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What makes a good place to work? by Juan Santiago

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Some time ago, I read a Harvard Business Review where they completed more than 100 studies on what makes an employee be significantly more engaged in a company than others. The article addressed perhaps some of the more obvious topics, such as; good salary, good health plans, safe and comfortable working environments and so on the list grew.

Nobody can deny those are aspects that anyone will welcome with open arms when working at any company, perhaps you and I, who probably did not go to Harvard, can figure that out. Yet, it is not what I am talking about.

What prompted me to write this article was a conversation I had yesterday with two great people I work with at Santex, and whom I personally admire quite a bit. Both told me, in completely different situations, why they had chosen Santex as their place to work and grow professionally and as individuals.

Until not long ago, my focus had been to listen to my team and try to execute on their wishes to make them happy. Not that I now consider that irrelevant, though I realized there is something significantly more important to the way businesses should be run to complete the cycle, if you will.

What I realized yesterday is the importance of communicating to your people what the focus and mission of the company is. In a few words, why are they doing what they are doing.

I always thought that leading by example would be the sure way to get the company to do what I wanted.

In good organizations, people can focus on their work and have confidence that if they get their job done, good things will happen to both, the company and themselves.

“It is a true pleasure to work in an organization such as this”, one of them said.

Every person can wake up knowing that the work they do every day will be efficient, effective and make a difference for the organization and themselves. These things make their jobs both motivating and fulfilling, I realized.

In a poor organization, on the other hand, people spend much of their time fighting organizational boundaries and broken processes. They are not even clear on what their jobs are, so there is no way to know if they are getting the job done or not. They work ridiculous hours to get the job done and they have no idea what that means for the company or their careers. To make matters worse, when they finally work up the courage to tell their management how screw up their situation is, management denies there is a problem, then defends the status quo by ignoring the problem.

I know there is a long road ahead of me building the company I always dreamt of, but this hint just gives me the necessary motivation to keep on improving what Santex is and represents to people today.

As I always say, no matter how well you think you can do things, there is always room for improvement.

Juan Santiago – I make ideas happen @ Santex