It's a big idea. It's about creating a better world by creating better workplaces. More vibrant businesses, more innovative products and better human relationships — these are the ingredients of a bright future.
The organizations on this list get it; they are the 100 Best Workplaces in Canada. But for most, it didn’t start with a grand notion of altruism. Typically, it begins with leaders that want to improve the financial performance and quality of their enterprise - although building a better world is a pretty decent by-product.
The workplaces featured on this list represent great diversity in terms of sector, industry, size, and location. Each has pioneered a unique path to greatness. But there is one thing they all have in common – TRUST.
Employees who trust their managers give their best work freely, and their extra effort goes right to the company’s bottom line. Managers who trust their employees allow innovative ideas to bubble up from all levels of the company. Employees who trust each other report a sense of camaraderie and even the feeling of being part of a family. Together they deliver far more than the sum of their individual efforts.
Building workplace trust is the best investment your organization can make, leading to better recruitment, lower turnover, greater innovation, higher productivity, more loyal customers and higher profits.
This understanding of great workplaces is based on almost 30 years of research compiled by the Great Place to Work Institute which, addition to producing this list, also publishes similar lists in 48 countries including our flagship 100 Best Companies list in Fortune magazine (US).
Each year, the Institute surveys over 2.5 million employees as part of the process. It’s what makes this study so credible; the primary determinant used in selecting winners is an employee survey. So there’s only one way to get on this list – and that’s if your employees put you there.
By tracking leaders in these organizations, and learning from their successes, the Great Place to Work Institute has created a model for building performance based on trust.
And here’s the good news. While the concept of trust may seem intangible, the management practices required to nurture trust are actually quite straightforward and can be learned and embedded into your culture.
The key is helping your people managers, at all levels of the organization, to understand the pivotal role they play in creating a great workplace. It requires a shift in perspective where everyday tasks, often seen as obligations, become opportunities to build trust between managers and employees.
This isn’t about drastic change, it’s about infusing what you already do with a renewed sense of generosity, individual intention, and inclusion. The graphic displayed here shows nine key management practices that offer a concrete starting point. These represent poignant moments in the lifecycle of an employee, and which present managers with a valuable opportunity to make small changes in the everyday reality of their employees.
This is what sets the organizations on this list apart from their peers. It’s not about sweeping change. It’s about the cumulative impact of all the little things, the day to day interactions between individuals that nurtures trust and supports a great workplace culture.
9 Key Management Practices for Building a Culture of Trust
- Inspiring. Employees learn and understand how their job has meaning for the organization and for society, beyond earning a salary and making a profit for the business.
- Speaking. Management goes to great lengths to be open and transparent, offering access to information across the board, enabling and encouraging employees to contribute beyond the scope of a narrowly defined job.
Listening. Clear and open systems for incorporating peoples’ ideas, for including people in decision-making, and for airing concerns and grievances, are prevalent.
- Thanking. Management recognizes and rewards good work and extra levels of effort; strives to create a climate of approval.
- Developing. Focus is on nurturing individuals’ gifts to foster personal growth and development as well as offering job-specific training.
Caring. A multiplicity of systems and programs are in place for creating a caring environment for the individual and his/ her family
- Hiring. Focus on hiring for potential and character of the person, rather than primarily on skill set. New employees are welcomed and assimilated into the team with orientation programs, personal sponsorships, and the like.
- Celebrating. Celebrations of both personal milestones and company successes are built into the way people work together.
- Sharing. Employees share in the fruits of their labour in a variety of ways; rewards are egalitarian in nature.
NOT ON THE LIST?
If your workplace isn’t on this year’s list but you think it should be, we encourage you to participate in the 2014 list of Best Workplaces in Canada. We are now accepting nominations at www.greatplacetowork.ca.