As an HR and Operations professional, I read a lot about different workplace environments. We often talk about accommodating the different needs of the different generations and taking advantage of new technology to create flexible work environments, virtual work environments, etc.. The reality is that every company needs to work in the way that is best for their particular situation. For example, at CDH we have been building a values based culture for the past several years. As a result of this process, we have attained a high level of trust between employer and employee. Creating a high trust environment allows an employer to do a lot of things that might seem outlandish or radical to on outside observer. For instance, we recently began posting the firm’s financials to our intranet every month. That’s right, any employee of our firm can simply click on a link and see exactly where the firm stands from a financial standpoint. Why would we do this? The answer is that It’s an extension of our trust in our people and, in return, their trust in leadership. We choose to treat our people as professionals and to let them know they have a stake in our firm’s success. When we make decisions, financial or otherwise, they will have a greater understanding of the reasoning behind those decisions.
It does not stop there for CDH. Since we stopped charging clients by the hour (over two years ago), we have created a work environment that stresses quality of time worked over quantity of time worked. We have moved farther along the curve to becoming a ROWE (results only work environment). This, along with a trust based culture, inevitably lends itself to a far more flexible and virtual work environment. CDH employees are not clock punchers (figuratively or otherwise). We care about doing the right thing for our client. Our people can do this from home, from the office or at the client. We don’t necessarily have any formal flex work arrangements since people work in the way that best suits their situation. The only thing we ask is that the work gets done, it gets done well and on time and that whatever client you are servicing is happy with your product.
The benefits and cost savings of this kind of environment are too numerous to mention in a short blog, but believe me, they are real and quantifiable. It all comes down to building a values and trust based culture. Once this is accomplished, so many progressive and innovative possibilities come to life. Tune in next month when I discuss the very real (and radical??) idea of eliminating all vacation, sick and personal time as part of a new way at looking at the way your employees work.