"4 Tips for Establishing an Authentic Workplace"
In a world where information spreads in an instant, an authentic and transparent environment is the key to an engaged workforce and successful brand. In order to be effective, employees must first feel comfortable at work - free to express their opinions and be themselves. An authentic work environment built on respect, trust, and communication provides a space that allows ideas to flow and problems to be dealt with directly. This week, we will discuss some best practices for fostering a transparent and authentic workplace.
1. Seek out and recruit authentic employees. The first step to establishing an authentic workplace is to hire employees with the same values. Transparent workplaces encourage a collaborative environment and attract the best talent. You may want to tailor a portion of the interview process to determine a candidate's authenticity and whether or not they would fit within your ideal company culture. Avoid politicians at all costs. The workplace is no place for people who use their time to play politics.
Once hired, place these high potential employees in positions where they can reach and influence others. Position them as role models for the rest of your team, as everyone needs to pitch in to create a trusting and open environment. Compensate your high potentials fairly to keep them happy and engaged.
2. Be honest and encourage feedback. In a transparent work environment, everyone should have an equal opportunity to express their ideas and concerns. Make sure to include everyone in important meetings and encourage genuine feedback and opinions, especially negative feedback, in order to build trust. This is especially important in startups and small companies. Avoid double agendas and secrecy at all costs. Allow easy access to information to ensure that everyone is prepared and on the same page. NEVER punish those who speak honestly as this can instill fear in employees and prevent them and others from contributing their ideas and concerns in the future. Address bad news head on in order to resolve potentially problematic scenarios early. An honest and inclusive team is a highly adaptable team.
3. Set an example. Leaders need to embody the vision and spirit of the company, with high potential employees acting as brand representatives. Employees should be aligned with the company's overall vision and it is a leader's responsibility to make this clear. Here at Dale Carnegie Training Japan we say "live" the Dale Carnegie Principles. If you want to be a Christian, you better believe in Christ. If you want to be a Buddhist, you better believe in Buddha. If you are going to work for Dale Carnegie, you better believe in what Dale Carnegie has laid down, as the most effective Principles for human interaction.
Management should always be true to their word and never break promises. If for some reason a promise is broken, take full responsibility and ensure that it won't happen again. Word gets around to competitors and potential customers about your work environment, so make sure that your team is aware of their image and able to steer it back in the right direction should things get off course. The way you treat your employees with trust and respect will mirror how they treat customers and clients. Especially ensure those who are interacting with clients properly understand that dodging the issue or being mealy-mouthed about admitting a mistake is a big brand and reputation killer.
4. Encourage socializing. To build a trusting community, it's essential that your team members know each other well and can collaborate effectively. Hold team building events and provide opportunities for team members to get to know one another, have fun, and blow off some steam. If you are a workaholic, don’t be the party programmer – it will never happen! Instead designate one of the team to be responsible for organizing fun work events. All you have to do its turn up and pay! Deal with any potential conflicts head on and encourage complete honesty from all involved parties. Be professional – get all the facts, give all involved a chance to express their ideas or opinions and then be fair in your adjudication. Be very careful about only hearing from those in the team who can speak English well. Without knowing it, you could be being played by one of your own team. Get an interpreter if you need to, but make sure you hear all sides.