Promoting a Healthy Work Environment: Twelve Questions

by Justine Hanson
March 07, 2011

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“People join organizations and leave supervisors.”

This was one of the key messages of a recent HRC webcast, “Promoting a Healthy Work Environment in Homeless Services: What Works.” Presenters Ken Kraybill, B.J. Iacino, Ayala Livny, and Tye Deines discussed strategies to help homeless service agencies promote healthy work environments.

Ayala and Tye’s section of the presentation focused on the importance of supervision. They shared research by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, published in First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently, based on 25 years of research and interviews with over 1 million employees, managers, supervisors and executives.

Buckingham and Coffman learned that the front-line manager is the most important factor for attracting and retaining talented employees. They found that a person will stay with a great manager in a mediocre company, but will leave a mediocre manager in a great company. Even more surprisingly, they learned that pay and benefits are less important than the quality of a manager.

How can a homeless service agency move toward fostering, promoting, and providing quality supervision? Buckingham and Coffman suggest starting with 12 Questions. In a healthy work environment, all employees would answer affirmatively to these questions:

  1. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
  2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
  3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
  4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
  5. Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
  6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
  7. At work, do my opinions seem to count?
  8. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?
  9. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
  10. Do I have a best friend at work?
  11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
  12. This last year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?

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Category: HRC Insight

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