employer and employee and result in superior outcomes. What are flexible work practices?

There are a range of creative and practical ways to change when, where and how work is organised:

When people work:
* Flexible working hours – altering the start and finish times of a working day, but maintaining the same number of hours worked per week (for example, 8am to 4pm instead of 9am to 5pm). It can also mean condensing standard hours per week into fewer days (for example, four days per week at ten hours per day) * Part-time work – generally speaking, working fewer than the standard weekly hours. For example, two days per week, 10 days over four weeks or two days one week and three days every second week * Variable year employment – changing work hours over the month or through the year, depending on the demands of the job (for example working more hours during busy periods and taking time off in quiet times) * Part year employment – also called purchased leave, this means that an employee can take a longer period of leave (e.g. a total of 8 weeks per year) by averaging their 48 week salary across 52 weeks. It’s sometimes called 48/52 * Leave – varying from leave in single days or leave without pay, to special or extended leave. For example, parental leave, family/carer’s leave, study leave, cultural leave and career breaks. Where people work:

* Working from home – also called teleworking, this means working away from the main office (i.e. at home) either full or part-time, and on a regular or intermittent basis. For most people, it’s working from home either occasionally or for an agreed number of days each week * Working remotely – in some industries people may work at a different office, or in a client’s workplace for some or all of their working hours. How people work:

* Job-sharing – two people sharing one full-time job on an ongoing basis. For example, working two and a half days each, a two/three day split or one week on and one week off * Phased retirement – reducing a full-time work
commitment over a number of years (e.g. from 4 days to 3 days per week) before moving into retirement. It can also mean becoming an “alumni”, i.e. that a “retired” employee returns to the workplace to cover peak work periods or to provide specialist knowledge * Annualised hours – working a set number of hours per year instead of a number of hours per week. © 2011 – Workplace

What is Workplace Bullying?
Workplace Bullying is repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators that takes one or more of the following forms: * Verbal abuse.
* Offensive conduct/behaviors (including nonverbal) which are threatening, humiliating or intimidating * Work interference – sabotage – which prevents work from getting done. ————————————————-

Why is it a Problem?
It is a problem that has invaded the life of 37% adult Americans without invitation. In its more severe forms, it triggers a host of stress-related health complications — hypertension, auto-immune disorders, depression, anxiety to PTSD. The person’s immediate job and often career are often disrupted.

To read more about the health harms from Bullying please visit the target section at the WBI website. For employers it’s a problem, too. Often, it is the least skilled who attack the best and brightest workers because of the perceived threat they imagine. When the perpetrator has the power to deprive her or his target of a livelihood, and the economic and health security the job represents, bullying is an abuse of authority. U.S. employers are loathe to stop bullying, let alone acknowledge its existence. ————————————————-

What is Currently Being Done about it?
American employees are stuck when working as at-will employees. Given that
there are six candidates for each job opening during this recession, people stay in miserable work conditions getting sicker each day from stress-related health complications. While working in less than desirable jobs in toxic work environments, they see the few workers’ rights eroded. Some brave, early-adopting employers realized that stopping bullying is good for business. Sioux City Iowa is the first school district in the nation to address workplace bullying for their adult employees. They have voluntarily created policies and credible enforcement procedures to purge destructive individuals. But these pioneering employers are few and far between. American unions have also begun to learn about bullying and some have even been trained to provide peer support for their bullied members. Bullying is a vexing problem for most unions when the mistreatment is member-on-member. Canadian unions have a mixed record from exemplary responses to eliminate bullying to denial. ————————————————-

Why Do We Need a Law?
Employers react to laws with internal policies. The real value of a law, and the true purpose of the WBI Healthy Workplace Bill, is to get employers to prevent bullying with policies and procedures that apply to all employees. The Bill, crafted by law professor David Yamada for the Healthy Workplace Campaign, gives good employers incentives to do the right thing by avoiding expensive litigation. For a more in depth discussion about why a law is necessary, please visit the FAQ section. ————————————————-

What Can I Do to Help
| Share with FriendsSpread the Word! Do you know someone who has been bullied? Share this website with them. There oughta be a law! More→| | Comment on ArticlesHave you read an article in your local paper or online? Use the opportunity to comment, tell your story and tell others about the campaign to get a law passed. More→| | Become a Citizen LobbyistVolunteer to work on the Healthy Workplace Campaign in your state. More→| There are many different ways you can help out, please visit our Take Action page for more information. ————————————————-

