Choosing a career, and more importantly, a company to spend it with is such a huge decision. If you stood in front of a crowd and asked, “What do you value most when looking for a company to work for?”, you would get a variety of answers. It’s hard to narrow down these characteristics, because they all have different meanings and values to each of us.
For a long time, I couldn’t quite answer that question myself. I didn’t even know where to begin, because I was so accustomed to working at places that didn’t truly value their employees. They made zero effort to show appreciation of my coworkers or myself, and it took a toll over time. I stopped having expectations, and just made due with what they did provide. And I know that I’m not alone in this experience. There are so many hard working people that put up with the same crap day in and day out. But eventually, I had enough and made a change. It’s time that they did too.
So what is it that makes a work place great? Is it the way they treat their customers, or the way they treat their employees? Is it being able to work Monday-Friday, 8-5? These things can be an added benefit in some situations, but there are some more basic requirements where everyone should draw the line. Here are some signs that you’re working for a great company:
1. Teamwork and individuality are valued
In any workplace, teamwork can make for an extremely strong and successful partnership. But it’s important to know how to stand out as an individual as well. Being able to bring both skills to the table makes you a huge asset to any company. But having those skills be valued is vital. The company you work for should never expect you to be a robot, or fall into some kind of conformity.
To contribute to that idea, we’ve all been in situations where we had great ideas to introduce, but no one was willing to listen. Some companies only value the opinions of those who sit in the nice corner offices. But in order to grow together, you have to take it as a whole. Pick a company that values your ideas and opinions on the same level as everyone else’s.
2. There’s a balanced focus between who you are as a worker and who you are at home
We’ve always been taught to keep our personal lives completely separate from work, and that’s understandable due to the fact that it often creates drama and distractions. But a good company will create an environment where you can appropriately integrate the two. They should want to get to know you, and your family. This could be within a work sponsored outing, or at a private dinner.
If a company truly values you as a worker, than they also value how you became who you are. They care about your path in life, and where you want to be 5, 10, and 15 years down the road. The place you work for should never make you feel like you can’t have it all, between a family and a career. They should never make you feel like you have to choose, because they know that the reason you’re an incredible worker is because of the people you go home to.
3. They invest in your success
The right company wants you to succeed, even if 10 years from now you choose to take the success somewhere else. They strive to teach you, and are fully involved in every step of your learning process. This could mean taking classes, or attending seminars. As things change, they make sure that you adapt and overcome every circumstance. They never try to limit you, or stunt your growth as a worker or as an individual.
4. Managers are both leaders and advocates
I’ve worked for plenty of companies where the most petty and careless people were actually the managers. This sets an extremely poor precedence for those seeking guidance, and it creates an environment where drama and distractions are excusable. The best type of manager is one that serves as a strong leader, rather than a follower.
But it’s equally important that they’re an advocate for those who are under their supervision. Chances are, they’ve been in your shoes before. They worked hard, and they learned what methods were ideal and what ones weren’t. They stand up for you and your coworker’s needs, and they represent the foundation of your teamwork.
5. They promote a healthy work environment
It’s impossible to be the best version of yourself at work if you don’t feel your best. When I left my last job, a huge contribution to my decision was the influence it was having on my health. I had an abnormal amount of stress and anxiety, and it was beginning to effect my body and mind in some really negative ways. I knew that it wasn’t something that I could change unless I left. So I packed my bags.
It’s so important to find a company that promotes fitness and healthy living, while making it doable within the work place. I know that this is rare to find, but as knowledge about ergonomics and fitness grows, it’s beginning to reach further into the work place. Not to brag at all, but I’m extremely lucky to be working where I am now. They offer a free gym membership within the building itself, plenty of nutritional lunch options, bike rentals, fitness classes, and health clinics. I can honestly say that the decision changed my life, and has put me on the right track to reach my goals. You shouldn’t settle for anything less.
6. Growth is the overall goal
A company that strives to grow is constantly coming up with new ways to do things. And the bigger they get, the more that needs to change. They take risks and they listen to the workers in terms of what’s working and what isn’t. They adapt and grow steadily over time, making sure that each worker has the tools that they need to overcome the challenges. They realize that successful growth doesn’t depend upon the number of people you hire, but the quality of those people.
What do you value most about the company you work for? What would you change?