“What if our company doesn’t get Great Place to Work-Certified™?”
It is a common question I get from clients when we meet for the first time. Many of them hesitate to engage us because they are uncertain if they have what it takes to be Great Place to Work-Certified™. They also ask me what steps they could take to kick start their journey, and I understand where they are coming from, sometimes it is not easy asking for your employees’ opinion of their workplace experience.
What’s more important here is the desire to listen to your employees and learn what you can do to become better employers. So, if you’re a business leader or an HR practitioner who finds yourself in a similar situation, you are not alone.
Over the years, I have observed companies that have built and sustained their unique workplace culture and I have spoken with leaders of the Philippines’ great workplaces who have inspired many, myself included. While each company or leader is unique, they have taken similar steps in building their employee culture, starting with …
1. Identify Your Culture Champions
Great leaders lead by example. When you’re building your company culture, you want to have people who imbibe the values of your organization and will show everyone else the way. These people are your culture champions. When it comes to culture champions, no one is better suited for this role than your executives and managers. Naturally, employees take their cue from the leadership team on how they will conduct themselves within the organization.
The Human Resources and Marketing departments will also play a crucial role here. HR will be responsible for identifying the company’s culture champions and articulating the company’s values, while marketing will promote these values to the employees.
All three must work together in creating your company’s values and instilling these among your employees.
“Creating an employer brand is a tripartite framework. The CEO serves as your executive sponsor, because no matter how passionate your HR person or marketing head is, it won’t be successful if there’s no buy-in from the highest ranking executive.”
– Cathy Ileto, Director and Board of Trustee, Public Relations Society of the Philippines
Having said that, you should also recognize certain employees who excel in living out your company values. They, too, are your culture champions.
2. Spell Out Your Definition of a Great Workplace
Each organization has its own unique culture, but not everyone discovers what it is exactly that makes them different. While you may be tempted to replicate what top employers do to become a great workplace, you’re not guaranteed the same results because of your uniqueness. Instead, you need to start listening to your employees.
The Great Place to Work® Trust Index© survey is the tool we use to help organizations listen to their employees and understand what makes them special. Even if you don’t get certified the first time, your employees’ feedback will serve as a goldmine of information to find out what you’re doing right and discover opportunities to do better.
“When we embarked on our Great Place to Work-Certification™ journey, never in our wildest dreams as a company did we even think that we would be awarded as one of the Philippines’ Best Workplaces. We went through this whole process not thinking of the award for us. It was primarily more of an introspection and a reflection of what else we can do for our employees.” – Von de Leon, CEO, Western Union-AROC
3. Design Your People Practices with Intent
It is always tempting to launch numerous programs that you think will benefit your employees. But as with many things, it’s better to focus on quality over quantity. When it comes to your people practices, your employees care more about how you deliver them than anything else. They want to see and feel that you are sincere about each program that you create. This builds a sense of trust because they know that you will deliver when it counts the most.
Having the human touch is especially important these days when most of us are working from home. It’s difficult to build that sense of trust when you’re almost never in the same office space, so you need to work extra hard to reinforce that trust every single day.
You can build this confidence by making sure that your people practices are tightly integrated into and anchored on your articulated company culture.
What's Your Story of Creating a Great Employee Experience?
While I may have spoken to a lot of companies about building their company culture, I always find it fascinating to hear about each of their stories, including the challenges they faced and effective solutions that worked for them. So, if you have similar inspiring stories to share, please message me today. I’d love to hear from you!
Antoniette Talosig is the Managing Partner of Great Place to Work® Philippines and the Lead Consultant for Singapore. Driven by her passion to help people be the best that they can be, Toni started Great Place to Work® in the Philippines with a vision to create a high-trust workplace experience for every Filipino. She has close to two decades of partnership with some government agencies, SMEs, MNCs and some Fortune 100 companies across industries and geographies. Toni believes being a mother is the greatest adventure of her life and she enjoys seeing the world with her family.