The annual array of “best places to work” lists ranking companies based on employee satisfaction, culture and amenities were recently released and it got us thinking…would these lists be the same if they were called “Best Places to Lead”?
As an executive or someone who aspires to grow into a senior-level role, do perks such as on-campus gyms, free snacks and nap pods matter? Or what about the organization’s commitment to a cause and corporate philanthropy? Multiple studies have shown new college hires and individual contributors caring as much or more about a company’s values, culture and purpose as they do comp and benefits. But we don’t hear nearly as much about the role these elements play in attracting and retaining top leadership talent.
So what does matter? What type of environment inspires today’s executives and future leaders to imagine, innovate, create and enable their colleagues to grow and succeed?
Here are a few categories (in no particular order) I’d want to rank on my imaginary Best Places to Lead list:
- A clear company vision – a company that knows what it stands for, how it’s going to get there, and allows room for leaders to fulfill their personal goals and potential within that vision.
- Organizational structure – whether it’s matrixed, functional, flat or a holacratic, a well-defined, culturally-aligned model matters. Leaders are defined by the role they play in an organization, level of influence and ability to rally others towards a common cause.
- Career development programs – this is a team sport. Organizations that invest in their people are developing the next-generation of leaders from within and helping today’s visionaries see their ideas become revenue-generating reality.
- Manager training programs – what resources, support and appetite does the organization possess to help leaders at all levels communicate, inspire and empower.
- Employee communication channels and programs – transparency, dialogue and effective communication build trust, loyalty and engagement. The best places for leaders should be great at amplifying their voices internally and enabling colleagues at all levels to participate in the conversation.
Ok…and maybe the nap pods. Those can never hurt.
written by Amir Modirzadeh