By Norm Spitzig

What exactly makes a workplace “great?” What are the specific characteristics common to those very special workplaces that are universally recognized as the indisputable signs of a superior operation?
I believe there are seven such hallmarks. I will list three of them in this article. The remainder will appear as a new post. (For more on great places to work, see the next post.)

* A clear mission & purpose. The best workplaces in the world know who they are and what their core purpose is. They have a straightforward, concise mission statement that is readily understandable and enthusiastically embraced by employees.
Great workplaces have carefully identified those factors critical to their long-term success. Great workplaces develop action plans and accompanying areas of responsibility to ensure that their vision for the future is more than some pie-in-the-sky dream; it is concrete, measurable, and it’s achievable.

* Forward thinking, creative senior management and a caring, well-trained staff. No workplace can remain superior over any meaningful period of time without quality leadership at the top as well as a caring, well-trained staff.
At great workplaces, everyone from the CEO to a recent hire are committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure the company’s ongoing success. Equally as important, great workplaces attract people from diverse backgrounds and with various skills. At a great workplace, individuality is valued, but teamwork remains first.

* Meaningful work. A great workplace encourages its employees to do what they deem meaningful. Of course, this term means different things to different people.
Having said that, for most people, work is meaningful when it has a direct relationship between the effort invested (i.e., “time on the job”) and the accompanying return (i.e., “compensation”).
Great workplaces offer the opportunity for employees, irrespective of their education, talents, and experiences, to consistently do what they perceive as genuinely meaningful [work].

Norm Spitzig, Principal at Master Club Advisors, is internationally recognized as a visionary speaker and industry expert. His groundbreaking book, Perspectives on Club Management, continues to inspire and challenge business leaders worldwide. For more information, visit