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10 Qualities of a Great Workplace

Blog | Building Culture   |   November 14, 2015

by Janina Aritao

“Just as Asia is awakening as an economic power, so too are its best workplaces rising to new levels of trust, pride and camaraderie. And they are on the forefront of a new, hopeful era of better workplaces throughout the globe,” Ed Frauenheim, the Director of Global Research and Content at Great Place to Work,  said in a recent article called “The Great Workplace Era Emerges in Asia“.

Companies need to be competitive, and have a strong, positive workplace culture is even more significant now than ever, especially here in Asia where many workplaces are known to be toxic. Today’s workplace has evolved, and work environment and culture matter just as much as the work itself. Doing what you love and loving where you do it go hand in hand.

But what makes a great workplace? Here are our top ten qualities:

1. A safe environment

More than just physically safe, a workplace should be an environment where people feel welcome, wanted, and protected. Ed Frauenheim says in his article “Five Reasons to Work at a Great Workplace” that “great workplaces promote health and wellbeing. In contrast to toxic workplaces that harm employees, the best workplaces provide key features of healthy environments, such as job autonomy, help with work-life integration and job security.”

2. A culture of caring

The workplace should be a community of people who care for one another, an environment where being vulnerable, asking for help, or giving help is not frowned upon. We believe leaders should take the lead by demonstrating care and initiating conversations about things outside of work. “We need to build more organizations that prioritize the care of human beings,” says Simon Sinek in the book “Leaders Eat Last”.

We believe it is important to have meaningful relationships in the office. “I love it when I see our staff going out for lunch together,” says Rachel Ong, our Chief Executive.

3. Shared values

Shared values contribute to great teamwork and unity. Work will definitely have its highs and lows, and teams that share the same priorities and level of dedication will be able to overcome any challenge.

Our values displayed prominently on our office wall

4. Meticulous care for physical space

A workplace is not just a venue. It’s an environment. It contributes greatly to the work experience. Companies that take extra care of their workplace exhibit consistency in their care for people. Google, number one in the 2015 World’s Best Multinational Workplaces, has a great reputation for a work environment designed to be playful yet productive, and that motivates staff and cares for their needs.

5. Trust

“Trust is the foundation of a great workplace and a key ingredient in employee engagement and business success,”  Ed Frauenheim says in The Great Workplace Era Emerges in Asia“Building trust requires nothing more than telling the truth,” says Simon Sinek. In a world where sugar-coating words or using manipulative language is the norm, honesty is a breath of fresh air. Leadership that is transparent and trustworthy inspires a culture of trust.

6. Shared vision

“Even in what might seem to be drab industries, the best companies tie jobs to meaningful missions. Like the way household cleaning products maker SC Johnson frames its work as making “great products that make life better for families,” Ed Frauenheim points out in Five Reasons to Work at a Great Workplace.

“Though it may take small steps to make a big leap, it is the vision of the big leap and not the action of the small steps that inspires us. And only after we have committed ourselves to that vision can we look back at our lives and say to ourselves that the work we did mattered,” says Simon Sinek.

A place with a great vision makes for a great workplace that facilitates meaningful use of one’s time.

7. Fun!

This one’s a given. A work environment must be enjoyable — a culture of joy and joking. People who laugh more at work visibly are more fulfilled, take it from a company whose Chief Executive is a comedian at heart.

8. Commitment to growth

A great workplace is a team that is committed to the growth of the business as well as the growth of one another as well. One of the best work motivators are learning and growing, and when we learn and grow together, the satisfaction is doubled.

9. Commitment to excellence

Performance matters as the sense of fulfillment is derived from excellence. Top performers take pride in doing a great job.

“To really inspire us, we need a challenge that outsizes the resources available. We need a vision of the world that does not yet exist. A reason to come to work. Not just a big goal to achieve. This is what leaders of great organizations do. They frame the challenge in terms so daunting that literally no one yet knows what to do or how to solve it.” says Simon Sinek in “Leaders Eat Last”.

10. Cultural diversity

“We try to focus on our uniqueness and commonalities, and not on our differences. By allowing people to be themselves, they are more willing to collaborate,” says Elizabeth Goueti, a ROHEI intern and a Diversity and Inclusion advocate from Pearson Education. “Having different perspectives makes us stronger.”

At the heart of what we do at ROHEI is encouraging great workplace cultures and imparting workplace values. It is a joy for us to share this with our clients. We are constantly learning and adapting, inspired by companies and leaders who believe in the power of culture and the importance of people. All workplaces are different but we can all share the same passionate commitment to our people.

Our hope is that we can continue to spread this culture and values in the global workforce, giving opportunities for people to have meaningful work experiences, and for their workplaces to empower them to be the best they can be.

ROHEI Corporation is among the top 5 Best Companies to Work 2015, Great Place to Work Singapore’s inaugural list. 

 

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