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Guest Contributor: Tala Oodit – What Makes A Successful Workplace

Tala Oodit is an experienced HR professional whose career spans over 10 years across the FMCG, Luxury Retail and Entertainment industries. She has shared with Body Mechanics her top 5 tips on what makes a workplace successful.

1. Support Services

Companies should provide insurance protection such as Private Healthcare, Income Protection, Life Assurance, and an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) as standard. I will caveat this and say that it's obviously subject to whether a company can afford to have this in place. In my opinion, these are more of a necessity than a unique selling point for a company. For the last few years, the recruitment market has been a candidate driven one - something that won’t be changing in the next few years. People are looking at the overall package and sometimes the base salary alone is not enough of an incentive to potential new recruits, so companies need to remain creative and competitive.

2. Culture

This 7 letter word is so simple and yet so complex in interpretation, so here is what culture means to me…

People will spend the majority of their life at work with colleagues, so its important that the work environment you provide is a decent one. Inclusion, access to Senior Managers and the level of trust given to people is key! It’s important that Managers sit with their team members regularly to understand what drives them and that people feel they have influence and are able to contribute to the overall success of the company.

Senior Managers need to ensure the company vision and the expectations surrounding the business goals are communicated clearly. In addition, Senior Managers should also be given Mental Health First Aid training as standard. Not only are they responsible for the financial health of the company, but also their people’s health and wellbeing too!

3. A Balanced Environment

Whilst innovation and quirky company incentives are great to boost morale, equally having fairness, transparency, consistency, and clarity in company processes such as pay review, career development, and family friendly policies are important. I saw the uncertainty that Covid-19 brought to people’s lives and just by having these basics in place, it provides peace of mind to employees.

4. A Multi-Faceted Physical Working Environment

Covid-19 saw companies having to change their physical environment overnight. All office workers were asked to work from home for months at a time. If employers are choosing to keep working from home as an option moving forward, they need to ensure that employees are suitably equipped to do so. For example, we have asked employees to let us know if they need chair supports to help with their lower back or upper back, neck and shoulders. We’ve also reinforced the importance of taking a break and moving around.

Having worked in companies with retail stores and distribution centres, our H&S team are regularly running checks to ensure manual handling training is continuously taking place, meeting with our Occupational Health team, to ensure that as a business we are making reasonable adjustments for employees.

Whether people are working from home or onsite, employers need to give consideration to their employees’ physical health and wellbeing. We’ve previously used Body Mechanics for onsite massages to help remedy any occupational stresses and strains and they also provide yoga and online workouts - a range of different ways to access and help maintain physical wellbeing.

5. Communication is Key!

An old cliche, however the most obvious. You will be surprised by how this is often overlooked or not done properly. With the events of Covid-19, all businesses have had to go through some sort of change management to accommodate their business during the global crisis. I understand that it may not be feasible to have weekly company meetings, but what I would recommend is monthly company get togethers, rather than just teams and if safe, have those get togethers in person, rather than online. A fixed date in the diary will give people peace of mind and a chance to see various people across the business. Human contact and networking shouldn’t be underestimated in terms of personal morale and career development.

Tala's Final Thought...

"People are a company’s biggest commodity. In my experience, the better you treat your people, the more inclined they will be to go above and beyond for you and for the business."