The Five Elements of a 'Simply Irresistible' Organization

Apr 4 2014, 1:53pm CDT | by

New Deloitte Global Human Capital Research shows that organizations today must work hard to create a meaningful, humanistic work environment to drive engagement, performance, and a magnetic attraction in the market.

And this is good business. The Great Place to Work Institute has published studies which show that the “100 best places to work” outperformed the S&P 500 by over four-fold from 1990–2009 and there’s no reason to believe this won’t continue. (“The Great Workplace,” by Michael Burchell and Jennifer Robin.)

But there’s more. There’s a personal side to this story.

We as individuals also have to take care of ourselves, and Arianna Huffington’s new book Thrive (just published) can help us understand this issue. Huffington’s book and her new website The Third Metric redefines what success means: slow down, disconnect, get more sleep, and become more mindful about our lives.

Health creates wealth,” she says. Healthy, focused people are not only happier, they make better decisions, become better leaders, and drive greater value for their organizations.

Do business leaders understand this? Are we creating a workplace which lets people thrive? In most cases, not yet.

Our Global Human Capital Trends research, just completed, found a tremendous gap in the area of workforce engagement, stress, and overload.

Here’s the data: 79% of businesses are worried seriously about engagement and retention (it is their #2 issue after leadership) and two-thirds of business leaders cite “the overwhelmed employee” as a top business challenge. And Gallup research shows that globally only 13% of employees are highly engaged at work.

(View the Deloitte Human Capital Dashboard to explore the data interactively.)

Despite these numbers, only 8% of large companies feel they have programs to help employees adapt. Forty percent of us men work more than 50 hours a week and 80% of men want to work fewer hours. In order to thrive, we need employers, HR departments, and CEOs to help.

While most companies haven’t dealt with this issue, some have. Fortune’s Best Companies to Work For have built amazing workplaces — environments where people literally line up to apply for jobs. These organizations have created what we call a Simply Irresistible™ workplace. They not only attract great people, they also create an environment where people can truly thrive.

After studying this issue for the last year, I’ve concluded there are five key elements of the Simply Irresistible™ organization.

1. Meaningful work.

The first and perhaps most important challenge is to give people “good work.” Jobs must give people enough autonomy to be creative and enough time to perform well. Even call center workers want time to learn, improve, and help customers.

Studies show that companies that empower employees, give them the tools to succeed, and pay well outperform those who attempt to “reduce the cost of labor.” When we pay people fairly and give them cross training they learn, help customers, and improve operations. Call center, retail, health care, and hospitality workers all benefit from this approach.

In todays’ economy nearly every business drives value through service, intellectual property, or creativity. This means people are the product, so businesses should try to design jobs which give people what author Daniel Pink calls “autonomy, mastery, and purpose.”

2. Great management.

Management is one of the most important parts of any organization, and companies have to develop and support great leadership.

Our research shows that people thrive through coaching, feedback, and opportunities to develop. Managers who criticize people, demand too much, or avoid communication create stress and fear among employees. The same can be said for old-fashioned performance appraisals, which often create fear, reduce performance, and generate stress. We have to remember the nobility of management, and help people learn to manage others well.

We also have to teach managers how to be “mindful,” and help their employees slow down and see the big picture. One of the fastest growing competencies in leadership development programs is “self-awareness,” something Arianna Huffington describes in her new book.

(Read Learning to Be Yourself for more tips. If you’re interested in the topic of modern performance management and how to motivate high performers, please read the Myth of the Bell Curve.)

3. Growth opportunities.

Among the many reasons people leave companies, one of the biggest is for lack of opportunity. Our research clearly shows that organizations which invest more heavily in training, career development, and mobility outperform their peers in almost every industry.

But it has to go further. Not everyone will move into management or get promoted – Irresistible organizations enable facilitated talent mobility. People can move from job to job without fear of failure – supported by leadership as well as HR. Today only 3% of the companies we survey deliver strong mobility programs at all levels, yet this is one of the strongest drivers of engagement and continuous learning.

What happens when you give people the opportunity to grow? People stay excited, the business becomes more agile and innovative, and high performers want to stay.

4. An inclusive, flexible, fun environment.

Companies that have ping pong tables, free food, and flexible vacation time show that they care. These benefits are fairly inexpensive to provide and they give people the freedom to work as they want to work. There are companies that have bowling alleys, and others with nap rooms (something I feel like I could use often!). PixarDeloitte, and WL Gore are well known for their open office spaces and highly flexible culture.

And look at Zappos’ focus on Happiness. The company is out to prove that focusing on fun and collaboration is a productive way to run a business. Zappos even offers itsZappos Insights program, an educational initiative to help companies learn how to build a meaningful, fun, inclusive environment.

