Report highlights what makes a good workplace

Employees are set to become more and more vocal about what they want from a good employers, according to a report on what makes ‘good work’ and how to create more of it.

Employees are set to become more and more vocal about what they want from a good employers, according to a report on what makes ‘good work’ and how to create more of it.

The Good Work Commission report, Good Work and Our Times, is based on the experience and views of the Commissioners and research produced by the Work Foundation over the past decade.

It says the employees of the future are more vocal and proactive about wanting ‘a good place to work’. This includes more mobile and flexible working and more collaborative working. It says: "The Generation Y is inherently social, team focused and embraces flexibility."

It concludes, though, that across all sectors and for all ages, command and control styles of management are outdate and that employeeds want to fit their work alongside their personal aspirations and lifestyle in a more fluid way, and to be able to envisage how they can develop themselves over time.

It says: "There is a strong sense that employees are increasingly interested in the social role and impact of the organisation they work for, challenging it go beyond rhetoric and into practical manifestations as a signal of how serious it is about being a good corporate citizen. Though expressed in different ways by different Commissioners, these are common themes about what will shape the future of work.

And it concludes with a series of questions for employers, including "In a world where employees want more flexibility, autonomy, voice and opportunities for development and personal growth, how adequately is your organisation responding?" The report is aimed at people who have leadership and management roles in organisations. It says that issues such as the financial crisis, the rise of consumer power and the technology revolution have highlighted the importance of articulating the principles of meaningful and good work.

It argues that finding meaning in work matters to people and is intrinsic to the nature of ‘good work’. It says: “The challenge for employers is to find new ways of responding to that aspiration for their entire workforce, rather than just for a lucky few.” This includes employee engagement, having a clear vision and “designing jobs and workflow to make work more worthwhile and rewarding for both the organisation and individuals involved”.

Pay may not be the primary motivator. It says: “How pay is allocated, for instance, is as important to people as absolute pay.”

A key issue is transparency, for instance, on how organisations tackle both strong and weak performance, and a desire for fairness about pay, for instance, ensuring that the gap between the top and bottom earners in an organisation is not too great.

The report also argues that making the connection to the core purpose of the organisation is the key to ‘employee engagement’. “That is what elevates employee engagement programmes above the transactional level into adding value to the business and to employees,” it says.

Creating a committed workforce involves everything from giving people autonomy in their jobs to giving them a voice in the organisation; from matching qualifications and skill levels to the job in hand to building their ability to foster innovation.

Flexible working is also key. To ensure this is properly implemented, says the report, managers need to be trained and need to know their responsibility for making their organisation a good place to work.

It spells out how ‘good work’ can be measured, for instance, through looking at absenteeism rates or customer satisfaction.

It states: “The investment in time and resources required to create an engaged workforce is a win:win – a business case for employers in improved performance and productivity; a more meaningful and rewarding experience of work for employees.”

There is also a section on management redundancy to mitigate the most damaging effects by building employees’ transferable skills.

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