The Happy Workers Awards
Getting Employees to Love
What kind of employer can get employees to love their jobs? Four companies have won the Happy Workers Awards for winning the hearts and minds of their workers.
Getting Employees to LoveBy Karen Wu
From CommonWealth Magazine (vol. 377 )
No CEO would deny that people are the heart of every company’s competitiveness. But then, who really puts this philosophy into action? Who puts smiles on employees’ faces as they come to the office each day?
The Happy Workers Awards – Best Corporate Employer, jointly organized by Cheers magazine and the Watson Wyatt business consulting firm, marked its sophomore season this year with nearly 50 entrants. Four companies emerged from the tight competition: DuPont Taiwan, Eli Lilly and Company (Taiwan), Taiwan Mobile, and CyberLink. Last year’s winner, Eli Lilly, survived the scrutiny of the selection committee to defend its title as Best Corporate Employer.
Selection of the Best Corporate Employer looked at three key employee indices:
♦ Work Accomplishment: Makes employees proud of their work, accomplishments and company; gives appropriate validation in work.
♦ Workplace Relationships: Maintains excellent relationships with `supervisors, colleagues, and work teams; unobstructed communication channels.
♦ Equitable Treatment: Salaries and bonuses fairly reflect individual performance.
The largest gap in scores between the award winners and other companies can be found in the Equitable Treatment category, including large discrepancies in salary and bonus levels. This reflects a gap of over 15 percent between the leaders and the pack in terms of work capacity, performance and monetary rewards.
Analysis of the top corporate employers’ secrets for success reveals the following three points:
1. Employees Feel Fairly Treated
“Fairness” usually requires a system to hold it together, yet small- and medium-sized Taiwanese businesses often overlook this in their pursuit of efficiency. “In the past Taiwanese corporations favored relationships first, then reason and then law. In the future it should be law and reason, followed by relationships,” offers Li Jia-ling, Watson and Wyatt assistant manager. This set of priorities also happens to be the key to whether small- and medium-sized Taiwanese companies, having undergone rapid initial growth, can smoothly enter the stable long-term development stage.
CEOs must possess strong will and vision to overcome this set way of thinking and purposefully establish a structured work environment.
CyberLink CEO Alice Chang, for instance, introduced a quarterly objective management and 360-degree ratings method early in the company’s history, designed to measure employee performance. Employee dividends and stock options are based on these ratings, forming a fair and transparent performance management system.
2. Employees Feel Respected
The key to implementing systems lies with people. If supervisors and employees lack communication, employees will not subjectively perceive the system as equitable.
Communication is about content over form. Eli Lilly Taiwan uses random checks and questionnaires to scrutinize whether there is truly in-depth and detailed communication between supervisors and employees during the performance ratings process, and not just the manager acting unilaterally.
Good communication mechanisms are also reflected in how well employees buy into company values. In the indicator “My values are consistent with company values,” winning companies’ scores were 20 percent higher than those coming up short on awards.
DuPont Taiwan has always rested its reputation on environmental safety, and the first agenda item at any meeting is ordinarily safety related. The company’s bulletin board is also full of safety-related policies, so that intensive and long-term conditioning strengthens employees’ awareness and appreciation of safety from deep within.
3. Employees Feel Appreciated
The four winning corporations share another trait in common: considerable emphasis on training and development. In other words, they are willing to make long-term investments in a human resource development program to prepare for future company growth.
According to a survey conducted by Gallup, business units in the top 25 percent in terms of offering learning and growth opportunities rate 9 percent higher in customer involvement and loyalty than those in the bottom 25 percent, and their profitability is 10 percent higher as well. This can be attributed to increased employee involvement.
Taiwan Mobile has collaborated with universities since 1999 to run a corporate university, offering courses in business management and telecommunications and cultivating a vast number of skilled professionals. Last year the company further established a scholarship program, under which the company covers full tuition for employees to undertake advanced studies at select institutions in Taiwan and abroad.
Even as the economic climate becomes increasingly austere, companies continue to combat unfavorable conditions out in the world by working to forge a pleasant work environment for their employees. These four companies are ample proof of that.
Translated from the Chinese by David Toman
Chinese Version: 誰讓員工愛上班？