Many hot Silicon Valley companies offer these kinds of benefits, and many offer far more. Here we see companies providing bus service to work, free dry cleaning delivery, personalized workstations, unlimited vacation, and health and gym facilities on campus. This is a trend we cannot stop – it’s a humane and loving way to treat people.

5. Leadership we can trust.

The fifth element is inspirational leadership.

The days of the hard-nosed, profit-obsessed CEO are slowly coming to an end. While most businesses expect people to work hard, CEOs now realize that it’s the soul of the business that inspires people to contribute. Does your company have a mission you can relate to? Do your leaders trust employees to make the right decisions?

These values of trust, consciousness, and soul start at the top.

We all have to take this challenge seriously. At a personal level it’s time for us to take care of our lives, families, and health. Focus on self-awareness, exercise, sleep, and mindfulness.

HR teams must think holistically as well. Employee engagement is really “all you have” in a business. Take a holistic look at your entire employee experience, move beyond the engagement survey, and you’ll be amazed at the result. In today’s highly competitive economy, being “irresistible” is one of the greatest competitive strengths you can have.

—–

I am an industry analyst and researcher focused on corporate talent and learning, HR, leadership, HR technology, and the intersection between work and life.

You can follow me to stay up to date on trends, research, and news on twitter at @josh_bersin or on LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/in/bersin.
/>

For more information on Bersin by Deloitte, please visit http://www.bersin.com .
—–/>

This publication contains general information only and Deloitte is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor.

Deloitte shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this publication./>/>

About Deloitte

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Europe's Galileo satellites launched into wrong orbit
Paris, Aug 23 (IANS) European satellite launch company Arianespace announced Saturday that the two satellites of Europe's Galileo satellite navigation system launched Friday from the European spaceport in French Guiana were delivered into the wrong orbit.
 
 
UN to radically scale up fight against Ebola
Monrovia, Aug 23 (IANS/WAM) The UN has vowed to radically scale up support to fight the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa and said more health workers will be brought to Liberia to deal with the disease.
 
 
White dwarf stars formed mysterious supernova
London, Aug 23 (IANS) Supernova 2014J is 11 million light years away from earth and was only seen by chance at the University of London Observatory this year.
 
 
Universe's earliest stars were monstrous: Study
Tokyo, Aug 23 (IANS) Little is known about the universe's earliest stars but if we believe astronomers, they might have been hundreds of times more massive than the sun.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Daniel Radcliffe: The best relationships develop from friendship
Daniel Radcliffe believes the best relationships develop when you're dating one of your friends. The 25-year-old hunk insists the strongest of romances take place when you've spent many years being the best of pals...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Iggy Azalea falls off stage at MTV benefit concert
Iggy Azalea fell off the stage during the MTV Video Music Awards benefit concert last night (08.22.14). The 22-year-old singer left fans speechless at the charity gig after she accidentally tumbled into the crowd whilst...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
JWoww against facial cosmetic surgery
JWoww won't have cosmetic surgery on her face. The former 'Jersey Shore' star - real name Jenni Farley - is against going under the knife to improve her facial beauty because she's frightened she wouldn't be able to...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Ian Somerhalder and Nikki Reed move in together
Ian Somerhalder and Nikki Reed have moved in together. The couple, who have been dating for the past few months, are reportedly house-sharing in Atlanta, Georgia, so that they can spend as much time together as...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Zardari dismisses need for Sharif's resignation: Government
Lahore/Islamabad, Aug 23 (IANS) The Pakistani government said Saturday former president Asif Ali Zardari has denied any need for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to resign over the demand by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Imran Khan adamant on Sharif's resignation
Islamabad, Aug 23 (IANS) Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan Saturday reiterated his protest would continue until Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif resigned and said the meeting between Sharif and former...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Force India struggle in wet Belgian GP qualifying
Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium), Aug 23 (IANS) Force India drivers Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg had a difficult outing in the Belgian Grand Prix qualifying Saturday and will start Sunday's race 13th and 18th....
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Simon Pegg finds watching himself hard
Simon Pegg sometimes finds it ''hard'' to watch his own movies. The 44-year-old actor - who has five-year-old daughter Matilda with wife Maureen - is very ''proud'' of his work but doesn't enjoying viewing them back as...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
Indian cueists bag Asian title
Karachi, Aug 23 (IANS) India A, consisting of Kamal Chawla, Faisal Khan and Dharmender Lilly, won the Gold medal in the Asian Snooker Team championship here Saturday, defeating Pakistan A 3-1 in the final. The Indian...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Sri Lanka, Pakistan 2nd ODI shifted to Hambantota
Colombo, Aug 23 (IANS) The second One-Day International (ODI) between Sri Lanka and Pakistan was Saturday moved up to Aug 26 and the venue shifted to Hambantota after heavy rainfall here left the Premadasa Stadium...
Read more on Sport Balla