What about Outside the United States?
The U.S. is the last of the western democracies to not have a law forbidding bullying-like conduct in the workplace. Scandinavian nations have explicit anti-bullying laws (since 1994). Many of the EU nations have substantially more legal employee protections, which compel employers to prevent or correct bullying. Britain, the home of the term “workplace bullying,” has broader anti-harassment laws than the U.S. to cover bullying. Ireland has a strong health and safety code (2005) to address bullying. Canada’s first provincial law was enacted in 2004, the second in 2007, another in 2010, and the occupational health code for federal employees in 2008. Read more about the international movement.

Is There Any Scientific Research on the Topic?
Research on workplace bullying began in the late 1980’s in Sweden. Heinz Leymann was the pioneer. The field has since exploded exponentially, including articles and books in psychology, occupational health and medicine, epidemiology, and management research. We track past and current research in the Research sections of the WBI website. As scientists ourselves, we conduct and publish research for the general public, as well as for the academic community. *

Training Effectiveness

Workplace Environment and Employee Performance
An employee’s workplace environment is a key determinant of the quality of their work and their level of productivity. How well the workplace engages an employee impacts their desire to learn skills and their level of motivation to perform. Skills and motivation level then influences an employee’s: * error rate

* output rate
* level of innovation
* collaboration with others
* absenteeism, and
* length of service.
(See the results of research by Towers Perrin, BlessingWhite and Gallup Consulting.) The most important of these workplace environment factors that either lead to engagement or disengagement are shown in the following diagram. A close consideration of each of these factors is also very useful in ensuring that employees apply the skills they learn during training programs once they return to their workplace. Tending to the structural and interpersonal aspects of each of these factors enables employees to apply the required skills in a consistent and habitual way. Figure 1 – Workplace factors affecting employee performance

Workplace Performance Factors – A Short Guide
What does each of these nine key factors mean? The following is a brief explanation of each factor. * Goal-setting
Employees are involved in setting meaningful goals and performance measures for their work. This can be done informally between the employee and their immediate supervisor or as part of an organization’s formal performance management process. The key here is that each employee is actively engaged in the goal-setting process and takes ownership of the final agreed goals and measures. * Performance feedback

Information on how the employee is performing is fed back regularly to employees. This consists of both positive feedback on what the employee is doing right as well as feedback on what requires improvement. The feedback is objective and delivered with the appropriate interpersonal and conflict resolution skills and can be a mix of both informal feedback and feedback delivered as part of a formal performance management cycle. * Role congruity

The role that the employee is required to perform is consistent with their expectations on joining the organization and any subsequent training. The organization’s role expectations are typically reflected in formal documents, such as Job Descriptions and Role Specifications. These expectations are consistent with tasks allocated by the employee’s immediate
supervisor. * Defined processes

The organization constrains the variability of how work is actually performed through documenting processes and communicating such expectations to employees. The organization verifies on a regular or random basis that the work is actually performed in the way required. * Workplace incentives

The organization has determined what motivates its employees and has set up formal and informal structures for rewarding employees that behave in the way required. Rewards may consist of a mix of internal rewards, such as challenging assignments, and external rewards, such as higher compensation and peer recognition. * Supervisor support

Immediate supervisors act as advocates for employees, gathering and distributing the resources needed by employees in order for them to be able to do a good job and providing positive encouragement for a job well done. Supervisors display the interpersonal skills required to engage employees and enhance their self-confidence. * Mentoring/coaching

Skilled and respected people are available to employees to help them perform better in their current role and to assist them develop further into a future role. Mentors and coaches may be internal to an organization or external. Either way, they possess the necessary facilitation skills to assist employees develop and apply new sills. * Opportunity to apply

Time and material resources are available to employees, enabling them to perform to the best of their ability. Individual workloads and organizational systems and processes do not hinder employees from applying established skills or from practicing newly learned skills. * Job aids

The work environment is set up so that templates, guides, models, checklists and other such workplace aids are readily available to help minimize error rates and customer dissatisfaction. Each of these nine factors is significant in its own right. Taken together, they form a powerful coalition for maximizing the motivation and productivity of your employees. What
actions are you taking now to capitalize on these crucial factors for optimum performance in your workplace

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