A progressive workplace benefits employee well-being and engagement. It encompasses a friendly working environment, a culture of open conversations among employees, abundance of employee incentives and allowance to have flexible work schedules
The progressive workplace culture is a stark contrast to the traditional workplace that we are often used to hearing: permanent 9-5 jobs, close to non-existent incentives, managers enforcing strict rules and guidelines, no negotiations…. and the list goes on.
So we know what a progressive workplace is, but why should employers bother with having one in the first place? A business survives on profits, so how does the company culture even matter?
Well if you take a step back and look at the big picture, having a healthy work culture can double up as a perfect recruitment tool as more and more new generation folks are attracted by corporate culture first. In fact it is often a common practice of most interviewees to ask for a description of the corporate culture at the end of the interview. Money is no longer the only motivation and corporate culture is increasingly becoming the main reason why most employees will choose to stay.
So how do we go about becoming a progressive workplace then?
It all starts from HR. The focus of the HR department in any company should be to ensure the corporate culture is healthy. Having discussions with all internal stakeholders (including other employees, managers and fellow HR), be it personalized or in a group setting, about the culture itself is a great first step towards having a progressive workplace environment.
Perhaps the road towards a progressive workplace may include but are not limited to:
1. Enforcing a teamwork philosophy – rather than individualizing work that gives rise to a ‘every man for himself ‘ mentality among employees;
2. Invest in perks for employees such as subsidized fitness memberships, tuition incentives – employees feel more valued and in return, they remain invested to working hard for your company;
3. Revitalize the physical work space to allow for casual conversations amongst all employees – people are often more willing to open up to each other when not confined to a rigid environment;
4. Offering flexible work schedules without compromising on quality of work – this will largely benefit the business in the long run especially with a new generational workforce who prioritizes the value of having work-life balance.
Progressive companies often have the very same real issues to face as any other company. The key difference is that rather than resort to discipline and enforcing control that are a great turnoff for employees as per traditional companies, progressive companies choose to deal with adversities upfront and in an open manner with greater involvement of employees regardless of superiority. For businesses willing to invest effort into transforming their corporate culture, it may actually be worth it in the long haul.