We at Get’em in Business (GIB) like to think of our employees as family and team members, not just employees. A company is like a vehicle with many moving parts that makes it work. If one of the parts on the vehicle stops functioning, it affects the other parts of the vehicle and eventually, the entire vehicle stops functioning.
At Get’em in Business, we consider our employees the most important components for our corporation to run smoothly. Have you ever heard of the saying, “Happy Wife, Happy Life”? Well, this sort of applies to running a corporation. If you keep your employees happy by creating a work-friendly atmosphere for them, they will be more motivated to come to work and their jobs will not seem like a burden to them.
How is this beneficial to your organisation and employees? As GIB Founder and CEO Joel McMurphy said, “It will inspire the employees to aim at giving their best because they will view the company as their own; a home away from home.” He also added that happier workplaces foster increased loyalty and connection among colleagues. “This adds to better engagement and productivity among staff which directly contribute to the growth in your business. Happy people means a better business. That’s the bottom line,” he said.
GIB Malaysia would like to think we have perfected the art of creating healthy work environments over many years of thinking about healthy workplaces. Creating a good working space means so much more than increasing salaries and giving bonuses. It can mean a million different things such as ensuring that the office environment is clean and well ventilated, to make sure there is harmony between the coworkers and that each and everyone is contributing to building and making each other’s lives better.
Here are a few ways GIB creates and sustains a friendly working environment:
THE PANTRY MAGIC
At GIB, one of the things we have put in place is a well-stocked pantry at the work office. It might not be at the level of Google’s legendary free-meals canteens and restaurants, but we are quite proud of it. We stock an array of healthy snacks and meals beyond the usual cereal, instant noodles, coffee, tea, fruit and biscuits. Our HR staff actively solicits feedback on what they would like to add to the pantry. We provide a free lunch buffet with every Friday, catered from a selection of different social enterprises we like to support. In fact, a lot of our food supplies come from local producers and artisans because we like to support our local community businesses.
We find that our employees work better through the week and look forward to the week’s end not because they are exhausted but because of the engaging lunch buffet. Being occupied with work can also make an individual unknowingly forget to eat therefore skipping meals which is definitely not a good diet. The reason we have the pantry is to make sure our employees are able to eat instead of skipping meals all day.
NOURISHING WORK ENVIRONMENT
There is a lot more that comes with creating a healthy work environment other than just providing food. When we were originally building the GIB, we consulted experts on healthy and sustainable design. Our corporation is spacious therefore our employees are not cramped, which during this Covid-19 era has proved to be a boon. We also have very good air conditioning considering that we are based in a hot and humid climate, though we are constantly thinking about how to be more energy-efficient. There is ample natural light and plenty of indoor greenery. When it comes to the type of office desks and chairs we have, we are proud to say that it is definitely unmatched. Everything is ergonomically designed and built. Why did we do all these things? This is because all these factors contribute to good posture, and also builds and boosts the morale of our employees and also makes them comfortable at their place of work.
TEAM BUILDING ACTIVITIES
It is important for our employees to get along in order for our company to run smoothly. To ensure this, we create team building activities that boost their social engagement and improve how they relate to each other. Beyond office parties for festive celebrations, we like to do small events throughout the year that aren’t work-related at all, whether it’s simple things like movie nights or sports competitions. We at GIB believe that it is important to get to know your employees and for each and everyone to interact in order to create co-operation and promote respect amongst each other.
CLEAR AND OPEN LINES OF COMMUNICATION
In case we haven’t said it enough, healthy relationships amongst colleagues are important! It is important for your employees to build bonds with each other. Our company practices a policy that encourages honest feedback on a daily basis, not just during annual performance reviews. No one is exempt, even GIB CEO Joel McMurphy gets feedback too. “We have created a culture where no one is afraid of saying what’s truly on their mind in a clear, honest and respectful manner. As a CEO I have insisted that everyone practice this as I truly believe it’s essential to relationship-building. This doesn’t mean we never have any conflict, but we deal with it openly and constructively,” he said.
Additionally, having lots of open areas with comfy sofas and chairs offers a physical encouragement for good communication. Our employees are able to share meals and have lots of conversations. That way they are not only able to bond with each other but also brainstorm ideas that grow and make the corporation better.
You want your employees to grow as individuals in their career field. Making them feel like they are working solely towards benefiting the company reduces their morale. To improve their skills, GIB HR regularly organises talks from prominent speakers or leaders in different fields who come to share and offer advice and motivation and regularly sends staff for training and upskilling conferences and seminars. By improving their skills and network, they bring new perspectives and different strategies in order to beat the competition.
FLEXIBLE WORK ENVIRONMENT
As much as routine is a good thing it can also be a real derailer in terms of motivation and inspiration. Sitting on the same desk year in and out can make your employees lose their inspiration for new ideas. Even before the pandemic hit, we had already trialled a work-from-home arrangement which had a very good response. So we were well prepared to face the challenge. As GIB Singapore HR Lead Cathy Fong explains, “When Covid hit, we were ahead of many companies because we had already had a system in place for work-from-home which we started on two years ago. So we were able to hit the ground running and had a very smooth adjustment.”
A SENSE OF BELONGING
We want our employees to feel like part of the team. GIB CEO Joel McMurphy, believed in a flat organisational structure where none of the employees is above each other. Instead, they are all equals. It is important for your employees to feel like part of the organisation. You want to create a work environment where everyone feels like they are part of your team. In order to do this, we create open communication where everyone can share ideas for the improvement of the company. They don’t feel as though they are taking orders from the higher-ups but are contributing to the evolution of the company. We have realised that by doing this, we also encourage our employees to stay with us for longer periods of time.
Your employees need to reap the benefits of their hard work. As much as a corporation is able to cater for salaries, that is definitely not enough to keep their motivation high and the company running. GIB’s rewards system is built so that everyone is rewarded not just with bonuses and raises, but with things like extra vacation days, extra maternity and paternity days, gifts and subsidies. This keeps them motivated to keep working towards growth in the business.
In the modern world, healthcare is very expensive. Affording a good health insurance plan costs a lot. A good reason to introduce this to your company is that if your employees are not in good health or have their family members ailing, and yet they do not have the money to provide healthcare for them, your employees could grow to resent you. They could begin to feel like they are working too hard yet it is all in vain because they can only do the bare minimum or have to take years to save in order for them to have the perks of a good medical plan. At GIB, we have made sure that our employees do not need to worry about healthcare. Their children also get to receive these benefits up until they are the age of 25. This way, our employees do not have a burden on their shoulders.
At GIB, we encourage everyone to appreciate each other. Gratitude is a daily practice for us. Like we have mentioned at the beginning of this article, a company is like a vehicle with all these moving parts that make it work. All our employees contribute to the success of each other and our company therefore if one’s ideas feel belittled or their work goes unappreciated, it can affect the workflow immensely. Therefore, our company encourages our employees to thank each other for their every contribution. It does not only make them feel appreciated but also builds a strong sense of respect.