Most successful companies recognize two basic facts. Firstly, employees are the company’s most valuable resource, and secondly, for the company to be efficient, it needs to get the most out of all its employees. By and large, even the most successful companies struggle with achieving a balance. Lean one way and you have high turnover; lean the other way and you start down the road to inefficiency. The highly successful companies, though, have taken this balance to a whole new level by focusing on employee wellbeing.
Case studies done on highly successful companies such as Apple, Berkshire Hathaway, and Google point to certain similarities. The companies are recognized for qualities such as empowerment, innovation and creativity, quality of life, and monetary incentives. What does all this mean? How does it translate into the daily life of an average employee?
As an employee of one these companies, you come to work energized and ready to face a new day. The day will bring stressful situations, but the architecture of the company allows and empowers you to resolve the issue and move on. You’re constantly discovering new and innovative ways to prevent and solve problems. The company trusts you to make the right decisions, and people above and below you work with your decisions.
Things happen a particular way because that’s the right way. The company recognizes and rewards your performance. The company encourages you to disconnect from your work several times a day and provides avenues to do so. You work to your deadlines and not to the time clock. Where you work from doesn’t matter. You shape how you merge your private and work life, thereby ensuring quality of life.
In times of crisis, someone unknown in the company will step in and help you out. You often volunteer to do the same and you’re amazed by the new things you learn. You leave at the end of the day with a fresh mind and high energy levels. Your company cares for your mental and physical wellbeing.
Some companies are even going further. With spiraling medical costs, it is important to keep employees healthy. It is also important to ensure that the workplace is drug and alcohol-free. Employees with drug or alcohol-related problems can quickly vitiate the work atmosphere apart from having performance and liability issues. The topic of drug and alcohol testing is a sensitive one as it tries to balance the needs of the company with the employee’s right to privacy. Increasingly, companies are starting with voluntary testing and using simple tests such as the oral fluid lab tests to detect substance use in the past 48 hours. Often, it is about taking that first step toward creating a voluntary culture and then allowing it to spread across the company.
The best tip to get the most out of your employees is to care for their wellbeing. Qualities such as empowerment, innovation and creativity, quality of life, and monetary incentives shouldn’t just be buzzwords. The employee must be able to relate to these and more in his or her day-to-day work life.