What do people really value in their work environment?


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You can’t grasp success without the right people. As the economy continues to grow and new business opportunities present themselves for dynamic British companies, the last thing those firms want is to lose their vital employees through dissatisfaction at work.

In the latest survey by workplace provider Regus, over 4,000 UK professionals were asked which factors are most likely to help create a happy work atmosphere. More than two thirds (68%) nominated respect for colleagues as the key ingredient. Vocally acknowledging the work of others (voted by 46% of respondents) and encouraging skills and knowledge sharing (45%) were voted second and third most important factors. Helping out struggling colleagues was also nominated by 37% of respondents.

These findings point to four essential aspects of successful management to hold on to good people.

Firstly, a culture of respect is vital, whether someone is junior or senior. There is never an excuse for arrogance or lack of courtesy. Senior managers should not flex their muscles by being pointedly late for meetings, for instance. In many major corporations, the CEO often makes a point of regularly 'visiting the troops'. Where he or she does so, you often get far more motivated and commercially successful companies

Secondly, make sure that your people's successes are acknowledged where they are due. Dig deep to make sure you know who has done what, rather than letting the team leader get all the glory. Complement colleagues who celebrate the achievements of everyone in their team, right down to the most junior members.

Thirdly, it is crucial that staff are sharing skills and knowledge. People who hoard knowledge and insights are not doing the best for their employer. Why not introduce a quarterly incentive for knowledge sharing, with staff encouraged to submit their entries each time? Great teams are made up of people who are confident enough to share their insights and create debates that lead to the most creative and commercially brilliant initiatives.

Last but not least, always be prepared to help people who are struggling. The help you give them will usually pay back many times over, in terms of their extra effort and loyalty when it is needed. Kind gestures contribute massively to people's job satisfaction, which is just as important to them staying with you as hard rewards such as salary and perks. Remember, first class behaviour creates first class managers.

Clever leaders will be using the time left this year to nurture their key staff with courtesy, respect and acknowledgement to ensure that they have the best team for commercial performance going into 2012.


Celia Donne (pictured) is regional director at Regus

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