HRM Five: Elements of a great workplace

How to get started on creating a workplace that people love to come to everyday.

Any organisation which believes that people are an organisation's competitive edge needs to create a high-performance culture that takes full advantage of committed employees who love to come to work.

"Approximately 95% of employees are good people, so why have policies that focus on the marginal 5%?" asks author Bob Dusin, who has co-written a new book called "Creating the High Performance Workplace; It's Not Complicated to Develop a Culture of Commitment".

According to Dusin, and his co-author Sue Bingham, these are five way to create your own great, high-performance workplace:

1. Establish open, two-way, adult-to-adult communication

Many employees raise children, own homes and support their community in some way or other. So why treat them like children, or prisoners? By interacting with people at work the same way you would with a neighbour you like, you're more likely to create a culture of transparency.

2. Invite employee involvement and engagement

Don't just ask for input to give the illusion of engagement. And don't just let people get involved – expect that they want to get involved, and be pro-active enough to pull them in. People who do the job everyday know how to do it best – so turn them loose to improve and innovate. Otherwise, you're paying for an expensive system and only using a small part of its capabilities.

3. Invest in a continuous learning culture

Learning and development is an indispensable investment in your culture and should have a quantifiable return-of-investment for performance improvement. Make it easy for everyone to access training content, especially through mobile and digital learning applications.

4. Ensure competitive wages and benefits

Research confirms that people don't quit for money; they leave when they feel unfairly treated. Make wages and benefits competitive and be open about the structure and data. People usually don't leave for more money if they feel they are being treated fairly.

5. Set high expectations

If your job profiles end with "other duties as assigned" and you regularly tell people "do the best you can," you've just set a low bar for performance. Set expectations in terms of maximums and then reward progress.


"Living these [elements] is the mosaic for creating the workplace where people love to come to work," says Bingham. "The secret, however, is in the application of the elements – not the words."


Yamini Chinnuswamy offers five important points on everything you wanted to know about HR practices today, but were too afraid to ask. Check out previous editions of HRM Five here.


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