I love where I work. I have liked my job before. I have liked the people I work with before. I have hated where I worked before. I have been way underpaid before. I have been laid-off before. I have been on all sides of the spectrum. I have never, been able to say that I love where I work — up until now. Many times I have mused over why. I can’t be certain that I speak for everyone — as not everyone can thrive in the same work environments, but I can say that there is a distinct set of differences that add up to make my current employer the best place I have ever worked. If you want to learn a few lessons from them, here are some take-away thoughts:
- Challenge: The work is very challenging at times. We get to work on all kinds of technologies, at every skill level. We are constantly dabbling in a variety of technologies, with a variety of customer types and people. I have the type of mind that enjoys being tried and challenged — this works for me. Employees thrive with challenge in my experience.
- Opportunity: There is always opportunity to participate is company projects, helping to lead change, and to even dig in on projects and problems that can arise. I can choose how much — or how little — I can volunteer for. Make those options available, and keep your doors open — literally and figuratively.
- Work/Life Balance: I know. You are thinking that most companies claim to offer this. Well, I have been at some of those companies and I can tell you, I understand — most don’t. What I do know is that currently, and for the last several years, I work. We all do. However, the company consciously makes efforts to ensure that we are not overworked, that we can take time when we must, and that we are able to put family on the pedestal they deserve. There is a balance, and while we may not get every request we ask for, the management I deal with tries exceptionally hard to make sure we do.
- Fairness: The management team where I work, and who I report up to, have a habit of being fair — and trying hard to be. Be fair to the company and the company will be fair to you. Make that your motto.
- People: This is the most important one to me. Everyone in the office has mutual respect for one another. I think this comes from having some of the best and brightest minds on staff. When you earn the respect, instead of demand it, it just makes for better relationships. Learn to make sure the people that work for you are smarter than you are, that you foster teamwork and collaboration, that you allow a little play, and you will be in a great place.
- Training: This goes without saying. Don’t promise it and never deliver. Take a page out of my employer’s book and deliver on it. It does not have to be formal training, but there should be some. Balance on the job training, shadowing, collaboration, video training, classroom, and self-study. It works.
- Benefits: Don’t pinch pennies here. Ever.
Ultimately, I find that if you keep evaluating yourself (and the company) and look to be better, you will be. My current employer has earned my service and I hope to serve them well into the future. Help your employees feel the same way. If you don’t they might just end up working for my employer.