How do you know you are working for a good employer? What makes a good employer and what makes for a lucky employee? The answer to this question can be little less obvious than you might expect. After all, employee satisfaction can come down to a number of factors, some of which are not necessarily related to any outstanding qualities your employer may display. It could simply be the nature of the work itself that you appreciate so much.
Intimate knowledge of the industry you work for will certainly help you work out if you are working for a particularly good company or employer within that industry. However, for many people, the points of reference that would allow for comparison with other places of work within the industry is not always readily available.
The goal of any company is primarily, of course, the achievement of its productivity goals. Nevertheless, this is not something that is mutually exclusive with the goal of creating a positive employee experience. In fact, it is well documented that a sense of belonging to a particular company – which cannot exist without the creation of a positive environment where employees feel valued – is sure to increase workplace efficiency.
After all, the two go hand-in-hand. Poor company performance is sure to dispirit a workforce, leading in turn to a drop in productivity. It is a vicious circle, and the companies that perform best are those with a committed workforce who feel integral to the company’s success.
Therefore, if you feel like a valued employee at work, then you probably already know that you are working for a good employer. But what are the specific indications that this is the case? What are the general signs that a company is one that values employees and inculcates a positive working environment?
Signs of a Good Employer
If you find yourself in the privileged position of being able to appraise a new role before taking it, or if you are already in a role but are unsure whether it is right for you, here are a few of the indications that you are dealing with an employer who values employees:
They Value Careers, Not Simply Jobs
There is an important distinction here to be drawn between a job and a career. The latter of these implies progression on towards more senior and advanced roles, the taking on of greater responsibility and, most essentially, the sense that the employee is so much a part of a company that they have a future there. A job, on the other hand, is simply a role being filled.
There is a massive difference between working for a company where you simply fulfill a role and working for one that constitutes the beginning of a career. A recent study has shown that only 51% of people view their current job as a career, and what this shows is that far too many people are in the very definition of a dead-end job – something that pays the bills but is not expected to lead anywhere.
Therefore, if your employer values long-term professional growth and makes clear the promotion opportunities that are available, then they are already in that good half of employers who look to cultivate careers and not simply fill roles. The best of these employers are the ones that not only offer the chance of a long career, but also mentor you towards it as senior partners.
If your employer seems concerned not only with your employee satisfaction today but also how you see your future at the company, then you can be pretty sure you are dealing with one of the good ones – and that the job will lead somewhere exciting.
They Protect Your Safety Privacy as an Employee
Your privacy and safety are two quite different concerns, but they are united in that they are very much your employer’s responsibility. Moreover, they make all the difference between an employer worth working for and one best avoided.
In the information age, employee privacy essentially comes down to data security. How confident are you in a company’s data security policy? Are you even aware of what it is? A good employer will involve employees closely in its data security policy, and a good way to tell whether your data is being safely stored is to ascertain what responsibilities you have with the data you handle.
A good employer will develop a data security policy and will outline it in a document. This is a document you should see, and even sign off on. This combination of making all employees aware of the policy and delegating to them a certain degree of responsibility shows that a company has respect for data privacy. If a company has enlisted the aid of a GDPR audit consultancy, then this is also a very good sign.
Regarding your personal physical safety with your place of work, it should be fairly obvious if this is being respected. The safety policy should again be clearly outlined, this way you can always tell if it is being followed. Any compromise in this area is a particularly bad sign.
They Involve You in Certain Decision-Making Processes
Every decision a company’s management makes will affect certain groups of people, whether that be customers, partners, shareholders, or employees. As you might expect, the majority of decisions made at a company will affect this latter group, which includes you. It is therefore a great sign of you are in some way involved in those decisions, which can involve anything from office space management to company policy on customer care.
The way this can happen is twofold. Firstly, you should be kept well abreast of changes to the company; a lot of decisions made without knowledge of the wider workforce is something of a red flag. Secondly, employees should be frequently solicited for their opinions on potential changes. If this is happening, there should be both regular announcements keeping employees abreast of developments, as well as frequent employee meetings or surveys to gather opinions.
A great employer, then, is one that cultivates your career, cares for your wellbeing as an employee, and involves you in the direction of the company. If you can tick all three of these boxes, then you are working for a great employer.