The simple secret of every great place to work: It’s people based—not perk based. It’s relationship-based, not transaction-based. The interesting part of this idea is that this is not “new” nor is it “revolutionary”. This concept was seen for the first time in the work done by Levering and Moskowitz in the assembly of the first top companies list in the early 1980s. At that time, they articulated “The key to creating a great workplace was not a prescriptive set of employee benefits, programs, and practices, but the building of high-quality relationships in the workplace.” Reaching far deeper into people than corporate benefits and cool offices ever can, those relationships are why some workers love their employers and hate to leave and why job applicants will crawl over broken glass to work at those places.”
It is these things that create the environment where your people will give you more of their “discretionary effort”, the effort that makes the difference between an employee and an engaged employee. Discretionary effort is what you as a leader receive that is above and beyond what is “expected” from your co-workers, but it is up to their discretion to give it to you. Don’t get me wrong, salary and benefits are still important, but in general, these are not ranked as the top reasons people stay or leave, they often come in the fourth or fifth spot in the rankings.
It’s leadership that makes the difference when it comes to your people and their connection to your organization. A small investment in building leadership competencies (not management skills) will pay dividends for a long time.