Take a close look at a workplace, and there will be clues revealing either a successful operation or dysfunction.
Cheerful staff. “Entrepreneur” magazine confirms that cheerful staff in a relaxed atmosphere are perhaps the best clues that a workplace is desirable. They are a sign that management makes worker happiness a business priority.
Responsiveness. Responsive staff are a sign that they take their roles seriously and are professional. It portends a well-run business with the resources to provide benefits and career development opportunities.
Staff turnover. Low staff turnover implies competent human resources that are hiring and retaining the right people. The recruitment process often provides clues as to the management of the organization. “Forbes” magazine advises that an interview can provide clues to a potentially dysfunctional environment. Does the interviewer ask relevant questions? Are you made to jump through hoops that are out of context with job expectations?
Efficiency and organization. This applies both to the physical environment and the day-to-day operations of the business. Efficient processes and easily accessed resources are essential for people to work together. Disorganization leads to frustration and conflict. A messy and chaotic workplace may be a reflection of the general management of the firm.
Cleanliness. This point may seem strange but if a workplace is not hygienic, it reflects a disregard for staff. If health and safety standards are being disregarded, so are other industry codes and standards.
Business and Finances
Company success. A successful organization does not necessarily mean a wonderful place to work. Healthy financials may ensure that staff receive some benefits, but it does not insulate employees from such problems as poor management or discrimination in the workplace. A well-managed successful company, however, will value its staff and invest in training and career advancement. Some may even offer benefits such as work-life balance programs.
Company reputation. What does the “rumor mill” say about the company? Disenfranchised or unhappy staff will talk to friends and family. A quick Internet search can glean valuable information, but take into account who may be writing negative comments and their motives for doing so.
Advertising. A good workplace is an established one. A company that advertises excessively may be on a downward slide and trying to “drum up” business. Moderate advertising is a good sign that the company is financially stable, and not desperate for business in order to stay afloat.
Communication and Outreach
Community involvement. A company that is involved in the local community, sponsoring local charity events, and providing services to those in need, is one that sees the value in people. Involvement in community activities is a sign that management understands the power of outreach, building goodwill and long-term relationships.
Organizational structure. A company that encourages open communication and teamwork across departments, as opposed to a strict hierarchical structure, is one that is flexible and current. It might be hard to determine organizational culture from the outside, but discerning organizational workflow and communication lines at the interview stage is a wise idea.
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