Connecticut Employment Lawyers Association Weekly (1/30/12)

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Topic of the Week  Good Fortune: Creating a Better Workplace

Good Fortune: Creating a Better Workplace

  • Herograms
  • Happiness Committee
  • On-Site Food Trucks
  • New Ideas
  • Girls Night Out

Good Fortune: Creating a Better Workplace

Fortune Magazine recently announced it's 100 Best Companies to work for. Which got me thinking about how this kind of list of great companies to work for mostly make us feel bad about where we work. How can our company compete with a corporation that allows employees to use the company jet during a crisis (NuStar Energy) or another company that guarantees that no executive will earn more than 19 times that of the average employee salary (Whole Foods) or free food for all employees (Google)? We can't.

That's why I'm taking a different approach to the idea of best companies. I'm looking at policies and programs from the best companies that you could initiate in your own company. That's right, even if you aren't a CEO or top executive, you can still initiate the five ideas I've listed below to make your department or company a better place to work. It will take some work and possibly some risk, but better workplaces don't often happen all on their own, they need someone to light the spark.

Herograms. The Everett Clinic of WA lets each employee acknowledge great performance by a coworkers through their herogram program. When a person receives a herogram it can be turned into a day off or cash prizes. Really. Now maybe you can't offer prizes quite that rich, but you can come up with creative ways to recognize, and encourage, heroes in your hallways.

Happiness committee. WA's Perkins Coie has a happiness committee where employees meet on a regular basis to discover new ways to create a better workplace. The happiness committee has a reputation of throwing some of the best parties anywhere. Talk to your Human Resources Department, Employee Assistance Program or your manager to see if you can find news ways to get people happier and more productive.

On-Site Food Trucks. Factset Research Systems of CT. invites food trucks to come to their campus on a regular basis. Not the construction site chicken salad on white bread trucks, but gourmet trucks including the cupcake truck. This creates a fun atmosphere and brings employees together. Who knows, fun and great food could only be a phone call away.

New Ideas. Awards. Zappos.com of NV makes new ideas fun by having an awards program where people are recognized for great new ideas. This is way beyond any suggestion box, this approach is both fun and rewarding. What can you do to launch a similar effort in your company?

Girls Night Out. CA's Autodesk has a monthly girls night out featuring karaoke parties and a WII dance off. In fact, the Girls Night Out has been credited with creating the idea of having a dancing flash mob, a hit at the company's annual holiday party. It has also created a lot more camaraderie among women employees.

But don't stop here. Brainstorm with your coworkers about cool things that you can do to make yours a better workplace. Who knows, from a modest start maybe the corporate jet could eventually be at your disposal?

Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via bob@workplace911.com.
 

Thought of the Week

""Employees are never more than 150 feet away from a well stocked pantry." "

–Google Employee

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    • Work/life balance, 28%
    • Opportunities to learn and grow, 27%
    • Ability to accomplish goals, 20%
    • Camaraderie with coworkers, 13%
    • A good working relationship with boss, 11%

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