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7 Hallmarks of a Great Workplace

Norm Spitzig July 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

What exactly makes a workplace great? What are the specific characteristics common to those very special businesses that are universally recognized as the indisputable signs of a superior operation? The answer: A workplace that successfully attains the following characteristics can proudly and accurately call itself great.

1. A clear mission and purpose for being. The very best workplaces have a straightforward, concise mission statement that is readily understandable and enthusiastically embraced by each and every employee. Such great workplaces have carefully identified those factors critical to their long-term success, as well as their specific vision for the future. Great facilities develop detailed action plans and accompanying areas of responsibility to ensure that their vision for the future is concrete, actionable, measurable and achievable.

2. Forward-thinking, creative senior management and a caring, well-trained staff. At great skin care facilities, everyone from the president to yesterday’s hire are fully committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure the company’s ongoing success. Individuality is valued and cherished, but teamwork remains first and foremost.

3. Meaningful work. A great workplace allows and encourages its employees to do what they deem meaningful. Malcolm Gladwell is correct when he notes in his book Outliers: The Story of Success (Little, Brown and Co., 2008) that, for most people, work is meaningful when it is sufficiently autonomous, appropriately complex and has a perceived direct relationship between the effort invested and the accompanying return. Great skin care facilities offer team members the opportunity to consistently do what they themselves perceive as genuinely meaningful.

4. Reasonable, understandable and uniformly enforced work rules. The rules and policies at great workplaces are neither capricious nor arbitrary. Ideally, they are not written to prevent employees from doing something, but rather to set appropriate standards by which all are allowed to maximize their potential. In short, great skin care facilities embrace rules and policies that reflect the core values of the workplace, as well as the expectations of the employees and customers in a fair and logical manner.

5. An appropriate blending of tradition and innovation. Long-standing products and services are continually improved as circumstances dictate to the benefit of all concerned. At great skin care facilities, all are aware and proud of their company’s origins and heritage, its growth and evolution, its positive reputation in the community, its quality products and services, its mission for the present and its vision for the future.

6. Open communication among all vested parties. Staff members and clients are always kept informed of, and are encouraged to appropriately participate in, the company mission, vision, policies and procedures, as well as any significant changes under consideration. Managers at great skin care facilities are unwavering in their commitment to “manage by walking around,” because they know that this time-tested practice promotes open communication and minimizes potential problems. Great facilities typically have both print and electronic company newsletters that regularly and effectively communicate the various opportunities available to staff and clients in an accurate and timely manner.

7. Fiscal responsibility. Last but certainly not least, great skin care facilities have detailed, multiyear business plans that feature accurate income and expense projections, conservative cash flow estimates, sufficient funding for research, development, infrastructure maintenance, renovation and expansion, and realistic cash flow projections. In addition, they rigorously monitor and adjust their financial plans on a regular basis and as circumstances dictate.

In summary, a great workplace employs happy, productive and talented people who perform meaningful work compatible with the mission, vision and financial goals of the skin care facility. It takes constant effort and vigilance to be a truly great workplace, but the end result is well worth it.

Norm Spitzig, principal at Master Club Advisors, is internationally recognized as an eloquent, visionary speaker and club industry expert. His talks have been well received on six continents by numerous professional associations, individual businesses, club leaders and civic groups.

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