Experts ask organisations to create employee-friendly work environment
Experts have called for a work environment that makes every employee feel valued. The experts, who spoke at the 7th edition of The Great Place to Work Award in Lagos, recently, also advised organisations to give their workers the opportunity to strike a balance between work and life, saying that was the biggest conversation now.
They also urged organisations to acknowledge the individual differences of their employees and how these differences contribute to its culture and business outcomes.
The Great Place to Work Institute is a people analytics and recognition provider with expertise in employee engagement and workplace transformation.
Speaking at this year’s award, Country Director, Great Place To Work, Nigeria, Victor Ligbago, said for over 30 years, researches conducted by the institute have demonstrated that trust was the essential ingredient in creating and sustaining great workplaces, empowering employees to go the extra mile, exhibiting behaviours that are essential to the experience of those that they deal with daily and improved performance at work.
He said: “In Nigeria, we have been in business for over nine years, looking for great work places, looking for organisations who invest in their employees, creating the kind of experience that will enable these employees give their best to achieving their business goals and objectives.
“Interestingly, it started with our founder; he was not impressed with the practices that he had as a journalist. And so he was looking for bad places to work, but he was advised on the contrary to look out for great work places. It appeared that that would be impossible. But when he developed a model and began to conduct interviews and surveys, he realised that there were organisations with great practices, organisations whose employees trusted the people they worked for, took pride in the work they did and enjoyed the people they worked with.
“These employees gave their personal best to achieving organisational goals and objectives. And ever since then, we just thought of championing a great place to work because they exist. Their leaders create great work places, and it would be nice to recognise these organisations, celebrate them and encourage others to do same.”
On the criteria for picking the awardees, Ligbago explained: “To be a best place to work, there are two criteria your employees have to vote for you. We have to look at what the company’s management is doing to build that experience. So we use two tools – the trust index tool, which allows us to ascertain how the employees feel about the organisation and the culture audit tool, which allows us to measure how the organisation is creating practices that ultimately generate the kind of experience the employees want. When we get the trust index and culture audit, we take 70 per cent of the trust index score and 30 per cent of the culture index score; we sum them and if we are able to get to the threshold of a 110 per cent, you will be on the list of the best work places.”
He added: “Before a company can be listed, such firm must meet the criteria defined by the trust index survey. The trust index measures credibility, fairness, respect, pride and camaraderie. It means the workers trust their management, enjoy their job, are connected to their job and enjoy the team they work with.
The culture audit is saying the management style and practices by which a company leads its employees are the best practices. If they are not best practices, then they can’t be on our list.”
Speaking with The Guardian, Head, Employee Engagement and Culture at Sterling Bank, Adesola Awofeso, said: “We won six awards – the Overall Best Place to Work (large corporate organisation), Best Work Place for Leadership (large corporate), Inspiring Practices, Corporate Social Responsibility and Best Quality of Life. The interesting part is that we are not the one telling our stories; it is our customers, vendors and employees.
“This is a validation of the hard work we have been putting together for a long time. As a brand, we are particular about changing the workplace narrative; we believe that we can be the best employer of choice and still be the best company. So, for us, it validates the fact that we are doing the right things and inspiring other organisations. For us, we just started and the reward for hard work is more work. So, it is just the beginning.”
On the unhealthy cultures employers need to change, he said: “The culture that the ones at the top are the most intelligent people must stop. We are looking at diversity and inclusion globally and I think that generations that are going to the work place now, the Y and the Z are equally as smart. So, organisations must synergise both the baby boomers, the generation Z and Y and have an inclusive workforce and then, optimal creativity and productivity.”