6 Tips for Creating a Great Workplace for Your Employees

What are the necessary ingredients for a great workplace? During the 2008 Publishing Business Conference, Lee Vikre, vice president of tremendous people at McMurry Inc. and Hays Steilberg, vice president of human resources at Random House Inc., shared the secrets that landed their companies at No. 1 in Publishing Executive’s and Book Business’ 2007 “Best Publishing Companies to Work For” study.

Here are six tips to attracting and retaining the best people, and fostering a great workplace.

1. Have a corporate philosophy dedicated to the well-being of your employees.

Employees are the cornerstone of any company. As Steilberg says, “We don’t live on fixed assets – it really is the talent of the people.” Whether via a formal commitment to your employees or an informal management style, develop a philosophy focused on your employees and on building a work environment in which they will flourish.

2. Hire the right people.

To have a great company, you have to start with great people. Hire employees that will support your company’s goals and values. And don’t leave all the hiring to HR. Get senior-level management involved as they will have an eye for what your company needs, especially in the long run.

3. Decentralize.

The creative people that make up this industry appreciate and thrive in an environment where they have as much autonomy as possible. Don’t micromanage. Allow or even require your employees to make decisions.

4. Offer a good benefits package.

“The benefits are the cost of admission,” says Vikre. Know what your employees consider important when it comes to health care, retirement savings and time off. Staying ahead of the curve with benefits can be key when it comes to retaining your employees.

5. Encourage a healthy work-life balance.

The work-life balance is increasingly becoming a central concern for employees. Err on the side of generosity when it comes to vacation time and encourage your employees to take their time off, not hoard it.

6. Communicate with your employees.

Conduct employee surveys to find out changes you need to make at your company. Involve employees in benefits choices and listen to what they are saying about their workloads.