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Employee-centric Workplaces

March 28th, 2011 by Darci Congrove

Last week, I was excited to participate as a panelist on the topic of employee-centric workplaces. The Columbus Chamber Young Professionals’ Exchange is a forum

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for young professionals (YP’s) to network and discuss business issues. Fellow panelists represented employers ranging from very small to very large:

Interestingly, despite the varying size and complexity of the companies represented by the panelists, there seemed to be a lot of common ground on the topic of engaging employees, both “how to” and “why” it is so important to the success of the organization. All panelists agreed that focusing on employees as a number-one priority would ensure that the employees would then focus on the clients and provide excellent service. The discussion included the following best practices:

  • An extended interview process, which includes both group and individual sessions, designed to not only determine the skill set of the applicant, but also the likelihood that the applicant will fit into the company’s culture.
  • A robust on-boarding process, which goes well beyond training related to specific job skills or tasks, and allows new associates to meet their co-workers at all levels and to understand the company’s mission.
  • A performance management process that draws a clear connection between the job responsibilities of each associate and how those align to the company’s overall goals.
  • A culture that recognizes and appreciates associates for a job well done and where appreciation can be shared both “up” and “down” the corporate ladder.
  • An open-door policy, where associates at every level are encouraged to share their ideas and bring their best thinking to the table, solving problems and improving the business for both clients and fellow associates.
  • A fair compensation and benefits package, with non-monetary benefits such as autonomy and flexible work schedules playing an important role in associate satisfaction.

Almost 60 YP’s attended the forum and were very engaged in the topic and, surprisingly, did not seem to represent the widely-held Gen Y stereotypes of “what are you going to do for me”? Instead, the conversation centered around ideas for management and associates to work together, to understand one another and to build a company culture that creates success for all involved – all good news for Columbus employers!

To get involved with the Chamber’s YP programming, see the “Connect with Young Professionals” section at

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