Tuesday 2 November 2010

What Makes A Great Place To Work?

Pseudo-Random Musings

My current contract is drawing to a close and by coincidence a couple of colleagues are also finishing up at around the same time. So talk has invariably switched to the job market; what's on offer, who is good

  • One colleague was permanent but is leaving due to a "profit share" scheme that makes individual performance almost worthless - it gets lost in the "noise" of team/department/company performance. That
  • Another colleague (a fellow contractor) won't be staying around because there are better rates to be had elsewhere. Pretty standard, but it's a mistake on the company's part because he's worked here for over
  • I'm leaving because from my perspective, the enjoyable challenges are almost all conquered and I want to tackle some new ones. Sure, challenges remain, but they are more of the "grind out something" variety

So those are the official reasons why we're going - but of course they are really the straws that have broken the camel's back. Here's some more observations I've made over my contract period:

  • You can't build a high-performance company from low-performance individuals

  • The corollary; you can certainly waste high-performance individuals if they are surrounded by low performers

  • If somebody is a "knowledge silo" (Gah! I hate that expression) then that knowledge MUST be extracted from their head and shared. It is NOT a reason to continue to employ somebody who is otherwise useless.<
  • Long-term, temporal incentives like "an assigned car park after 3 years" or "a private office after 5 years" hardly encourage short- or medium-term excellence.

No doubt, it's awfully hard to spot these kinds of flaws when you start at a new site. But it's certainly something that I'll be looking out for if my employee count ever exceeds 1.0!