- Communication – As Shane already explained, communication (whether done well or poorly) can make or break a work environment. The last several companies I’ve worked for all did a great job of communicating…whether it was positive news or negative, we workers always knew what was going on.
- Family – When working at a good company, you feel like a family. Case in point…I’ve been working at my current company for 13 years now. Back in 2004, my wife passed away due to cancer. She had been in the ICU for over a month, and I had to spend a lot of time at the hospital and at home taking care of our kids. I worked when I could, but it wasn’t a lot…perhaps half a day, sometimes none. I had only been at the company for two years at that time, so I didn’t have a lot of vacation or sick time, so I quickly used it all up. When I finally came back to work full time, I found out I still had a week of vacation and a couple days of sick time on the books, yet my paycheck never changed. Family takes care of family.
- Fun – Yes, you can have fun at work. And a good culture not only allows for that, but encourages it. In fact, my IT department just attended a local baseball game several weeks ago and had a great time. We joke with each other, kid each other…and we all work well together.
- Training – A good company wants their employees to continuously grow and learn, and become better. It helps both the company and the employee.
- Protection – What do I mean by that? Think of a mother hen protecting her young. I was Senior Network Engineer at a previous company, and if my network went down, the company would lose about $250,000 in profit per hour. (During the Christmas season that hourly rate was over $1 million dollars of profit!!) Talk about pressure. However, my boss protected me from all of the upper managers…they were not allowed to call me at all. Every 30 minutes, she would call me and I would give her a quick update and projected ETA. Otherwise, I was left in peace to work the problem and get the network back up. That meant a lot to me…still does.
- Accountability – This can cut both ways, but all good companies must hold every employee accountable. What separates a good company from a bad one is “fairness”. Accountability, if applied fairly for all, is a cornerstone of a good company. No favorites…everyone treated the same. In the long run, this will result in a strong and productive team…and in today’s economy, that is a powerful advantage.