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Just what makes the difference? And it’s not table tennis and beer fridges

Blair McPherson - former Director, Author and Blogger

It turns out that it’s nothing to do with free car parking, table tennis and pool tables, great bacon butties, cappuccino machines, free gym membership, dress down Fridays, unisex toilets or flexible work hours.

The best places to work according to the Best Workplaces 2021 are those where managers  trust people to do a good job without watching over their shoulder. Managers appreciate people who try new ways of doing things regardless of the outcome. Managers shows a sincere interest in me as a person not just an employee.  Senior managers fully embody the best characteristics of our organisation Managers actions match their words.

Managers offer their employees training to further their professional development Managers create a team spirit. Spot a common theme? It would appear that it’s all down to managers whether or not an organisation is a good place to work!

As some one who was once responsible for HR in a large complex organisation I certainly found that managers people management skills or lack of them was a significant contributor to the amount of workplace conflict. But it’s unfair to judge a manager by the number of grievances submitted against them. Just as it’s unfair to assume that if employees are unhappy it’s because of incompetent managers.
A lot of things upset employees which are nothing to do with how managers manage. In my experience employees can get very upset about car parking, usually that there are an inadequate number of places, the introduction of charging or the criteria for a reserved space. Those who don’t drive but cycle to work can get very worked up by changing and showering facilities. Smokers verse non smokers is not the viscous battle it once was due to the smokers being much diminished in numbers.
Then there is the “ inconsiderate” people who don’t wash up their cups and plates or ,”steal” other people’s milk from the team fridge. If you have a fresh air freak in your office you will know how heated the window open / window closed debate can get.  Some times it’s not a specific issue it’s what HR refer to as a personality conflict. Basically two people who just rub each other up the wrong way and then drag the rest of the team into taking sides.
This is before we get to the genuinely nasty stuff where a member of the team is being harassed or bullied not by their manager but other members of the team. Managers with help from HR will attempt to resolve these issues. To be comprehensive and balanced  I think any list of the characteristics of best places to work should include, “employees are kind towards each other”.

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