Here are nine things every employee expects and deserves when they come to work. These are the essentials of a positive environment, and they are the checklist items I use in my consulting work when I evaluate whether the environment is positive and supportive, or negative or in need of an overhaul.
As you review the list, keep score. How do you stack up?
Are employee, supervisor, manager and executive reward systems consistent with the organization’s core mission and ethics?
This is a high-level assessment of whether compensation systems support or discourage strategic and daily decisions consistent with statements about the organization’s mission and ethics.
Are job requirements clear?
Performance requirements should be in writing and kept current for every position. Result: employees and their supervisors know exactly what’s expected.
Is job performance measurable in an objective manner?
There’s always management’s subjective input, but employees must feel that overall they are measured in an objective manner.
Is equal opportunity a reality in the workplace?
Equal opportunity under the law is the minimum. Real equal opportunity for all based on performance and skills is the higher-level target of a positive work environment.
Where appropriate, are decisions made in a collaborative manner?
We all appreciate when our input and opinions are considered. Employees and managers work in the front lines. Relevant input from them should be actively considered as decision options are evaluated. Of course, not all business decisions can go out to the staff for input. But input opportunities should always be considered where quality results and a positive work are the goal.
Do employees receive clear, relevant communications?
Uncertainty breeds confusion. Confusion creates to flawed beliefs about expectations and ineffective actions. Employees at all levels need clear information that is relevant to their work. Keep them positive; keep them informed.
Do employees receive meaningful training and skills development?
Meaningful employee training goes beyond awareness sessions; it builds skills needed in the job. Anti-fraud skills training should be a required for every employee.
Do employees feel empowered consistent with their job responsibilities?
Employees at all levels must feel they can double check details and speak up when something doesn’t look or feel right to them. Expectations and limitations should be made crystal clear. Balance is the key.
Are there trusted mechanisms to obtain advice and report concerns?
Employees must feel that there’s a safe way for them to speak up when something concerns them. Fraud hotlines are part of the answer. But at a higher level, leaders must create and support an environment where speaking up is encouraged. Safety and confidence are the key.
Don’t over-think or over-analyze these nine questions. Your first impression is usually right on the mark.
Effective Anti-Fraud Campaigns demand that employees at all levels come to their jobs finding a safe, supportive, honest work environment. People who feel good about their work, who feel good about the organization, are much more likely to pay attention to things that don’t look right and to speak up.
John J. Hall, CPA
John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events. Throughout his 35-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”