Seven Workplace Attributes Desired by Top Performers

Flexibility

Top performers want the flexibility necessary to properly address concerns inside and outside the workplace. This might include flexible work schedules, liberal paid time-off policies, a nontraditional bereavement leave policy (take as much paid time off away from work to grieve for a loved one until the employee is ready to return to work), sabbaticals and employee benefits such as convenience services.

Opportunity

Top performers want the opportunity to advance within the organization and utilize their abilities to affect the organization and the community. They want challenging and interesting work and the opportunity to be engaged in the success of the organization. Examples include promotions from within, succession planning, suggestion systems, employee surveys and community service.

Recognition

Top performers want to feel appreciated. They want to be adequately compensated and rewarded for their efforts and their accomplishments. Examples include pay-for-performance programs, bonus plans, incentive pay, internal and external equity, ad-hoc cash and noncash rewards, a well-aligned compensation philosophy and public- and peer-recognition programs.

Development

Top performers want opportunities to further their professional and personal development. They want feedback about their performance and about how they can improve. Examples include training and development programs, training needs assessments, nontraditional performance appraisals, tuition reimbursement, and career coaching.

Security

Top performers want to work in a healthful and safe environment free from accidents, violence, harassment, layoffs and discrimination. Organizations that support a safe, secure and healthful workplace focus on emergency and safety training, wellness programs, workplace-violence prevention, disaster recovery programs, harassment training and policies, and cultural awareness training.

Support

Top performers want benefits that help support their physical and mental health and help them address other issues in their lives outside the workplace. Examples include medical, dental and vision insurance; short-term and long-term care; adoption assistance; child and elder care; wellness programs and convenience services.

Talent integrity

Top performers want to work in an environment where they can relate to, get along with and be challenged by  their co-workers. They want to be surrounded by other top performers. Organizations working toward hiring and retaining top performers utilize hiring assessments, behavioral interviewing, exit interviews, succession planning, nontraditional recruiting methods and mentoring programs.

If you want to expedite developing your workplace to attract and keep the best, there is an easy way to start. Just ask your top people how to proceed. Now, those will be the most important answers.

This post in an excerpt from the June 2008 Inside Business article “The Question is the Answer,” written by Pat Perry. Pat Perry is President of ERC (www.ercnet.org) and is responsible for the organization’s overall operations and strategic direction. ERC is Northeast Ohio’s largest employers’ association serving over 1,100 organizations employing over 400,000 employees in twenty-two Northeast Ohio counties.
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