I was nervous when I started my first internship. The only source of knowledge I had on what it would be like to work in an office was from movies like Office Space and The Devil Wears Prada, and all those films taught me was that working at an office was awful. The offices depicted in these movies were horrible places to work because of their employers. Luckily, my employer didn’t turn out to be the devil in Prada and I’ve enjoyed my time at work. Some people aren’t as lucky and they end up working for bad employers. Avoid working in misery and look for a good employer by scoping out these desirable employer characteristics.
Forbes annual “100 Best Places to Work” featured companies that exhibited these characteristics that made them good employers:
- Has a Healthy Work Culture- good employers encourage an atmosphere that’s positive and makes employees feel appreciated. Whether you’re an intern at the bottom of the ladder or at the top, good employers make everyone feel part of the team. I’ve lost track of the number of emails my boss sends me where he thanks me for all the work I do. Even if it’s the most minimal task, my work never goes unappreciated. An employer that takes the time to say thank you can positively impact their employees and thus create a healthy and happy work environment.
- Makes Work Fun- Youtube and Google employees slide down a slide to get from the second floor of their building to the first. Facebook employees use scooters in the office. Fun office activities like a company baseball game or picnic are simpler ways to make work fun.
- Flexible Hours- We live in an uber-connected world where work has the capability to be done on your smartphone while you lounge in your sweats at home watching TV. We all have lives outside of work and a good employer will recognize that. A flexible schedule or even allowing you to make your own schedule will make balancing work and home easier.
- Presents Opportunities for Career Growth- Repetition most often results in boredom and dissatisfaction. A good employer will offer various tasks and provide training to help you grow. Employers may also offer chances to move forward in the company, therefore motivating you to stick with them.
- Provides Constructive Feedback- You never need to wonder what your boss thinks about you if they are precise on communicating with you on your work and where you stand. The feedback they give may not be what you want to hear, but you’ll thank them later. Their feedback will be critical to help you become a better employee and person overall.
- No Jerks- Robert W. Baird & Co made the Forbes list because of their special ‘no jerks’ rule. We’ve all worked with jerks and know how unbearable it can be. Nobody wants to work with people that make them feel unappreciated and unhappy. A no-jerk atmosphere makes everyone in the office feel happy.
- Offers Good Pay- A decent wage with benefits will show that you have a good employer that truly values your hard work.
So, how does your employer size up? If they passed with flying colors, you should thank them for being so great since they appreciate good feedback as much as you do. If they didn’t, then offer suggestions to make the workplace better.